Increasing Parent Response Rates

Engagement, For Schools, Possip, Strategy / /
increasing parent response rates

Parents and guardians are busier than ever, but their voices need to be heard in schools. Here are some strategies for increasing parent response rates. Possip schools can implement these to hear from more families by gaining investment, showing appreciation, and focusing on the Possip Champions in your community!

1. Clearly Explain Possip’s Purpose

One of the most crucial first steps to getting families on board with Possip Pulse Checks is to clearly state the purpose of these messages, then routinely reinforcing this explanation. If families understand the meaning behind the texts and that you are valuing and reading every response, their investment will increase significantly. Make sure all of your families know the WHY behind Possip Pulse Checks – and the WHY for them responding. Here are a few questions to consider as you craft your purpose statement for families:

  • What was the specific reason your school moved to Possip Pulse Checks?
  • Why text messaging? 
  • What do you hope to be able to do with Possip Pulse Check data? 
  • Why is it important for your school to hear family voices?
  • Why, as a parent, is it important to share feedback and praise?
  • How will Possip Pulse Checks positively impact the school community if families respond consistently? 

2. Keep Pulse Checks Routine and Relevant

Routines are helpful for families when it comes to communication. Possip Pulse Checks are a perfect example of a consistent communication source. We ask a few baseline questions about parent happiness, praise, and feedback. Schools can make the Pulse Checks more relevant and keep parents engaged by using Bonus Questions at the start or end of each Pulse Check. Bonus questions allow parents to feel like they are sharing their input on topics that are current and meaningful. Check out this article explaining Possip Bonus Questions and techniques for adding them to your Pulse Check. 

3. Provide Appreciation and Incentives to Families

Showing gratitude for responders helps them understand that their opinions are both heard and valued. Schools can reach out to a handful of families who responded each week via phone, email, or other communication method to personally say “thank you” for taking the time to respond. Parents are busier than ever, so providing praise and encouragement to them during this time will spur them on to continue taking the Pulse Checks. They may even talk to their friends at the school and other parents can become your very own Possip publicizers! Schools can learn so much from parents who are responding and make such positive momentum in the community through those important voices. 

Incentives are a powerful tool and motivator for families. A few ideas to start thinking about boosting response rates include:

  • Hosting a grade-level competition – the grade level with the most parent respondents wins a community prize (i.e. “virtual movie night,” “free dress day,” or a day with extended recess time)
  • Provide raffle prizes – pick one respondent winner every month for school swag or something families would appreciate
  • Public shout-outs – highlight the families that shared their names in an upcoming school newsletter for “top Possip responders.” You could also get their approval to share actual praise quotes in an upcoming family communication 

Incentives don’t have to just be prizes, though. They could take the form of school-wide incentives – create a visual to track Possip metrics, then set a goal for everyone to reach together. For example, in front of the school (if doing in-person classes), have a visual showing your Possip goal and how much you have left to reach that response rate. Remember those thermometer-style trackers for fundraisers? Humans love to see visual progress towards a goal, and your community will see that the school has set a school-wide priority.  

4. Use Multiple Methods to Publicize Pulse Checks 

Families may need various types of reminders to respond to the Pulse Check. Schools can work on increasing parent response rates by using social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to announce Possip with these templates and remind families to take the survey. Try sending out an email or robocall to families, putting a reminder in a parent newsletter the day before or after sending a Pulse Check, or sending a reminder on apps like Class Dojo or Talking Points. The more methods you have to remind parents of the important purpose of Possip, the better!

5. Tell Them What You Heard

Make sure to close the feedback loop after a Possip Pulse Check and tell the community what you heard. This helps them get invested and understand that someone is actually reading these text messages families are sending in. Involvement goes a long way to increasing parent response rates. Check out our templates for sharing feedback here. At Possip, we have a product offering that does this for school leaders called the 360 script. The 360 script pulls out trends in praise and feedback from the Pulse Checks that week and puts them in family-friendly language so that schools can easily share a quick community-facing message to increase investment. If you are interested in learning more about our 360 offering, reach out to caitlin@possip.com

6. Utilize Possip Champions 

Use your family members who respond to Pulse Checks consistently to hype up Possip to other parents. Schools could even create marketing materials with those family members or share their testimonials on social media outlets. The more that families see members of their own school community backing this software, the more likely they are to respond themselves. This could even look like just asking a few parents to reach out to 10 friends and make sure they responded to Possip that week! 

Another way to utilize your champions is to ask them what the school can do to work towards increasing parent response rates. They probably have some awesome ideas to try. They also are able to tap into their parent perspective to think of effective strategies for your specific community. Use your Possip champions to build more investment in hearing family voices! 

7. Get Teachers to Invest in Increasing Possip Response Rates

Get your teachers invested in the purpose of Possip, too! The more that families see everyone at the school referring to Possip and hearing about how the school uses the data, the more families will utilize the tool. Many families also give specific teacher shout-outs in Possip Pulse Checks. These get teachers excited about getting their classroom’s parents involved. Possip truly has positive benefits for everyone in the school community! 

8. Correct Contact Information & Target Non-Responders

Make sure you have correct family contact information in your system. This is a huge barrier to seeing as much success as possible with respondent rates for Possip. Schools or districts can have a campaign to gather new contact information and try to get up to date data for all families. You can even target non-responders to see if that contact information is now incorrect or if there is another reason families are choosing not to respond. Getting that data is important to understanding your community and making the most out of Possip Pulse Checks!