4 K-12 Trends to Utilize When Planning for the New School Year

As we wrap up another school year, we're taking a moment to look back at the most impactful trends we spotted in private and independent schools over the past few years. Our 2023 Trends and Insights into the State of Schools Report and 2022 K-12 Trends Report lend us valuable insights into what to expect in the years to come and how schools can boost their visibility, efficiency, fundraising efforts, and retention rates.  

🔎 Marketing During the School Search    

Marketing is vital in attracting new students and families to private and independent schools. We understand that not all schools have a dedicated marketing team, but school technology is here to boost your marketing efforts without needing extra staff   

With connected solutions, schools can tap into the power of student and family data to plan targeted campaigns, send personalized communication, and even host exciting events. It's all about leveraging the tools available to create a buzz around your school.    

Wondering where to start? Developing a school marketing plan is a logical first step—think of it as your roadmap to success. A marketing plan will outline everything from identifying areas of opportunity to setting goals and figuring out the best tactics to achieve them.  

As you dive into planning, consider these key trends from our K-12 report that may help inform your strategies:   

  • Private and independent schools that experienced increased enrollment were more likely to adopt an omnichannel marketing approach; this means they used a combination of digital advertising, auxiliary programs, and dedicated inbound campaigns to spread the word about their school.  
  • Regarding marketing channels and lead generation, the top three contenders were websites, good old word-of-mouth, and social media campaigns.  

By incorporating these trends into your strategy, you'll be well on your way to reaching mission-aligned families who are eager to learn more about your school community.   

📈 Maximizing Fundraising Efforts  

With rising costs, fundraising to maintain financial stability is more important than ever for independent schools. The good news? The future of fundraising is bright, with 12-26% of our respondents raising over $500,000 in 2022! Along with this impressive outcome, respondents also said a focus is directing resources to ensure the best use of donated funds.     

Fundraising software can aid schools in maximizing their donations. From offering convenient online giving options to donor management and campaign management, it equips schools to create a seamless fundraising experience. Plus, leveraging historical fundraising data can help administrators create targeted fundraising campaigns. Check out the GiveSmart School Fundraising Resource Center to inspire next year's giving strategies.      

🖥️ Technology Integration  

Two critical themes for schools in the upcoming years are improving inefficient systems and investing in cloud technology. Sixty-eight percent of respondents expect to increase their technology investment in 2023.    

Schools are implementing all-in-one school management suites to overcome inefficiencies and transition to a cloud-based system. These suites enable families to apply, sign contracts, manage payments, and stay on top of their student's progress, all within one system. On the school side, staff can efficiently nurture leads, process applications, integrate financial aid, review applicant files, enroll students, collect tuition, create fundraising campaigns, and manage data in a suite. Cloud-based technology ensures that data is safely stored while providing mobility and scalability.  

Adopting technology saves valuable time for families and staff and provides a user-friendly experience by automating tedious manual tasks and consolidating information within a single system. By embracing these advancements, independent schools can enhance efficiency and deliver a seamless process from inquiry to academics.   

🤝 Engaging Stakeholders    

Creating strong connections with students and families throughout the year is crucial for boosting your school's retention rate. In 2022, more schools experienced a decrease (21%) rather than an increase (18%) in returning students. However, decision-makers are optimistic that this trend can be reversed in the coming years. So, how can private and independent schools foster a positive upswing in the years to come?  

One approach is to prioritize a positive student experience by actively engaging students and families throughout the school year. When students and families feel connected to the school community, they are more likely to return year after year. Schools can enhance student retention rates by fostering a sense of belonging, involvement, and support.  

Additionally, schools need to understand the demographics and trends of their families. Generational differences affect how family members consume information and prefer to communicate. Schools can tailor communication strategies effectively by recognizing and catering to these preferences.    

A connected system can help engage families and pull comprehensive reports to analyze demographics and trends. With this knowledge, schools can incorporate appropriate communication strategies into their marketing plan, ensuring they actively encourage student and family engagement throughout the year; this, in turn, boosts retention rates.  

📓 Begin Planning for the Upcoming School Year    

As we enter the excitement of a new year, schools can approach their planning equipped with these valuable insights. You can uncover additional information about these trends by downloading the 2023 Trends and Insights into the State of Schools Report and the 2022 K-12 Trends Report, created specifically for private and independent schools. Get ready to unlock your school’s full potential, powered by the latest technology and truly connected experiences. 

Tags: Admissions