Keep that community newsletter!

By: Ken DeSieghardt

As school districts across the country look for ways to squeeze the most out of their budgets, the one area that tends to land on the chopping block is any printed community newsletter that is sent to all residents. Some basic math will demonstrate why such an idea may make fiscal sense, but strategically it is all wrong.

Start with the percentage of households in your district that have current district students. Depending on the community, of course, chances are the range is from 25 to 40 percent. That means that 60 to 75 percent have no regular outbound contact from the school district and no real reason to seek out information on their own.

Why does this matter? After all, you still are in regular contact with your current parents, right?  

Patron Insight’s studies show the number one source of school district news for the typical resident is “friends and neighbors.” If you stop communicating directly with people who no longer have students in school, you are leaving their view of the district up to an acquaintance.

It matters as you try to protect and advance your brand, but it really matters when you need a good portion of that 60 to 75 percent in your corner on a future Election Day.

The Blue Valley (Kan.) School District has restarted its quarterly Blue Valley Today publication after a one-year hiatus. To find out more about the district’s thinking, contact Kristi McNerlin, chief communications officer, at [email protected].

Ready to start your own district newsletter? Contact Rick Nobles, Patron Insight president, at
913-484-0920 or [email protected].