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3 Ways to Engage Your School Community with Technology

Learn how to engage your school community by using technology.

Schools can do so much more for students when they have a robust support system. For example, parents encourage their students outside of the classroom by helping them with homework or cheering them on at their games and concerts. Students’ families are often the first to support your school financially. Local businesses may step up to sponsor your school or spread the word about fundraisers and other projects.

However, it’s up to your school to engage these potential supporters. Reaching your community with personalized communications is crucial, and the right technology can help you do so. Plus, these tools make interacting with your school more convenient, boosting the chance of parents donating, browsing your website, or sharing about school activities. 

In this guide, we’ll walk through three strategies you can leverage to get more support for your school fundraisers, clubs, sports teams, and more. Let’s get started!

Go paperless.

Leave paper forms, payments, and processes behind and switch to digital instead. There are several benefits to doing this. Digital options allow your school to reach people at any time, from anywhere. Engaging with your school online is much more convenient, making your community more likely to do it. Additionally, being able to pay fees or register students for extracurricular activities in just a few clicks will appeal to busy parents.

Using school management software, your school can go paperless and eliminate:

  • Paper registration forms (e.g., permission slips for school trips)
  • Payments for school fees via cash and checks
  • Communication through one-way methods like paper letters
  • Paper newsletters, flyers, and event announcements that get lost in backpacks

Your school can also leverage online school directories and contact lists that are accessible to parents, students, and staff. These databases facilitate easy communication and networking within your school’s ecosystem.

Personalize your approach.

More and more, people expect experiences that are tailored to their unique needs, interests, and preferences. 69% of customers say that they appreciate personalized experiences with brands. Further, these preferences are beginning to bleed over into their interactions with other organizations like nonprofits and schools. 

As Getting Attention explains, generic fundraising appeals no longer have what it takes to elicit emotional connections and encourage actions (like donating) from supporters. Instead, you’ll need to customize communications by greeting them by name, mentioning past donations, adhering to communication preferences, and asking for contributions within their donation level.

Technology like a school database provides your school with streamlined data insights and tools for building custom experiences. Here are some of the ways your school can use it to personalize communications with a variety of community stakeholders:

These are three ways your school can leverage personalized school outreach (explored in text below).

  • Segment your audience. Using data about your community, create segments of supporters based on shared characteristics. You might create segments of parents based on grade level or how involved they have been in the past and tailor communications to those traits. For example, a segment made up of your most involved PTO members would receive the most frequent messages and invitations to engagement opportunities. 
  • Leverage interactive communication platforms. Facilitate two-way communication with your community by using platforms like your school website, social media pages, and mobile apps. Request feedback from users and implement it when possible to improve their experiences. If your school has a mobile app, create personalized push notifications that alert audiences of upcoming events, fundraisers, and other opportunities to engage.
  • Provide personalized updates and newsletters. Using your audience segments, create and share tailored messages with each group based on their interests. For example, parents might receive an invitation to an upcoming football game with details about how to purchase tickets. Local business owners who are in your contacts, on the other hand, may receive a message about how to sponsor the football team and receive free marketing opportunities in exchange.

These personalized experiences help your school cultivate meaningful connections, enhance engagement, and strengthen relationships with a diverse group of community members. Technology makes it easier to learn about and segment your audiences so personalization is a breeze.

Use specialized tools and automation.

In addition to helping you communicate effectively, your school’s technology can streamline other processes. Specialized fundraising and marketing tools have features designed with organizations like yours in mind. With these solutions, you can set up fundraisers, manage donations, and automate messages in just a few clicks. 

When it comes to specialized tools, consider investing in solutions such as:

  • School management software: These solutions help schools manage registrations, fee collection, attendance, student information, and more. With comprehensive reporting features and marketing and fundraising capabilities, your school can track and implement insights about parents and students. Not only does this help you develop deeper relationships with your community, but it also reduces burdens on staff and streamlines payments.
  • Crowdfunding platforms: Crowdfunding is a popular type of fundraising that involves soliciting many small donations from a large audience (usually online). This method is ideal for schools because it allows you to connect with a variety of supporters through a cost-effective online format. Consider choosing a tool like 99Pledges for sports or club fundraisers that has the option to create one standalone donation page or add individual pages for each player.
  • Tailored fundraising software: Occasionally, your school may need fundraising software with more specialized features. For example, online shopping fundraisers rely on a platform that partners with online retailers to direct a percentage of supporters’ purchases to your school. Or, maybe you’re holding a silent auction and need to leverage online bidding features. 

You may also need tools to help organize and automate marketing messages. Solutions like social media calendars, email campaign tools, and automation software give your school a dedicated workspace for crafting compelling marketing messages and setting up triggers that time your messages with precision.

Technology can spark and nurture new connections with a variety of community members, from parents to parks to businesses. These relationships open the door to important partnerships and sponsorships which, in turn, provide more funding and opportunities to your students.