OLWH: Spirit Of Giving Program - Streamlining Communications for a School
As of this year, I’ve started a program called the Spirit of Giving, where I have offered to help a worthy non-profit or needy individual with an organizing project. I’ve received quite a few recommendations of potential recipients, but I will need more before the year is done! (Feel free to send me suggestions at Heather@FunctionalSpacesOrganizing.com.) Below you will find an update on the first project: a digital organizing project with an elementary school.
Why The Client Called Me
I’ve been volunteering at my kids' elementary school for years in various functions, from field trip driver to Annual Fund Co-Chairperson. But the project I wanted to get my hands on was the communications strategy. I mean, really: how many emails can one school administrator send in a day? You’d be surprised. And how many Spanish-speaking families were not getting the right information? Too many. And why are there TWO school websites? Enter Heather.
Together with the principal, the administrative assistant who sends all the communications, and a few other key volunteers, we came up with a communication plan. This plan serves to help guide the type of updates, frequency, and author of the various types of emails, from “Don’t Park in the Wrong Spot” to “Help Raise Money for XYZ” to “Important School District Updates.” We came up with suggested channels for various types of communications (from email updates to websites to social media), and we also established specific target audiences.
Next, I implemented MailChimp as the tool of choice to manage all email communications. Implementing a new email distribution system involved MANY steps (think crazy email mailing list with duplicates, families with multiple children in multiple grades, parents with different last name than their kids, and more…) I also set up templates for weekly newsletters for both the principals and the PTO, as well as templates for quick updates, when that is all that was needed. I then trained the staff on how to send newsletters themselves, given that I wouldn’t be around every day to hit the ‘send’ button.
As a result, we have a more streamlined and professional looking - and more efficient - mode of communication within the school. Next step: tackle the two websites!