The Information Parents Value Most
Vol. 16 No. 5
The Marketing and Communications Office is a driving force in providing information about your school to parents. But how do parents prefer to receive this information?
Dr. Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Project Tomorrow, studied the preferences of 30,000 parents of K–12 students concerning school communications through the Speak Up Research Project.
According to her findings, over one-third of parents cited word-of-mouth as the primary way they receive information about goings-on at their child’s school. This can be a problem, as word-of-mouth information can be miscommunicated and details can be lost in translation.
When it comes to how parents want to receive information, email was the first choice, followed by text messages. Text messages were a high preference for parents across several demographics, including education, socio-economic status, and location.
It should also be noted that, while 69% of parents surveyed say they always or often use Facebook, only 16% stated that it’s an effective tool for receiving information about their child’s school. Meanwhile, 39% of principals and 78% of public school district communication officers reported that they think Facebook is an effective tool for sharing information with parents.
When it comes to communication from their child’s school, parents prefer:
- information that is convenient for them to access;
- communication that is "pushed" to them so they don’t have to search for it;
- personalized communications—no standardized or blanket messages that aren't relevant to their needs;
- timely content;
- content that is easy to quickly read and understand; and
- high-impact information that makes it easy to take action.
These findings are a good place to start, but it may be worthwhile to see how your school’s parents prefer to receive information. Only a personalized survey can give you the best idea of how to communicate with your particular families.
Once you’ve determined how your parents want to receive information, make sure you’re giving them valuable details. Focus on the quality of your academic programs, the safety and security of your school, the level of dedication your faculty provides to students, and the success of your school’s graduates.
Giving parents the content they want in the format they prefer helps keep your community well-informed and involved in your school’s day-to-day activities.
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 35 No. 3 The Growing Importance of Technology in Parent Communications
I&P Vol. 40 No. 9 Marketing Communications and the Parent