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How to improve parent activation

May 26, 2021

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You’ve signed up to ParentPay, uploaded your pupils, added your bank accounts, set up your trips and payment items, and sent out the activation letters. But what happens when parents aren’t logging in and using the system? You don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste.

Having ParentPay set up doesn’t automatically mean that parents will start adopting the new system. Could there be anything you’ve missed that’s stopping some parents from using the system?

The truth is that some parents take time and plenty of encouragement to accept a new process; some may not want to pay online, or may not be aware of what they need to pay for. Whatever the reason, getting widespread parent activation is the final piece of the puzzle.

Why Parent Activation Counts

For schools, having access to an efficient income management and reporting system that seamlessly integrates with all the leading management information systems is a critical way to save time and increase productivity.

We’ve found that the best way to maximise these benefits is by increasing the number of parents using the system.

Getting Parents on Board

It may seem like a hopeless task – if parents haven’t signed up already, what’s to say they ever will? But it may not be the uphill battle you’re expecting, and there are a number of simple things you can do to improve your parent activation.

Proper Set up

Not all parents are the same. Each person has different wants and needs, so encouraging them to commit to using ParentPay can be a challenge. Making sure that your school has everything set up correctly and that you’re presenting all of ParentPay’s useful features will give you the best chance of getting parents on board.

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One useful feature that may help to incentivise parents into signing up is PayPoint. ParentPay integrates with PayPoint, generating a PayPoint letter within ParentPay. Providing your parents with this letter allows them to pay cash into their ParentPay account from their local store.

Another feature that may be useful for parents is the secondary payer option. For separated or blended families, ParentPay gives the option to set up secondary payer accounts. This allows pupils to have two or more payers, each with their own unique login. Both payers can see what has been paid for and what is still outstanding, without having access to each other’s personal information.

Many parents also find ParentPay’s alerts function useful. This function allows parents to set up free-of-charge email alerts, notifying them if their balance is running low, or if a new item or trip is available for payment.

You can find more information on ParentPay’s key features for parents here.

Key features for parents

Ways of promoting ParentPay to parents

Another common reason for some school’s low parent activation rate is that the parents simply aren’t aware of ParentPay. We’ve found that active promotion of ParentPay to parents can make all the difference when transitioning your school to a cashless system.

You can let parents know that they can use ParentPay to pay for trips, meals and much more through your school’s social media accounts. Something as simple as a quick tweet or Facebook post along the lines of “Geography Field Trip information is being sent home tonight. Don’t forget you can pay for this trip promptly via #ParentPay” can spark parents into action.

Another great option would be sending an email out to parents with some information about ParentPay and how to sign up. Writing emails can be time-consuming, so we’ve provided a variety of email templates for you to adjust which you can find here.

You can find our suite of promotional content for increasing parental activation here.

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Still Struggling? Think Outside the Box and Use These Tactics

If you’re still struggling to get parents on board, and activation rates are still low, here are some additional tactics that may help.

One action that schools find particularly effective is to set up a limited availability trip onto the ParentPay system. You can then advise parents that cash payments will not be taken until a set date, but the item can be paid for online, or through PayPoint, in advance.

You could also ask the headteacher to make an announcement at a parents’ evenings, or at new intake meetings, outlining the key reasons why the school is making these changes, and how they can benefit parents and students.

Finally, consider incentivising your parents. You might run a competition where everyone who activates their ParentPay account, or makes a payment online or through PayPoint, is put into a prize draw. Who doesn’t love a good prize draw…

You can check out more of our techniques for getting parents on board here.

Top 10 tips to encourage parent activation button

Hopefully, this guide should have your school well on its, but for more help, contact our friendly Customer Engagement Team.
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