BUILD A STRONG CHARTER SCHOOL BRAND
Charter schools are changing the education landscape in America. Get a free copy of our book, Build A Strong Charter School Brand, and learn how to increase funding, recruit top-tier talent, and bolster enrollment through effective branding and storytelling.
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Increase Funding. Improve Recruitment. Bolster Enrollment.
01FUNDINGIncrease Grants and Donations
It’s no secret that securing public and private funding for charter schools is vital to sustainability. Not only do charter schools compete with other publicly-funded institutions for federal and state grants, they also must supplement the absence of these funds with private donations. The power of your story and the strength of your brand can and does have a huge impact on meeting and exceeding your fundraising goals.
TIP: All charter schools depend on the publication of achievement to secure support and funding. But how do you elevate the good while being honest about current challenges? In order to realistically compete with the rest of the educational landscape, charter schools must face their numbers — enrollment rates, demographics, test scores — head on in a way that communicates focus and vision. Assess the approach the specific tools used to bring attention to your school’s funding needs, and identify specific areas where there is room for improvement.
Ask questions like: What are my school’s current funding needs? How are we communicating these needs to potential donors and supporters? The answers will help you set goals and define your primary calls-to-action for funding initiatives.
02STAFFINGRecruit and Retain Faculty
You are only as good as your people. A key ingredient of any charter school is the quality of instruction and leadership they’re able to provide. Meeting that goal means recruiting and retaining quality and diverse faculty and staff that not only brings individual talents to the table, but believes in, and wants to be part of a collaborative story for the benefit of students, their families, and the community.
That’s much easier said than done. Alleviating this issue starts with critically important decisions in messaging, and demands the development of cohesive standards in all facets of the organization. A unified approach reassures faculty of support, increases collective pride, and makes it easier for them to get behind a collective mission and vision – essential for any strong brand.
TIP: Every brand requires clear standards for all employees to embody. Disjointed perceptions of purpose lead to inconsistencies in work ethic, sustainability, productivity, and quality. The answer? Implementation of a cohesive message to a specific audience. Review your organizational values and goals, and how they are communicated to and embodied by your team.
Are your school’s values and goals visible in all branding collateral? How does your staff carry out your school’s mission on a daily basis? Highlight one value/goal per month within all faculty meetings, team functions, and in-classroom activities as a reintroduction and reinforcement to your school’s vision. Sometimes half the battle is simply a reminder of the “why” behind the “what”.
03ENROLLMENTGrow and Maintain Your Student Population
Charter schools are born from the idea of school choice. Every school – your school – is unique in its focus, commitment to whole-child learning, and ability to meet students where they are. Enrollment is perhaps the most critical pain point for the sustainability of charter schools both new and expanding. If you have evidence of improved test scores, you can exhibit them as an argument for more funding. If you demonstrate support for faculty, you can recruit talent. But if you’re struggling with maintaining a student population, you may need to reexamine who you are, and how you tell your story to families of both current and prospective students.
At the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, more than 500 new public charter schools opened across the nation, with an estimated additional 348,000 students. That’s encouraging news, but behind the positive data is the negative — more than 200 public charter schools closed. Among the top reasons behind the closures was enrollment. A proactive approach to marketing and communications is essential to the long-term sustainability of your school.
TIP: Roles for funders and faculty are important parts of a charter school’s story, but students are the protagonists. By embracing the students themselves as the center of the charter school equation, understanding and engaging cultural and communal identities, and making visible the specific rewards of enrollment, your charter school will achieve an authoritative, genuine, and recognizable presence within the community. Determine what value you offer to your students, their families, and the community.
What makes your school unique? What do you do best? What are you offering families and the community at large to remember about your charter school? Identify experiences specific to your school in which students can or do participate. Discuss ways (e.g., signs, brochures, student celebrations) to better showcase and express those opportunities to your students and to the community.
Invest In Your Charter School Brand
Whether you are a brand new school or are growing and expanding to new communities and campuses, every school benefits from a strong and consistent brand message, aesthetic, and vision. The value of your well-defined, well-told story is a primary contributing factor to success in your quest for fundraising, staffing, and enrollment.
Especially now, during these challenging and uncertain times, it is more important than ever to develop that consistency and to proactively examine, define, and develop a narrative and brand that involves everyone from your community – parents, supporters, students, and staff. Your community longs for a story that’s genuine, appealing, and relatable. Unearthing those important pieces and parts starts with honest conversations, perceptive and unbiased reviews of what’s missing, readiness to confront where there’s room for improvement, and sometimes, what needs to be left behind.
The time it takes to investigate your branding efforts pales in comparison to the time you’ll gain to focus on what’s most important — your students and their futures, and your school’s future as a force for positive change in the community. With more than a decade of experience working with charter schools from Chicago to Charleston, Nashville to New York, the next brand we want to develop is yours. Our branding and creative services include:
Featured Our Work with Charter Schools
KIPP PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOLS
As a national network of high-performing charter schools, KIPP is motivated by the mission of creating opportunities for all students, regardless of ZIP code.
Our work with KIPP has included partnering with school networks in Chicago, Nashville, and Jacksonville. For each network of schools, we have provided brand strategy, designed engaging and intuitive websites, and continue to work with each network on overall marketing strategy and on design and development of marketing and administrative materials that further support areas of growth in fundraising, enrollment, and recruitment.
“Proof’s desire to understand KIPP’s culture has resulted in a website that genuinely portrays our high-level impact. Their work has allowed us to reach more students, recruit teachers and leaders, and invest donors in our mission.”
VALOR COLLEGIATE ACADEMIES
Valor Collegiate Academies is a mixed-income model school based in Nashville that exists to empower a diverse community to live inspired, purposeful lives. For more than 5 years, Proof has partnered with the growing charter school network on branding and logo design, school naming, website design/development, and an extensive and comprehensive suite of administrative collateral, signage, and marketing materials.
With a clearly defined brand identity and message, Valor has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Nashville’s youth, with no signs of slowing down. We’re thrilled to have an ongoing relationship with the Valor team as they continue to grow their community and expand to new campuses.
“The Proof team is incredibly responsive, solutions-focused, and are generators of creative ideas who work tirelessly to ensure final products are high-quality and exceed expectations. We credit Proof for helping us thread our brand from virtual space to physical space — from our website to design elements within our campuses, our brand is cohesive. We appreciate the relationship we’ve built with Proof over the past five years and their high bar of excellence.”
DEMOCRACY PREP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Democracy Prep Public Schools is a network of open-enrollment, high-performing, public charter schools operating in New York City, Camden, NJ, The District of Columbia, Baton Rouge, and LA. As the school network has grown, so has the need to build and maintain a brand that clearly and confidently reflects their mission and unique approach to educating scholars.
We have partnered with Democracy Prep on several initiatives, from development of brand standards and messaging guidelines during a time of rapid growth, to our work on the redesign and development of the Democracy Prep website. The school network, which continues to expand, is equipped with clear and confident brand messaging and guidelines, and their website is an intuitive, informative, and engaging destination and platform for bolstering student enrollment, securing top-tier staff, and increasing fundraising efforts.
“Democracy Prep has one of the highest college acceptance and enrollment rates in the country. 100% of graduates are admitted to college, with 80% admitted to the most selective colleges. 89% of all alumni enroll in college. Democracy Prep is propelling the lives of scholars, and improving the education landscape in communities around the country.”
TAKE THE NEXT STEP
Get your free copy of our book, Build A Strong Charter School Brand. Increase funding, recruit top-tier talent, and bolster enrollment by harnessing the power and potential of your school’s brand.