There is a cost-free way to help you convert inquiries, and it is right in your own backyard. Are you using it?
What I am talking about is a formal Parent Ambassador Program.
Most centers have a group of enthusiastic parents who love your child care services and family engagement activities. Despite the importance of a web and social media presence, young prospective families still look to other parents’ referrals and reviews when they are making the child care choice. Comments from others like them can strongly influence whether or not they contact your center or enroll in it.
Setting up an effective Parent Ambassador Program requires a few steps and good teamwork between you and the parents who partner with you.
1. Select those parents you know are positive about your school, can communicate well, and have the time and willingness to do so. Many of my clients choose at least one ambassador from each age group.
2. Meet with your ambassadors to develop the specifics of your program. Let these parents be involved in naming it, determining which ambassador role works best for them, setting up communications channels, etc. The more empowered they feel, the more likely they will be to execute it well.
3. Determine specific roles. Ambassadors may have limited time and select interests, so I recommend having several types of Parent Ambassadors.
- New Inquiries – These ambassadors reach out to parents who have inquired at your school but not yet. If the prospective family is also new to the area, this ambassador can provide a list of resources your other parent use, such as local pediatricians.
- New Enrollees – In the first 90 days after a new parent enrollees, these ambassadors contact them for initial satisfaction and unmet expectations.
- Veteran Enrollees – Ambassadors call parents on special dates, such as the anniversary of their enrollment, the month before their child transitions to kindergarten, etc. The intent is to check in, to make sure the family is satisfied, to invite them to events if they have not been coming, etc.
Not only can a good Parent Ambassador Program help build enrollment, your ambassador parents feel a vital part of your center, and that builds community.