What is your dream vacation? Maybe you want to visit Florida and spend a week on the beach. Or you may prefer an Alaskan cruise where you can see snow, mountains, and wildlife not found anywhere else in the United States. Now pause and ask yourself, “Why do I want to go there?” Most likely, you think about pictures you’ve seen that look attractive. Maybe you’ve visited someplace similar or dreamed of vacationing at such a place. You probably also heard people raving about how much fun they had on their vacations. Those firsthand accounts are valuable. Details about someone’s actual experience are much more meaningful than the sales pitches we see online. If you think about it, that’s true for a lot of things. We all make choices after getting a recommendation from someone we trust. So why should we believe that schools would be any different? Where you choose to send your child to school is one of the most important decisions parents make for their children. So it’s logical that parents would want to hear firsthand accounts from experienced Family Ambassadors as they make this critical decision.
Who Are Family Ambassadors?
Family Ambassadors are individuals who have a story to tell about your school. These parents, students, and alums have experience with your school. As they share their stories with prospective students and their families, incoming students and families learn more about your school, its culture, values, and expectations. The authentic nature of these stories resonates with parents and students alike.
Family Ambassadors naturally have connections with families that are different from the school’s connections. As a result, they can share their stories and experiences with families that may not otherwise consider your school. Select Family Ambassadors who can communicate your school’s culture to other families. They should be able to help prospective families navigate the enrollment process and support increased engagement among current families. Again, it’s about sharing their experiences while helping others develop their own.
Family Ambassadors should not be limited to parents. Current students and alums also have unique stories to share that will illustrate your school’s culture to prospective students and their families. In fact, their recent experiences may help sway a family who is on the fence about where to enroll their child. Parent alums can communicate uniquely about their whole experience at your school and the positive outcomes they saw in their student. Student alums can help guide prospective and current students, especially those nearing graduation.
What Do Family Ambassadors Do?
Family Ambassadors are representatives of the school, chosen because of their favorable experiences and stories. Family Ambassadors volunteer their time and make themselves available to talk with potential students and their families, answer emails from families, or use video conferencing to connect with other families. The fact that they choose to do this communicates to incoming families that you value the whole family. It’s part of your culture.
Family Ambassadors have authentic stories that resonate with other families. This is sometimes in stark contrast to third-person accounts that may lack similar authenticity. Family Ambassadors’ stories allow prospective students and families to connect with the school even before they step foot on campus. Then, after they enroll, they can build upon those connections to help them transition to a new school.
How Will Family Ambassadors Help My School?
Family Ambassadors are an asset to your school. They are able to engage families who may not readily connect with school staff or who may have trouble making it to school to meet other families. They may also help connect current families, including those who are typically hard to reach.
Families often find new schools by word of mouth. Your Family Ambassadors are the best marketing tools you have because they are trusted, and their experiences are relatable to those with whom they share. Family Ambassadors can bring in new families through word of mouth. As they do, they can walk families through the enrollment process, answering questions and alleviating concerns. When happy parents tell their stories to other families, it makes those other families want to join your school family.
Why Should My School Have Family Ambassadors?
Over the last two decades, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in school choice options. Charter schools, public schools, magnet programs, private schools, and homeschooling are now more accessible to families than ever before. Unfortunately, traditional forms of family engagement are ineffective in this choice-rich environment. For example, giving prospective students and families a single tour limits what they see, what they experience, and their opportunities to ask questions. Similarly, passive events where parents sit and listen to speakers, a principal, or a teacher cannot illustrate your school’s educational philosophy and values. In such instances, both current and prospective students and families are limited in their interactions with your school. Family Ambassadors provide a consistent, ongoing, and interactive way for all families to connect, learn from one another, and get answers to critical questions.
How Can ThinK-12 Help with Recruitment and Retention?
At ThinK-12, we use our decades of experience in Higher Education marketing and technology and expertise in family engagement and K-12 teacher education to create strong brands and incredible user experiences for K-12 schools and districts. This drives enrollment, which drives district and school revenue, affecting every facet of your school’s success. ThinK-12 Families is a revolutionary approach to driving enrollment, family engagement, and retention for schools and districts. It’s a web and mobile application that superchargers school websites and communication with richer and visually stunning experiences for prospective and current families.
How Does ThinK-12 Help Schools Maximize the Benefits of Family Ambassadors?
The ThinK-12 Family Network is a private community that allows your families to connect and interact with each other, strengthening their bond with your school. Simple things like enabling parent connections can deepen confidence in and support of your school. Within the ThinK-12 Family Network, prospective and current families have the chance to meet, connect, and interact with one another like never before. With private user profiles, engaging pictures and avatars, and the ability to communicate with families within a private setting, the ThinK-12 Family Network provides an innovative networking tool that families can use whenever and wherever they want.
Prospective families will only be able to see and connect with your school’s Family Ambassadors. Once they enroll, new families can access the entire Family Network. Of course, the Family Ambassadors will remain available to them as an ongoing source of support.