Catholic School Leaders Share Marketing Best Practices

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., November 8, 2017. The Roche Center for Catholic Education hosted a day-long workshop to discuss strategic marketing approaches for strengthening enrollment in Catholic schools. Sixty school principals, head of schools, and school staff attended the training in the beautiful Connors Family Retreat and Conference Center in Dover, MA, while another thirty joined remotely from Catholic schools around the country.

The featured speaker for the Achieving Your Enrollment Goals workshop was Elizabeth Alfonsi, Director of Advancement at the Glen Mills Schools (GMS) in Concordville, PA. She formerly served in a similar capacity with the Healey Foundation. The workshop focused on the “Family Approach” to school marketing – a set of proven practices to help Catholic schools provide a tailored experience to prospective families when considering their program offerings.

“The Family Approach is about life skills, not sales,” said Alfonsi.  “It’s about connecting interested families with what they need to know about a school.  Too often, schools present their features and benefits without first striving to understand what a family wants and needs for their children, but this conversation really needs to come first."

Participants learned how to place the school’s mission at the center of all its marketing and communications efforts, using enrollment data strategically to drive student registrations, conducting visual audits on school grounds to gauge what prospective families see, and building engaging websites and brochures.

“The Four Phases for Admissions was a helpful framework,” said one participant. “We recognized ways we could improve in getting to know what prospective parents are looking for before we start to promote our school. The suggestion of having five key questions is something we will discuss at staff meeting tomorrow.”

“The marketplace for schools today has become extremely competitive,” said Kristin Melley, Director of Professional Development for the Roche Center.  “But Catholic schools offer a valuable opportunity by pairing an excellent academic education with the formation of the whole person to develop leaders with a heart for the common good.  We believe in supporting our Catholic schools to make sure this important work continues and grows.”

The Emmaus Series at Boston College is a two-year program providing executive-level training on systems and structures to promote change, to sharpen connections between Catholic theology, educational theory, research and professional practices, and to foster spiritual capital within an intentional Catholic community of faith and practice. 

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