Your have laid all the foundations and now you are ready to get the whole school onto your Classlist site - go for the big push approach and get all your parents signed up in just a couple of weeks. This approach takes a little planning and coordination, but don't worry; your trusty team already on Classlist can help out. If everyone chips in it should be a breeze!
If you don't like the idea of a big fanfare and formal launch strategy you can still announce the site to parents using the same resources but without the sign up deadlines and coordinated effort. It will probably take longer to get your parents signed up (and may even involve more effort on your part to keep nagging at people), but a viral campaign can be effective in the long run. Use community events or other whole-school features (eg second hand uniform sales) as hooks to get people talking and encourage them to sign up - that fear of missing out will work in your favour.
In this section, we will discuss how to:
- Plan your launch, including sending out/posting a formal Notice to inform parents what you will be doing (see GDPR compliance)
- Spread the word!
- Ask the headteacher to put in a good word
- Publicise it again!
If you already have a database of parent email addresses you can also invite people via email straight away. There are several advantages of doing this, as discussed below.
You Will Need:
- A lively and friendly team who are ready to promote Classlist to parents at the school
- A printer for printing posters and flyers
- If you have your Head Teacher on board, a helping hand from them would be brilliant at this stage.
1. Your launch
Before you begin it will help to have a plan with rough dates for each action and an idea of who will carry out each bit. Maybe you can create an event on Classlist for your team to celebrate at the end! Much of this will be up to you and your team but below are some tips many parents have previously found helpful:
- Let parents know what to expect. Use your existing communication channels (eg newsletter, school office email, Facebook group etc) to give parents a heads-up and explain what Classlist is. If you let parents know the PTA will be sending out flyers or asking for email addresses they will be more receptive. To comply with new data protection regulations you must issue a formal notice before inviting parents to join, if you already hold their email addresses for PTA purposes. To allow parents time to opt out of being invited if they wish, your formal notice should be made public in advance of you inviting parents, but there is no set timetable for this (one or two weeks should be plenty).
- Download and print our resources. You will find a number of useful printables such as sample letters, posters and postcard size flyers attached to this page. Simply download and print what you need. They're perfect to pop into a bookbag.
- Mobilise your team. Make sure everyone knows what to do. Organise a rota for standing at the school gate handing out flyers (or gathering email addresses if you want to invite parents by email). You can work in teams to inform parents about Classlist, targeting different groups or classes.
- Issue email invitations in bulk if you have parent addresses, and set a tight sign-up deadline. If you issue all your invitations in a single hit, you will create a buzz and parents will talk to each other about signing up ("Did you get an invitation to Classlist...have you signed up yet?" etc). The tight signup deadline creates a sense of urgency, meaning parents will be more likely to sign up straight away, before they forget and move onto the next urgent matter. There will still be stragglers, but there should be a surge to help get you over the first hurdle.
- Make sure you have a parent in each class who will help roll out. This will give you a much closer connection to the parents in each class, allowing you to inform them of Classlist's benefits on a much more personal level.
- Don't be afraid to share the workload. Make sure Class Admins know they should be approving the parents they recognise as soon as they join up. Getting lots of parents approved quickly creates a buzz and gets people talking.
- Piggyback on existing school events. Set up a table at your parent-teacher consultations, in the playground at pick up, or at the cake sale: have your laptop with you to demonstrate what Classlist is, print off a stack of flyers and be ready to take parents' email addresses if they are keen to sign up.
2. Spread the word and be ready to repeat publicity
You need to get the parents talking about Classlist. Once you get them interested and create a buzz at the school, the parents will become more receptive. Ask the school to send out a notice in the school newsletter and put up a poster at the school gate: make sure the Classlsit.com site is highlighted so parents can look up the site for themsleves. You can find posters and printables and check out tried and tested advice from other Classlist Ambassadors in our Help pages or on the Classlist Forum.
If you can tie your launch into an existing school event it will give you a physical presence to market your Classlist site. You could use sports day or parent teacher consultations - anything where lots of parents are likely to be there with a bit of time to spare to chat. Then make sure you have a PTA/community event coming up to use as an introduction to Classlist for all the newly joined parents - it could be class socials or a big event like the summer fair, but it needs to happen fairly soon after your launch or parents may lose interest.
3. Ask the headteacher to put in a good word (optional)
A helpful nudge from the head can do wonders when rolling out Classlist. The headteacher's official stamp of approval often signifies to parents that they should get on quickly. Do not worry if your head doesn't want to get on board. Classlist is designed for parents by parents. As such it is not a requirement for the school to be on board.
4. Gather parent email addresses (optional)
A really effective way to sign up parents is by email, so if you want to do this you need their addresses. If you collect them into a spreadsheet you will be able to organise them into classes and paste them straight into Classlist in one go, saving tonnes of time. If you use pen and paper sign up sheets it's fine but remember you might get more errors creeping into addresses. To comply with new data protection legislation you will need parents to give consent to be contacted in this way, so have a tick box on your sign up sheets. Obviously one single person can't invite everyone in the school this way, so use your team of helpers to cover more ground.
See Classlist's one-page guide on GDPR to be sure you comply with the new legislation when inviting parents using their email addresses.
For more tips and tricks on how to collect the contact details of you parents, please click here.
Tip: If you sort your collected emails into school classes and invite each class as a group, the parents will receive class-wide notices and invitations even if they have not yet signed up, because of Classlist's invited parent 'non-member' system.
Just navigate to the Add & Invite page once you log in to Classlist. From here you will be able to copy and paste the emails you have collected.
Enter the name of the class you wish to invite them to, then copy and paste in that class's email addresses and click send.
Repeat for each class.
The parents should now come flooding in over the next few days. Make sure you and your Class Admins keep an eye on the approval requests.
Ready for Part Five - Growth?
Article is closed for comments.