We are a charter school in our second year and want to attract more families on a very tight budget. Any great and inexpensive marketing ideas would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

In my opinion, its not really “the kids” you want to attract, is it? Of course not. You want to attract “the persons controlling the purse strings”: the parents and guardians of those children. The children won’t have a choice, will they? OR will they? I think you have to win over the parents and guardians AND the children. The Q is “How?”

Your Q is at a pretty advantageous time – maybe. School is JUST getting ready to open for a new year. My Suggestions #1: IF NOT for this year, how about for next semester and/or next year? An “Open House”. AND the entire Board of Directors, faculty and staff should be on-hand to answer any and all Qs from parents and children. The Open House should have some light refreshments – BUT NOT “cheap” or inexpensive refreshments. OR
Suggestion #2: Some of the folks could donate the refreshments, couldn’t they? I’m sure there are some wonderful cooks and bakers on your staff and the parents and guardians of the children attending the school, aren‘t there?

Suggestion #3: You should focus your enrollment campaign on a more affluent area. Honestly, I don’t know how a charter school works or operates, but it seems to me this is the economic level you should start investing your advertising/promotion funding. This level and higher levels.

Suggestion #4: You have to make the investment in time with the Board of Directors, your faculty, staff, current students and the parents and guardians of those students. You NEED ideas to get the magnet to start attracting those folks you‘re interested in attracting and enrolling in your school. What does your charter school do – more of and better than any other nearby school? This is where I think it should begin.

Suggestion #5: You could offer the best suggestion and the runner-ups different fee-paid services for free or at a greatly reduced rate, couldn’t you?

Suggestion #6: I never saw this in any school or college I attended, but I saw it ALL the time in the establishments where I worked: How about comment cards and suggestion boxes placed in strategic locations throughout the school AND [maybe] in businesses throughout the community? You could offer a monthly prize.

Suggestion #7: If you wanted to, you could probably set-up an e-mail address for suggestions only, too, couldn’t you?

Thank you for asking your question. I enjoyed taking the time to answer it. You did a great job – not only for your information, but for every other person interested in reading my answer. Thanks to everyone for reading my answer.

I wish you well!

Ron Berue
Yes, that is my real last name.