https://dar.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/ParentsLeadershipCouncil-2018-RichardsFamily-165.jpg 800 1200 Danielle Bezila https://dar.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/UGADAR-logo-horizontal2.png Danielle Bezila2019-01-15 12:31:312019-03-08 09:21:32Bulldog Families: Why Communicating with Parents is Different
What makes parents different?
- Current and vested interest in UGA
- Their student’s experience is what informs and creates their experience
- Often know more about what’s happening on campus than we do – that’s fine!
- Parents are usually interested in what their students are interested in
- They are currently paying significant funds for out of state or in-state tuition
- Could be tied to existing pledges at private school
- Like to talk about their kids more than themselves
- Usually no past memories/nostalgia for UGA unless alumni parent
- Connection to UGA is emotional but also transactional
Roadmap for connecting with UGA Parents
Reaching out to new Freshman Parents
- Always address both parents unless it is clear that they are separated/divorced/widowed
- Always acknowledge student right away
- Time is of the essence – narrow window of opportunity BUT need to be sensitive
- Learn about their family’s UGA experience
- Connect them with a community to become more involved…Parents Leadership Council
Suggested Annual Touchpoints
- September/October — Welcome back to campus (non-first year families) and Parents Leadership Council Weekend/Greek Parent Weekends
- November — Happy Thanksgiving/first visit home for freshmen
- December — Happy Holidays/hope finals are going well
- January — Return to campus, hope winter break was fun
- March — Spring break/midterms
- May — Finals, end of school year, summer plans and Mother’s Day
- June — End of fiscal year and Father’s Day
Meeting Scheduled: Now What?
- Be aware of any high profile topics on campus
- Be familiar with student news outlets, social media campaigns
- Ask about suggested responses from Communications
- Do not raise the issue unless parents raise it first
- Assess potential for Parents Leadership Council membership
- Be aware of the academic year
- Move-in, midterms, finals, holiday breaks, housing deadlines, tuition, etc.
- Check the online academic calendar
- Ask about the student’s experience—this should be one of the very first questions
- Listen more than talk
- Generally aren’t interested in the campaign, long-term planning, etc., in the first meeting
- They just want to talk more about their student.
- Follow up builds trust and credibility with parents
Points to keep in mind!
- Ask about the student’s decision to apply and attend; their “journey to UGA”
- Ask about major even if you already know
- Don’t assume student shares much
- Parents Leadership Council is a great way to build inclination and structured engagement
- Avoid the “Update from Campus” approach
- But be prepared to talk about current events on campus if asked (UGA Points of Pride are good to mention)
- “I’ll get back to you on that”
- They don’t expect you to know everything. Really.
And Don’t forget…
- Parents are less inclined to meet when their student is home
- Don’t overpromise
- Capacity/high rating doesn’t always = inclination
- Be up front: fundraiser, not an ambassador
- Expect more disqualification than solicitation