Improving School Budget Communications with the Community
Communicating school budget and financial issues to parents and the extended school community has become an important skill and an all consuming issue for busy school administrators. David Voss, of Voss & Associates, provided tools and techniques to improve the presentation of budget issues as part of the SchoolReach Professional Development Series.
Budget communications and budget issues have stolen the stage and have taken the spotlight from the core education issues of student achievement and student development. Unfortunately the two issues are inexorably linked, as education cannot take place without some level of funding.
A key to successfully improving budget dialogue, discussion, and results is incorporating FLIP principles (Financial Language Interpreted for the Public) into budget communications.
Here are the key takeaways from this edition in the Professional Development Series:
(To watch the archived FLIP presentation - CLICK HERE.)
- Develop a strategic communications plan that surrounds the budget discussion - do not treat the budget as a one-off topic that exists outside of normal communications.
- Tailor your message to the audience at hand - don't talk to senior citizens, or business people the same way you talk to school parents.
- Inform your employees first -make sure employees are working for you and not against you by arming them with the facts.
- Stop whining! - Lead the discussion by telling your audience what you are for, and not against.
- Develop a simple, powerful, memorable positioning statement - take a page from business and political marketing to condense your position down to just a few powerful, memorable words. An example was given: "Fund What Works"
- Use the power of stories and visual examples to convey budget impact. For example, tell a story of a young student who has benefited from additional math resources, or before-school programs and how that story may end if those services must be cut.
- Make the discussion personal and emotional.
- Presentation rules: use key words, alternate focus, use large type, few bullet points, use emotional photos, use clear graphics, incorporate brief multi-media video, sound and stories.
- Develop a key communicator network - a prestigious panel of individuals and leaders who reside and/or work in the community that support and help get your message out.
To watch our archived FLIP presentation - CLICK HERE.