With the Fourth of July holiday this coming weekend, this is usually parish festivals season too.  This is the time of the year would normally ask, “What are you doing to make your school visible in the local Fourth of July celebration or at your parish festival?”  But this year is completely different from every other year that we’ve known.

Here’s how that question has historically been answered:

“But you don’t understand.  School is finally over for the year, and we need a break!  Especially after this year, because of (insert any situation encountered that cause plans to be derailed), and now with (insert any economical hardship), we need time before we have to revisit those conversations again.”

Indeed, everyone needs “a break;” but “taking a break” for a month isn’t helpful to your school’s continued existence anymore.

If you’ve read some of the articles on this site, recall that Marketing is Education, and Enrollment is Sales.  There’s a phrase that’s ingrained in the sales professional’s mindset – “If a shark stops swimming, it dies.”  Sales professional are often chided by their families because “they’re always working.  They don’t know how to relax.  They have no life.”  Well, they do have a life, and the consummate sales professional’s life is always looking out for better ways to serve their customers.  As school administrators, “taking a break” may mean that you miss 10 parents that have called the school wanting more information about enrollment or want to schedule a tour.

But even Jesus needed a break at times, and would go off to a deserted place from time to time to pray or to be renewed, and encouraged his followers to do the same.  What did He do when He needed a break?  He left the area and went off to a deserted place.  If you’re still “around,” you’re going to be continually drawn into the work that needs to be done.  With our “constantly connected” ability today via the Internet and cellular technology, it’s important to find some time to go to that deserted place of our own, and today, that may mean turning the iPad and mobile phone off.

There are, however, some key opportunities to market your school during the summer.  In normal times, the ability to market your school during a parish festival or a parade is phenomenal – especially if people come from miles around to participate in the festival (and they do) or to watch the parade.  Sponsoring  a booth at the parish festival, and having information about your school available while visitors come for the food, fun and fellowship is a great marketing tactic – something to put on the calendar and plan for the summer of 2021.

There’s a lot to do to make something like this work, especially if you’re thinking of a booth at a parish festival for future years.  The point is that you can’t do it all yourself.  You need a team of people who are, if you will, the “disciples” of your school.  How many people should be on your school’s marketing committee?  Perhaps 12 would be a good number to start with.

In about 6 months, you’ll have a great opportunity to market your school to a very large group of people – those attending Mass or the services around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Will you have representatives from your school on hand to welcome families coming to Mass in the parishes that support your school, or the worship services at churches where your families worship?  Or will you need a break then too?

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2010-2020 (Original Publication Date: 20100628)