How to Communicate Before, During, and After a School Survey Initiative

How to Communicate Before, During, and After a School Survey Initiative
How to Communicate Before, During, and After a School Survey Initiative


December 12, 2018

Collecting data through school surveys provides deep insight into what your community really wants. The administrators who oversee enrollment and marketing are often an integral part of the internal data team.

This team is a central body, monitoring all research conducted by the school to inform various decision-making processes. A data team ensures surveys are not repetitive for each constituent group, integrates findings from the surveys, and aligns communications before and after the surveys.

As a member of the enrollment management or marketing team, you might be tasked with handling communication before, during, and after a survey initiative. It’s important to let students, parents, and faculty know about your survey and what you hope to achieve so there are no misunderstandings throughout the process.

Before the survey is distributed

The School Head should craft a letter or email to each survey group, informing them that they’ll soon receive a survey that the school would like them to complete. This letter should state why the school is conducting the survey, who is being invited to take the survey, what the school intends to do with the data, when the group can expect to receive a summary of the findings, and the school administrator they can contact with questions.

In addition to the group you intend to survey, it’s also important to let the general community know about survey initiatives. Include information about your survey on your website and social media channels to let everyone know what you’re trying to achieve.

In this same vein, let faculty know about your survey initiative before any public communication goes out. Teachers will want to know why you are collecting the data, what you intend to do with it, and how it may impact them.

During the survey process

Be sure to send ongoing reminders throughout the survey process, letting groups know of deadlines and other important information as they complete the survey. Once an individual has completed the survey, ensure he or she is sent an automatic thank you message for participating.

After the survey is complete

When the deadline for completion has closed, send a formal thank you letter or email from the School Head to all who participated. This communication should again include information on how the survey data will be used, and when participants can expect to receive a summary of the findings. This acknowledges and values the participants’ efforts, and encourages them to participate in future surveys.

Once your team has analyzed your data, share a summary of the highlights (strengths and challenges) with participants. Include a few preliminary actions the school intends to take based on the results, while being sure to not promise anything that isn’t definite. If you aren’t sure what action the school will take, detail the task forces that have been formed to tackle specific issues.

You should publish the highlights and intended actions on your website or in a newsletter. You can also hold a public forum to communicate the findings where constituents can ask questions. Ensure the findings shared are accurate and appropriate for the audience, and that nothing is promised that will not be delivered.

Communication is key to ensure a successful survey initiative. Inform your audiences before, during, and after a survey to keep them engaged and inspired as you collect data to help move your school forward.

Additional ISM resources:
The Source for School Heads Vol. 17 No. 1 How to Spur a Successful Survey Initiative
The Source for Private School News Vol. 17 No. 7 Four Recommendations for Surveying Your Parent Body

Additional ISM resources for members:
I&P Vol. 39 No. 15 Launching Your School’s Survey Initiative
I&P Vol. 40 No. 4 A Guide to Responsible Survey Data Analysis


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