Using Parent Personas to Streamline Communication & Engagement

What a Year! Well done on surviving and thriving as you serve parents and families. As you continue to adjust and plan for the unknowns this fall, one thing is certain, understanding the needs of the families you serve is critical. TorchStar recently provided the Keynote for the AHEPPP Virtual Communications Summit. You can review the slides to learn how understanding personas can streamline parent communication and engagement. 

As we have discussed this work with colleagues, two questions often arise.

1. Isn’t this going to mean more work for parent and family professionals?

NO! You will continue to use best practices in communicating and engaging with families. You will just make sure that all the work you do is sensitive to the needs of the personas on your campus. For example, you already have multiple presenters for in person or virtual orientation – just make sure that you are providing the most important information for all of your personas. 

You already plan multiple events for family weekend – just make sure that each persona will be engaged. You already write multiple articles for your newsletters – just make sure that each persona can “see themselves” in at least one article. The data on personas can also help you build stronger coalitions with your campus partners. You can help them better serve parents by knowing how their programs and services align with the needs of different personas. 

2. Can I find out the personas for my campus?

YES! You may already have a “gut instinct” about the motivations, choices, involvement, satisfaction, and value for your parents. But the parents who contact your office probably represent only a subset of the parent personas. Some parents don’t engage with parent offices as much as others. That means “squeaky wheels” may be driving your programming. You could try to gather persona-related data on your own. But that takes time away from your core mission.

TorchStar has survey tools that have been developed by professional researchers and tested nationally. We can help you go from customization of those tools for your campus to a persona profile in six weeks.

Contact TorchStar now to start persona-lizing your communication and engagement programs.

By the time you’ve shaken off the craziness of the spring semester, you will already be positioned for a well-planned start to the new academic year.

Sally McMillan is a founder and Principal at TorchStar Education. She can be contacted directly at [email protected]

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