Using a CRM system to support effective parental engagement

From the articles I’ve previously written you’ll know I’m interested in CRM in education, so I thought you might be interested in this case study from the US, of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) – a group of charter schools – that is using CRM to support performance management and supporting parental communications. They run 71 schools, with 45,000 students and one of the parts of their projects has been to improve communications and engagement with prospective parents. (The other part, which you can read about in their case study is to use CRM for a new Employee Performance System for their schools)

In total, they have nearly 250 employees, including the marketing group, parent relations specialists, registrars, and admissions representatives at every school, using Dynamics CRM to manage their relationships and communications with parents – with many remote users accessing it across the web or through their existing Outlook software.

The goal was to ensure that there was an effective system in place to manage the lifecycle of prospective students, so that the school could improve the efficiency of student recruitment. As Andy Brownell, the NHA IT Manager says in the case study:

  Today, we can connect with parents in a highly focused way, incorporating best practices into our processes. We know where parents are in their decision making so that we can approach them effectively and at the right time. For our admissions representatives and outreach specialists, it has also become much easier to manage contact data, communications, and parent events and to seamlessly make records available to other NHA teams when parents enrol their children in our schools. That, in turn, results in more responsive, student-focused service delivery.  

By using a CRM system to manage their student recruitment, they were able to cover the critical gaps in their existing Student Information System, which didn’t handle relationships and communications management. I’ve seen this many times before, where schools end up having to use a ‘send everything to everybody’ approach in their communications, because they don’t have the right data or the right systems to help them to focus their communications – for both prospective and existing parents and students.

Learn MoreYou can read the full case study of NHA using CRM for student recruitment on the global Microsoft Case Studies website