Host a speaker without the travel costs

Tips to Increasing Parent Interaction & Attendance

One of the most common questions administrators ask is me how to boost attendance for parent events.  As schools seek to provide resources and learning opportunities, it can be challenging and even disheartening if these opportunities aren’t taken advantage of.

As a youth speaker, I hold numerous parent events each month, in various districts across the country.  This has offered me a unique vantage point to see what’s working and what’s not.  Over the last two years I’ve seen a decline in overall attendance at parent events.  Because of this, I’m focusing my attention less on live events for parents and more on resources that can be accessed on-demand in 2020.  Still, I hope that these tips are helpful as you reach families face-to-face.


James Comer says “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship”.  While this quote is often applied to teaching students, forming relationships with parents is incredibly important also.  Imagine being emailed a PDF invite to an upcoming party in town.  How likely would you be to go?  Now imagine that the party is being hosted by one of your best friends – someone that you trust and consistently adds value to your life.  Would this increase your likelihood of going?  For sure!

I believe that forming positive relationships is the number one way you can boost attendance.  Often the folks in the crowd are the ones that are most “bought in” to the host and/or the presenter.


Ask yourself these questions…
1. Do parents care about the topic of discussion? 
2. How will the content solve a problem causing them pain and make their life easier?
3. Are you communicating the problem and solution in “their voice” (the way a mom or dad would say it)?
4. Is it at a time and place that they would choose?
5. What competing activities might make them miss out or choose something other than your event?
6. What barriers are there to attending? (transportation, child care, cost)


In the Information Age, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans see 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day.  If you want your event or offering to be top of mind, repetition is key.  It’s tough to rise above the noise. 

How often have you realized later that you missed an event simply because you forgot.  Sometimes we assume that there will be another reminder, closer to the offering date.  A last-minute reminder is always a good idea for those that intend to come but didn’t add it to their calendar.


Additional Parent Event Tips

  • Offer Food & Beverages
  • Provide Child Care
    • Doing so eliminates a barrier for many moms and dads.
  • Make It a Community Event
    • This makes it easy for others in the community to get on board with promotion.
  • Run Advertisements
    • I’ve had success running $20-$40 in Facebook ads.  
  • Include Students in Your Event
    • Every parent wants to see their kid shine.  A talent show or opening song by the school band/choir is a great way to do this.
  • Have Students Text their Parents
    • Mom and dad are more likely to come if their student is excited about it.
  • Offer a Lunch Hour Presentation
    • This time often has less competition than evening events.  In some communities, attendance doubles, compared to an evening event.
  • Consider Live Streaming or an On-Demand Option
    • The “Access Generation” is used to watching and attending on their watch.

Learn More on the Podcast Episode


What are your tricks for engaging parents?

Please comment below.  We are stronger together!