Maybe you’re thinking about trying out MemberHub or another school communications system. Or maybe you haven’t gotten that far yet – you’re just thinking that your school communications need some help!
Either way, if you don’t settle on something that’s a good fit for both your school and the people within it, your school communications “solution” will wind up creating far more hassles than it solves.
Here’s our list of the top 5 things you should keep in mind when selecting a school communications system:
1. It should be a comprehensive system. You probably have some experience with piecemeal tools (such as photo-sharing sites that don’t do anything else). The problem with these is just that: they’re one-trick ponies, which means they’re difficult to keep track of and require you to juggle a whole platter of separate websites, logins, and so on.
2. It should not be more than you need. It’s easy to get dazzled by lots of bells and whistles, but those bells and whistles all add complexity – and, more often than not, cost. Before you start seriously looking at the various school communications options out there, consider what your school really needs. And don’t stray too far beyond this. Get that list of benefits and features that you need! If you’re just going to drive to the grocery store and back, in other words, you don’t need a Maserati (well maybe you do ;-).
3. Your team must like it and actually use it. This ties in with #2 above – the greatest school communications system in the world won’t do you a lick of good if your team doesn’t both know how to use it and enjoy using it. If it’s too hard to figure out, nobody’s going to use it – period. Good design plays a major role here, and so does good team training. Which brings us to #4.
4. The solution must provide reliable training and support when you need it. Murphy’s Law dictates that you’re going to need support most desperately when it’s not available – when, for example, the system goes down during a school-wide crisis. You need (and deserve) real people to talk to in a situation like that who will help you work through the problem. And many so-called “solutions” don’t provide anything like this. As Jim Messina, our VP of Sales & Marketing likes to put it, “free isn’t free.” Amen to that!
5. The solution must be a good fit with your school. Different schools have different personalities – and so do different school communications solutions. The very best ones, give you a lot of options for customization so you get exactly what you need. As one example, we’re particularly proud of the way MemberHub accommodates all different kinds of families in the system (single parent, multi-generational household, two moms, two dads, etc.) so that no one feels left out or marginalized. To us, that’s a cornerstone of effective school communications.
What’s most important to you in a school communications system? We’d love to get your thoughts – feel free to leave ’em in the comments!