Do you want to increase school revenue and enrolments? A very common question that challenges school leaders and communities.
Engage the Very Best Management Team to Increase School Revenue
Effective organisations, in all industries, create results. To be fully effective they must exhibit strengths in leadership, decision making, people, work processes and culture. It begins with the strongest leadership and management team you can find. Countless research has shown that school quality directly relates to quality leadership. Effective leaders are visible, able to successfully convey the school’s goals and visions, collaborate with teachers to enhance their skills, and are involved in the discovery of and solutions to problems. It is the school leadership that will set high standards for students, monitor and respond appropriately to student performance, set clear goals and manage effective school operations. We often say that “good leaders remove the obstacles so that great teachers can get on with the job they are good at.” Good leadership might seem expensive but they make the most difference. There is an argument to invest more so that you get better returns.
Strong leadership is proven to work in all industries:
Strong leadership is proven to work in schools:
Would you consider investing 10% more in leadership if the rewards delivered 30% increase in outcomes and revenue? or maybe more…
Concentrate on Doing a Great Job
We all know that parents choose schools based on word of mouth. Therefore, rather than focus on shiny brochures and marketing campaigns why not concentrate on doing an amazing job then shining a light on it. If you are doing a good/bad job be rest assured that the community know about it. Social media is modern day word of mouth and when you make a mistake it wont be just whispers but loud broadcasts in a culture that really likes to hold schools accountable. Goor or bad. Schools need to first of all make a daily practice of performing very well and then broadcasting very real examples of it in public forums. “Children are happy” – show images of children being happy. “Children love learning” – show images, examples and very real footage of children loving learning. “Administration is open and accountable” – be open and accountable with transparency and genuine open door practices. “Be who you say you are” and stand by it in the public domain. These strategies are the most powerful lever to increase school revenue and enrolments.
“Be who you say you are” and stand by it in the public domain.
Share Under Utilised Spaces
Schools are one of the most under utilised facilities in most communities. Outside school and work hours, when the community is seeking out opportunities to relax, participate in sport or recreation, or even to learn new things, is the same time that schools are traditionally closed. Schools often represent a significant duplication of valuable resources. Swimming pools, classrooms, sports halls and gyms can all be hired out to the community when not in use. This makes use of the largest asset schools have available, their space. Well designed school facilities can be shared with the community and existing facilities can be managed in ways that increase community access. The other benefits of building even deeper connections with the community are even more invaluable. Some schools even consider commercial partnerships. Food for thought.
Would you consider opening up resources to the community if it could directly increase school revenue in a small way but more importantly it significantly increased engagement with your school and consequently enrolment?
Would you consider opening up resources to the community if it directly increased revenue in a small way but more importantly it significantly increased engagement and consequently enrolment?
Work Smarter Not Harder
Reducing staff is one of the hardest decisions a school can make, especially when all staff are already spread thin. This is not where we should begin when looking for increased revenue. Instead of reducing staff numbers, schools can use technology to make their everyday tasks even easier. An area to start is to implement a philosophy of “one touch data.” What we mean is that schools should review all that they do and ensure that no piece of information is touched, moved, edited or copied more than once. Let’s think about worst case scenarios. Assessments get graded, the grade is transferred into a mark book, the grade is then transferred into an interim report, then later we transfer it into a final report. Additionally we might collate data, analyse it and communicate it for other purposes like moderation. We know that technology can allow us to record information then share access from that same source. Another time waster is the way we traditionally record meeting minutes. Type it straight into a data form live and in the meeting. Make it accessible as soon as practical and without further duplication. Get smart and find ways to be more efficient with time.
Would you consider changing the way you do things to increase efficiency, reduce overall workloads and consequently increase productivity? The powerful consequence will also be an increase in school revenue and enrolment.
Would you consider changing the way you do things to increase efficiency, reduce overall workloads and consequently increase productivity?
Audit Financial Models with an Education Specialist at the Same Table
Finance people don’t generally understand education well and educators don’t generally understand finance like accounting and finance teams. (There are exceptions) When either party work in isolation there is a risk that decisions might not be made in the best interests of the school. It is about making good decisions and prioritising resources that help the school progress. Of course budgets need to be tight but we often see finance making decisions that cost the school money. The disconnect from school operations can allow assumptions to override good decisions rather than making purposeful and informed ones. If all interested parties are sitting at the same table then better decisions can be made about spending, cut backs and strategies to increase school revenue.
If all interested parties are sitting at the same table then better decisions can be made about spending, cut backs and strategies to increase revenue.
Work With Local Businesses
Local businesses are actively seeking opportunities to make a difference in the communities they work within. Be it a pen company that can supply some old stock, to sports equipment providers – the best methodology is to perform some community outreach. Branding relationships can also help both parties. Let’s face it schools are wholesome, family oriented and they represent core consumers for many businesses. In tasteful ways a branding relationship can help both parties and encourage shared loyalty.
Would you consider working together with other businesses to leverage the positive images and good will they both represent?
Would you consider working together with other businesses to leverage the positive images and good will they both represent?
Check your mindset. Is your head, heart and vision, aligned?
If the conversations in your school begin with “How do we increase school revenue and enrolments” then there is a good chance that you wont. These conversations best start with:
How do we increase student achievement?
How do we improve parent satisfaction?
How do we increase staff and student morale?
How do we become the very best school we can be?
While it might appear that profit verse non-profit school values are very different they really shouldn’t be. The outcomes are the same. The strategies are the same. When all decisions, practices and values are aligned to being the very best we can be, we achieve success. The revenue and increased enrolments will come as a bi-product of quality. It is essential that school leadership reframes conversations to align decisions, values and practices with core beliefs.
We see first hand, on a regular basis, for-profit schools making bad financial decisions because they do not understand the education industry and the key levers that make a difference to quality. To be fair, we also see educators make bad decisions with expenditure that is not aligned to a balanced budget. There is a way to balance priorities and it requires alignment and reframing of plans to make sure the organisation is focussed and making fully informed decisions.
Will you change your mindset to focus on quality so that revenue and enrolments increase?
Be Active Online
Be active on social media. Publish relevant and relatable content at least one time each day. These days when people spend so much time online this is a great way to keep your image, reputation and values in the front of your parents’ minds. Carefully managed, you can effectively build daily experiences and interaction by potential parents in a virtual environment. Build value and create an appetite for them to learn more. They will visit you virtually if your content is effective.
Consider a digital advertising campaign consisting of a combination of Search Engine Optimisation (SEM), programmatic ads, geo-targeting and Facebook advertising to reach your prospects where they spend time online.
If you publish real activity and success each and every day you are passively engaging your audience with day to day activities you are proud of. It is a virtual relationship you are sharing.
Cost effective Marketing Strategies
Schools need to monitor data sources in the marketing process. Just as we monitor student achievement and then we adjust teaching strategies to target key areas, we need to do so with marketing strategies. Return for investment (ROI) should be the tough measure we use to evaluate the success of our strategies. How much does each lead cost? What is your conversion rate from lead to enrolment? It is essential that you know how families find out about your school and where your leads come from. This way we can ensure your investments are cost effective and reaping the rewards of your efforts. Both offline and online advertising can be expensive and we need to be very smart and discriminating about how we spend valuable funds.
Digital marketing helps businesses of all sizes make themselves more visible. It is the most valuable strategy for schools. As previously mentioned, parents choose schools based on word of mouth and social media is our modern day version of this. Our glossy brochures, banners, signs and website will be the shiny object that attracts parents and raises brand awareness but it wont convert on its own. There are ways to work smart. Whether it’s through social media, a website, or other means, digital marketing tactics can make a significant difference in your organisation’s marketability and profitability. There are cost-effective strategies to use online to further legitimise and attract people to your business and its products or services. (See our post on digital marketing for schools) Understand your customer acquisition costs.
It may seem like an oxymoron but in truth most schools will increase revenue and enrolments by turning attention away from that and to education quality. Step two is to shine a very bright light on this quality through professional and purposeful marketing strategies.
Specialised and determined marketing strategies using digital platforms will get the results. Appoint a very strong management team then employ appropriate marketing strategies. If the key marketing levers are aligned to parents greatest needs and they’re are leveraged well, revenue and enrolments will automatically increase. If school enrolments have flat lined then there is either no more market potential or these other parts of your plan are not successful. Let’s face it parents send their children to good schools and they move them away from poor ones.
Strong management teams build effective organisations, in all industries, and marketing teams deliver the the results.
For further details about how GSE helps schools increase revenue and enrolments, contact us soon.
For more information about digital marketing strategies for schools:
GSE’s core business is to set up, manage and improve schools throughout all regions of the world.
Our extensive team is well recognised as being “education experts” who know how to operate schools in unique and varied contexts.
Contact us to explore ways that we can support, improve and accelerate your school’s performance.
CEO and Education Expert Greg Parry
Internationally renowned for his expertise in education leadership, Greg Parry’s vast experience includes leadership of projects for edu-cation institutions throughout Australia, the Middle East, the United States, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Recognised for his numerous contributions in the education arena, Greg has received the Ministers Award for Excellence in School Leadership based on improvements in school performance and a range of successful principal training and leadership development programs, as well as the School of Excellence Award for Industry/School Partnerships and the School of Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. His company GSE (Global Services in Education) has been recognised as having the Best Global Brand in International Education in 2015 and 2016.
Considered one of the premier experts in his profession, Greg has trained teachers and principals throughout the world in areas such as critical thinking, language development and leadership. His expertise in school start up projects, leadership and curriculum development, has made him a sought after authority in these disciplines.
Global Services in Education set up and operate schools in all parts of the world. Governed by a philosophy of global citizenship, every member of the GSE team shares a passion to help shape international education and student achievement through inspiration and collaboration.
Our goal is to meet the highest objectives of every school, teacher, student and parent, with an unwavering dedication to quality education, shared ideals and intercultural perspectives.