Some tips from parent and school choice activist Virginia Walden Ford:
• Go where the parents are—their neighborhoods, community centers, churches—not to ask them to always come to you.
• Communicate with parents regularly through letters, newsletters, media, churches, civic organizations, etc.
• All parents have something they can add—some make speeches; some pass out flyers; each has his own way of contributing.
• It’s all about the follow up: If you present yourself as helping parents, be prepared to go the extra mile to make sure that parents have you with them as they complete the process of finding educational opportunities for their children.
• Make sure that parent meetings start on time, do not last too long, have childcare, refreshments, and are structured to provide the best information possible in order to empower parents.
• Choose your battles. Don’t get into debates with parents, since debating tends to confuse and frustrate parents who are hungry for solutions to educating their children. They ultimately have to make the final decision for their children and have a right to hear all sides. When you encounter opposition, keep your calm and give parents valuable information that will be helpful to them in their search.
• Make sure you have steps that give parents a vision of where you are going and how they fit into that vision. [“School Choice: An Activists Guide,” by Virginia Walden Ford, in “Choosing to Succeed,” ed. Lindsey Burke, January 28, 2013, The Heritage Foundation]