Parents and children alike share the anticipation that builds with holidays and summer season. So it’s wise to have a thoughtful approach if you plan to communicate with parents during school breaks.
Parents maintain communication throughout the school year. There’s a steady barrage of letters from the school, teacher updates, and parent-teacher group correspondence that they must navigate.
However, when school is out everyone sees it as an opportunity to check out. And why shouldn’t they?
The school year is a long haul, and breaks usually deliver much needed time together. Whether it’s holiday or summer break, email is the last thing on everyone’s mind.
If you keep this simple truth in mind, and plan your communication efforts before they tune out, you can ensure better engagement without annoying members or just plainly not reaching others.
Here are three (3) simple ways to maximize participation if you plan to communicate with parents during school breaks.
1. Ask For Preferences
Not everyone communicates the same way, and that’s why it’s best to gather feedback from members on their preferred channels or methods. Some will say phone or text, and others will say email. Don’t be surprised if some people just do better with face-to-face communication; you won’t be able to please everyone, so find a way that everyone agrees is best for group-wide updates.
Once you determine the best channel, set a schedule for your main updates (back-to-school, holidays, annual events, etc.) that have dates associated with them and stick to your timing.
PRO TIP: Embrace the obvious, and ask everyone “Do you want to receive updates over school breaks?” Or do they prefer having those messages communicated during the school year? It’s best to be transparent about your plans, because parents will be honest about their capacities. If you know the best way to reach them at the start of a year, you can plan the best way to get the word out there without annoying members or just plainly failing to reach anyone.
2. Determine Channels or Communication Methods
There are the traditional forms of communication such as phone, email, and even snail mail (letters). And then there are new ways of reaching your members at their convenience. Digital newsletters, blogs, journals, and social media posts allow you to make announcements that live on your website and are accessible 24-7-365.
If you are committed to the creation and maintenance of these digital channels, and communicate their existence to the group throughout the school year, you can create a dependence on them for information.
Consistency is the key when taking this approach; if you do not have the ability to keep up with consistent posts and timely reminders, no one will see the platform as useful and many announcements will fall on deaf ears.
PRO TIP: Email notifications are likely the best option for ensuring delivery to your members, and it’s best if you have an application for building and monitoring these campaigns and their overall engagement.
3. Respect the Breaks
Acknowledge that a break is a break and join everyone in enjoying some time off. Don’t fight the trend to turn-off and tune-out.
If you really must reach members during a break, the best way is to go where the “breakers” go. We’re not saying join on their vacations, but spend time and place messages in the places where they will spend their time during holiday or summer session: social media.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram will be the best ways to blast out visual (photo or video) updates and communicate with parents during breaks.
PRO TIP: Pair a social message with a question or request of your followers (EX: It’s the middle of summer and we want to see what everyone is up to! Share your summer images, and if you know you’ll be in town for registration, RSVP by commenting in the post below!)