Marketing and Development
Marketing and development have become essential activities for everyone who is committed to the mission of Catholic education. It is no longer feasible for Catholic schools to take enrollment and financial support for granted. If those in the field of Catholic education believe their work is to spread the message of Jesus, they must do all they can to keep their schools not only open but vibrant. Catholic schools have never been simply alternatives to public schools; they are a way to continue the teaching ministry of Jesus.
Marketing began in the Catholic Education Office in the late 1980's largely with the support of volunteer consultants and various members of the CEO staff. Beginning in1996 marketing efforts and initiatives began under the direction of the Director of Marketing and Community Relations.
In 2011 Archbishop Robert J. Carlson’s vision for Catholic schools to be "Alive in Christ!" was initiated in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He identified three key areas as being critical to a vibrant Catholic school:
- The school must have a vibrant Catholic Identity.
- The school must be growing.
- The school must be financially healthy and, at the same time, provide assistance to those who otherwise could not afford to attend a Catholic school
The Mission Advancement Initiative was developed to collect and analyze data. Parish and school leaders, parents and parishioners in all 11 counties of the archdiocese were invited to listening sessions to share with him ideas on how to achieve the three priorities. An on line survey provided an opportunity for those who did not attend a listening session to offer their input. A professional advisory team studied the data collected and submitted a report to Archbishop Carlson with their recommendations.
On March 24, 2011, Archbishop Carlson met with some 400 leaders of Catholic schools and parishes to present “Alive in Christ 2018,“ a pastoral letter on handing on the faith to the young Church. He outlined a plan to reverse the decline in enrollment in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis by the 200th anniversary of Catholic education in St. Louis in 2018.
Over the next months (between March 24, 2011 and November, 2011) four implementation committees developed specific strategies to accomplish the priorities named above:
- Catechesis and Academic Excellence
- Social Justice
Archbishop Carlson presented his ten priorities for the Alive in Christ Initiative on February 2, 2012 to a group of educational leaders at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School.
To read the entire text, visit http://archstl.org/archbisho's-priorities
Although marketing (relationship-building) is critical to the continued strong presence of Catholic schools, public relations can be an adjunct to the marketing efforts. Recognizing this, the Director of Marketing and Community Relations works in collaboration with the Office of Communications to assist individual schools in identifying possible stories for the media, and guiding them in their efforts to acquire media coverage.
The Director of Marketing and Community Relations publishes a weekly newsletter that is transmitted electronically for all schools. (Click on the link to The e-Vangelizer to view archived issues.) Schools may submit information and pictures for inclusion in both the newsletter, and the Catholic Education Office web pages at archstl.org. Please include a statement that signed photo releases (link below) are on file for every person in a photograph, including adults.
New resources are now available to assist schools in the development/evaluation of an enrollment management plan, as well as to assist enrollment management teams in their recruitment and retention strategies. This information can be found under the "Mission Advancement Initiative" tab at left, and clicking on "Priority 5."
For more information contact:
Mrs. Sue Brown
Catholic Education Office
Director of Marketing and Community Relations
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis MO 63119