It’s just about enrollment time, and that can bring up all sorts of questions for the coming year. How many families will be returning next year? How much room will you have for new registrations? Will you need more staff, more classes, more… anything? What will your cash flow look like? Take the guesswork out of your planning with an enrollment strategy that works.
Create a timeline for your enrollment plan.
What’s your enrollment deadline for next year? When do you need your existing families to renew so you know how many spots you have left for new families?
Not planning for enough staff can lead to serious licensing problems. Hiring last-minute or temporary staff without the experience or qualifications you normally require can also reflect badly on your program. On the flip side, having more staff than you need can be a strain on your bottom line. So how can you achieve the right balance?
Get current families to renew early, then fill the remaining spots by a hard deadline. There is no shame in saying “I’m sorry, we’re full” – in fact, when word spreads that you have a waitlist, demand will increase even more. If you have a few spots left over after the deadline, you and your staff can brainstorm ways to fill them together.
Set a registration fee to ensure commitment from current families.
Your parents seem to love your program, and their enthusiastic “YES!” when asked if they plan to return gives you confidence that you’re doing a great job and are running a program parents love. But without a financial investment, how can you be sure that families taking up space in your program are really coming back?
Setting a non-refundable registration fee creates a feeling of investment in your program, so when parents pay it, they know their child is “in.” It also means you can more accurately predict the number of children who are returning, and the number of spaces you want to fill in order to keep your childcare business afloat. You can always make exceptions later, but the term non-refundable will help keep parents from shopping around after they have already reserved a spot in your center.
Consider discounts for things like early registration or referrals.
Want to turn that enrollment trickle into a flood? Get families to actually respond to your call for next year’s registration by offering a small discount for doing it by a certain deadline.
Want to get prospective families interested in what your program has to offer? Get the parents in your program to start generating some buzz by offering a reward for referrals. Maybe you can afford to knock something off of their weekly tuition – parents are sure to appreciate that – but if you can’t, consider low-cost rewards like first choice of field trip chaperone opportunities, free PTA membership, or a homework pass.
Set up Payment Processing to collect registration fees online.
If you already collect online registration, you’re a step ahead, because that means all your data and payment information will be recorded in your EZ-CARE2 system in real time. Check to make sure your registration form is up to date, and submit a change request for any edits you need, including the amount you are charging. Once your changes have been made, you’ll just insert the link on your organization’s website or in an email to parents. It couldn’t be easier!
If you don’t already have online registration, it’s something to consider for drastically reducing administrative time. With online forms and payment processing, you’ll no longer be stuck for hours behind a computer screen manually entering data and recording cash payments and checks. Learn more about processing payments with EZ Payment Services.
Create effective email templates to reach everyone at once.
One of EZ-CARE2’s most versatile features is the combined power of the EZViewer and Select-a-Merge, which allows you to filter and display family records and send a mass email.
Using the EZViewer, select all the classes for the children who are eligible to return for your next session. For example, if you have a pre-school that includes kindergarten, you’ll want to exclude those children who will graduate and enter first grade elsewhere. You do this by creating an EZView using a Selection Filter to only include the classes or children you need to reach.
Once you have your EZView set up the way you need it, save it and create a Select-a-Merge template to convey all the information your parents need to register for next year. Give your emails a personalized feel by using merge fields, and incorporate your center’s logo for a professional look. Be sure to insert the Insta-merge link so parents can access your online enrollment form, and you are all set! If you aren’t sure how to set up your EZView or create and use a Select-a-Merge template, contact Support for assistance.
Take the stress out of enrollment season using these five easy steps. With a little planning and preparation, you can launch an effective enrollment strategy that works for you!