School to Parent Communication Challenge: How to Get Parents the Information They Need To Know
Parents: “I’m getting too many emails” “I can’t find anything”
School: “We've sent them these dates or this information multiple times — they should know/show up/have signed up”
Sound Familiar? Today we're going to talk about The School to Parent Communication Challenge
Everyone's busy, and time and attention are limited, but the reality is, Parents Need To Know Things, right? So how can we make this communication gap smaller and simpler? I have 6 tips here to share with you today. They have been collected from a few of my communication guru peers AND successfully tested in some of the schools I work with...so let's get started.
- Survey parents on your current communication structure and methods. I know, not another survey...well if you are doing surveys right there should only be a couple that go out each year, and the good news is they will mostly be returned by the people with the pain points, so you'll be getting to the root of a problem. The bottom line is, you need to know what their preferred methods of communication are. If they never look at their email then it doesn't matter how many you send, so find out where they are looking for information.
- Schedule communications for consistency. Having the weekly bulletin always go out on the same day and time of the week helps everyone know when it's coming. If they have to search for it they know if will always be called SCHOOL BULLETIN, and be sent on Thursday morning.
- Make communications valuable and easy to read. The top three most important bits of info should be at the top of the communication and clearly labeled so they will capture attention when someone is scrolling through. Use bullet points and colorful captions or differentiating fonts to help capture their eye.
- Include storytelling and make them interesting to read. Now you have to be careful here, it needs to be a short and relatable story, but humans are drawn to stories, especially ones that include people they know (like their children, or their friends). Visuals will also help to relay the story, include pictures or short videos if you can.
- Segment your Audiences. You don't want to bore your middle school parents with communications that should be targeted at your elementary parents. Or sending admissions information to your current school families. People will quickly tune you out if they are receiving information that has nothing to do with them...then we wonder why they didn't see the one communication that we really needed them to read.
- And lastly consider apps and other platforms to streamline communications. Like it or not, people use their phones for a majority of their communications, and those small screens are not always email-friendly. They also provide a lot of choices for how each family wants to receive their info, all nicely contained in one place on their phone. There are several great companies out there that are just for schools, and many are cost-friendly, especially when they condense the platforms you are using to communicate with.
I hope you found this helpful. Please email me [email protected] if you would like help with your School to Parent Communications!
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