This Marketing Matter is being republished with permission from its author, Jodi Dean of Dean School Consulting (from 2011 to 2017).  When I first read it a decade ago, I thought it could fit with the importance of systems thinking for the “Tetrahedronics” articles, as well as in the “Advancementality” category because of the items covered.

And it still has validity, especially as a Marketing Matters article, since it affirms previous articles which encourage school administrators to keep their school open during the month of July, and reinforce school enrollment by gathering families to the school during the summer.  Both of these strategies are important so that school leaders, staff and teachers aren’t surprised on the first day of school when fewer than expected students walk through the front doors.

This is the first of Jodi’s series of “Five on Fridays,” and provides a “to-do” list on the last Friday of each month for the following month.

July’s To-Do-List

  • Develop the annual fund development goals and calendar –  Make a calendar that lists step-by-step plans for your school’s annual fund drive, major gift efforts and planned giving campaigns. Develop goals for each, such as:
    • Obtain $1,500 per student for the annual fund;
    • Secure three major gifts of $25,000 and one major gift of $50,000+; and
    • Acquire two planned gifts.
  • Develop a cultivation and stewardship plan for each major donor, as well as a special events timeline that includes committee meeting dates, reservation deadlines, announcement dates and such.   Also, research potential foundations and corporations for sponsorship and grantwriting possibilities.
  • Schedule a Board of Directors Retreat – If your school does not have an annual board of directors retreat on the calendar, schedule one for late summer/early fall.   A retreat is a great time for board members and senior leadership to reflect on the strengths of the organization and identify obstacles to overcome in the next school year.  You may want to consider an outside facilitator to assist in the discussions.
  • Send a Postcard to Each Student – Buy some inexpensive postcards (or make your own) and give a pack to each teacher, along with the appropriate amount of postcard stamps.  Encourage each teacher to write a short message to their incoming students and send it off in the mail.   Students love getting positive mail!  If you serve middle and high school students, you may desire to have the homeroom/first period teacher write a message.
  • Attend a Meeting on Fund Development or Marketing – It’s important to grow your professional network.
  • Host a Block Party –  Parents look for ways to keep their children entertained in the summer – especially elementary school parents.  A simple block party could allow children to have some fun and have families spend time with school administration, faculty and staff in a non-school setting.   You may want to serve simple, easy and healthy foods, and, for entertainment, you may choose to have craft stations or feature a family movie.   Keep it simple, but fun, since the point is to build relationships with parents of current and potential students.   Make sure you have an information booth with someone to record information from your prospects.

Jodi’s suggestions continue to solidify the importance of remaining open during the month of July, as her column ends in bold letters:   Make sure your school’s main office is staffed throughout July!

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2014-2024 (Original Publication Date: 20140630)