The Parent Ambassador Program resources on this site will assist school leadership to:
- Advance leadership’s vision for the school
- Organize, launch, and manage an effective word of mouth campaign
- Recruit, motivate, and train effective Parent Ambassadors
- Enroll more kids in great Catholic schools
Introduction: Happy Parents are the #1 Recruiters for Catholic Schools.
Parent Ambassador Programs have helped Catholic schools across the country to improve their enrollment through organized word of mouth campaigns. Word of mouth promotion is often referred to as the “least expensive and most effective form of advertisement.” This maxim holds true today more than ever as hundreds of millions of customers constantly search online for product, restaurant, movie, and many types of reviews before spending their valuable dollars.
In a similar manner, parents are constantly seeking and receiving input from one another on nearly every matter of raising children (education choices are an especially popular topic among parents of children approaching Pre-K, K, 6th, and 9th grade). Both personal testimonials and second hand information have enormous power to influence decisions, so each interaction with parents (current or prospective) is an opportunity to positively promote the school.
It comes as no surprise when a school with happy parents has healthy enrollment, but there are also schools that struggle with enrollment and have plenty of happy parents. Factors that may include the culture and physical location of the school can enhance the visibility of a school or work against it. Many people can remember a favorite restaurant that was a “hidden gem,” over time a hidden gem is either discovered by more patrons or closed for lack of business. Catholic schools cannot be “hidden gems,” the very nature of Catholic schools requires them to be pillars of their local community.
Happy parents must understand the importance of their role in the health of the school. They should understand the vision leadership has for the future, what it will take for the school to reach that vision, and what the end result will look like. When parents believe in the vision for a school they are able to help make it a reality.
Connect the Vision for School’s Future to the Annual Enrollment Target:
- Continually share the vision of the school’s future with parents and the community.
- Communicate annual the year’s Enrollment Target as step towards that vision.
- Focus on 1-3 main “Areas of Focus” for Parent Ambassadors to achieve Enrollment Target.
Get the Right People and Make Personal Invitations:
- Always make personal invitations, via phone or in person, to parents who represent the school best. Outgoing, positive, well-spoken, and faith filled people make great ambassadors.
- Everyone has something to offer, but be very selective and clear when assigning leadership roles. Intentionally match skills with responsibilities and find ways for all to help.
Congruency and Collaboration:
- Design a program that will fit the culture and vision of the school.
- When possible, work in concert with existing organizations like Parent Clubs.
- Reach out to other schools to gain insights on creative strategies.
- Encourage parents to view initiatives as opportunities to fulfill service hour requirements.
- Hold parents accountable to meet service hours, promote the many opportunities.
- Develop a list of tasks for volunteers that drop-in unexpectedly during a school day.
- Reference the Area of Focus: Office Support, School Help, & Facilities section for examples.