Why doesn't your school have a retention strategy

Welcome to Episode 24 where my guest today is Mike Ziemski. Mike is the Regional Vice-President of FACTS Management Company and also the Founder of SchoolAdvancement. He’s also the author of a newly updated book “Retention: A Systems Approach to Growing Enrollment”, which is the topic of our discussion today.

In this episode, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How Mike works with schools
  • Why Mike felt a need to write the book “Retention: A Systems Approach to Growing Enrollment”
  • How retention strategy fits into the puzzle of school success
  • What is the “flipside” of retention?
  • 3 quotes from Mike’s book and why he chose them
  • The importance of seeing independent schools as a business
  • FACTS acronym and its meaning (has nothing to do with Mike’s business name, by the way)
    • F = Faith / Founder’s identity
    • A = Activities
    • C = Curriculum
    • T = Technology
    • S = Surroundings
  • How independent schools missed an entire generational cohort and why this is important for school marketers to understand
  • Why merger math is wrong
  • Why independent schools don’t spend as much time and energy as they should on retention
  • The mindset change that needs to happen for independent schools to be successful
  • The distinction between managing the customer experience and marketing
  • What a “driveway strategy” is
  • Linear thinking and the problems inherent in that system
  • The type of thinking that is most effective when it comes to retention
  • What
  • Discussion about retention strategies from Mike’s book
  • Why you should stop using the word “discount” in your marketing and what word you should use instead
  • The best summer retention strategy for schools
  • Practical tactics to boost retention
  • Example of results when a school follows this retention system
  • Why everyone is responsible for school retention

Links and resources mentioned in this episode include:

Mike’s Background:

Mike Ziemski, M.Ed., holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and a Master of Education degree from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, and is currently a Regional Vice President for FACTS Management Company, serving PK-12 schools in Western and Central New York, Western and Central Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Prior to joining the FACTS team, he was the Director of Marketing and Development for the Office for Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Greensburg, where he developed an awareness of systems thinking, realizing that all business processes need to work together to help schools form a firm financial foundation.

Working with other development directors in the schools of the Diocese compelled him to create SchoolAdvancement.  Applying systems thinking to “next” business practices for faith-based and private schools, he developed The ARMED (Asset Management, Retention, Marketing, Enrollment, and Development) Framework to prepare faith-based and private schools for the challenges they face at this point in history.  School leaders must realize all five elements of Advancement must grow simultaneously, enabling them to provide the financial constructs necessary to be able to carry out the mission of the schools they lead, advancing toward the inspired vision they have for their school’s successful future.

Mike’s publications:

Retention: A Systems Approach to Growing Enrollment

Marketing: A 12-Step Plan to Increase Inquiries to Your School

Shift: A Strategy “Geared” to Solidify School Finances

Quotes from the book:

“You can grow today – but only if you bring something unexpected and exciting to your customers.” Gary Hamel, author of Leading the Revolution

“In a private school, you don’t want to lose customers.” Jeanne Allen, President of the Center for Education Reform

“The most serious problem facing Christian schools is Retention.” Dr. Allen Pue, President of The Barnabas Group

Where to find Mike Ziemski:

Mike’s LinkedIn Profile

Websites: FACTS Management Company  and School Advancement

Books mentioned in this episode:

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tim Rath

Free Enrollment Estimator Tool

Enrollment Estimators (by grade level) – free tools you can use to estimate your enrollment from year to year

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