Tips to Improve Communications & Keep Parents Informed
Every year we hear the same thing, “I didn’t know about it…” and every year we work to fix that problem.
But it’s a very complex issue:
Keeping Parents Informed
- To ADD or to STREAMLINE? That is the question.
When working to improve communications, the knee jerk reaction is to add another method. But what is really effective? Communication overload can cause a sort of blindness and parents can just check out. Streamlining and limiting to one or two methods creates a clearer direction for parents and they can count on those communication means to cover it all. Create that expectation, and be consistent.
The extra benefit of streamlining is that it reduces efforts on your parent leaders. When an even comes up, there aren’t 10 tasks to complete to get the word out, just a couple.
- How do parents like to receive information?
One undeniable trend is parents spend a HUGE amount of time on their phones. We are seeing more and more schools get their information in mobile apps because it makes the school information more accessible. Whether sitting at soccer practice, waiting in the pick-up line, or really just about any time there is a pause, parents are checking their phones, not sitting at computers. Computers are being outpaced by phones and they aren’t being fired up just to check the school event calendar…so put the information where parents are getting their information: on their PHONE.School Apptitude makes school and parent group apps with an innovative approach that integrates sponsorships to keep the cost low…but most schools make money with the profits. School Apptitude works with all schools and parent groups to create a custom app with your school’s specific information. They include unlimited push notifications so you can really get your message out to parents, at any time, wherever they are.
- Parents need to WANT to be informed.
If they genuinely WANT the information, chances are they really do see at least 95% of the communications. If they really want to know what’s happening, they are reading the papers coming home, reading the emails, listening to the recorded calls, and monitoring social media. Chances are good that if your parent group uses one or more of these methods to communicate, parents who want to be informed will get the message. Remembering & acting on it, well, that’s another story.
The point of this point is that if parents say they didn’t know, but you know the information was distributed effectively, what they are really saying is “I didn’t want to know” and you just may not be able to solve that one.
You aren’t alone if your group is struggling with getting the word out. It’s an age-old issue and there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but continued efforts are most important. Ask questions, learn from what parents want (really want), and be OK that you can never make all the people happy all the time. As volunteers, leaders, and education advocates…you are greatly appreciated!