Marketing for Adventist School Leaders


"Marketing" is not just advertising. "Marketing" is choosing who we want to be and then becoming that so authentically that engaged consumers will be our most effective advocates.


The Big Picture – Seven Pillars for Adventist School Marketing

                                          ...for school leaders

1. Your personal spirituality is the Pivot Point for your school’s impact.

2. Marketing is about relationships.

3. Your school can grow no taller than its staff.

4. Prioritize the time you give to…
      God, family, staff, pastor, parents, students, board, mayor, mentor, society.

5. Recruit your constituents as Advocates.

6. Marketing is a purposeful adventure filled with exhaustion, tears, values, 
      and victory.

7. Plan thoroughly. Fail well. Celebrate often.

Pillar #1 - This week's emphasis

“Your personal spirituality is the Pivot Point for your school’s impact.”

Everything depends on you and your relationship with God. If you start the morning with Him – it’ll be easier for you to be kind to your spouse, easier for you to have good words for that parent who has been bugging you, easier for you to appreciate the 1st-graders’ art, easier for you to encourage the discouraged.

Without that connection you’ll be relying on your own personality and health rather than God’s endless reservoir of “anything you might need.”

A couple suggestions for improving the connection this week:
a. Meditate on Jeremiah 29, Isaiah 49, and Colossians 3.
b. Look up all the references to Barnabas in Acts. How can you develop the traits that
     made him such a trustworthy friend? How is his relationship with John Mark            
      similar to your relationship with your school staff?

Here’s a crazy Marketing Opportunity…

Kohl’s is offering 20 grants of $500,000 each to the top twenty schools who get the most votes on their Facebook page.

As of Sunday afternoon there were 2 obviously SDA schools in the top 100. Mount Ellis Academy was #13 with 20,050 votes, and Upper Columbia Academy is #64 with 3,925 votes. Both have a chance at the top 20!

Each person gets 20 votes – a maximum of 5 per school. Please visit the Kohl’s page, register, and then vote for your school, Mount Ellis, UCA, and any other SDA school you would like to support.

This is an honest $10 Million marketing challenge from the Kohl’s foundation, making me wonder how many SDA schools we can get in the top 20 before September 3?

This Week's Practical Marketing Guide

I. Remember – the most important thing you can do right now is assure that your school is the safe and friendly place the parents dreamed of for their children! That means your first marketing task is “relationships.”

1. Choose to make prayer and spirituality your most visible purpose on campus.
2. Choose to learn each child’s name—as if he or she is God’s Firstborn.
3. Choose to deepen your relationship with each staff member.
4. Choose to befriend the parents/grandparents/guardians of each child.
5. Choose to make your school a place of HONOR.

Visit the NAD Education website at:

Click on the Educator’s Toolbox and discover The Code of Honor. Implementing this simple interactive customer service and school climate program will quickly make your school the best-known and respected personal growth center in your community.

II. Uniquely Seventh-day Adventist.  This calls for a “walk-around.”

Walk every corridor, go from back to front of every room, photograph all signage, look at everything as if you were a first-time guest. What makes you uniquely Seventh-day Adventist? It’s good to be “great,” but your school must also stand out from the competition as “unique.” Your commitment to the heritage and mission of Seventh-day Adventist education sets you apart from the rest. How is that obvious – physically – on your campus?

III. Marketing Calendar

 Circle 4 major events on your calendar:

1.     The birthdays of each school staff member
If you’d like a dozen free birthday cards to send to the staff, send me an email with a list of what you consider your most important marketing appointments for the rest of 2010.

 2.     The community’s “Harvest Festival”
Reserve a booth at the “Harvest Festival,” a booth where you’ll sell stuff made by students, trade things you think others might want, and show anything that makes your school look good. It’s also a perfect place to sell $1 copies of Steps to Christ, or…

3.     The school’s major music concert
Make your Fall Music Concert the biggest musical event EVER in your community. Invite the mayor to emcee, and the VFW color guard to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Sing songs the community will recognize and make sure a couple are sing-alongs. Plan this as a major marketing outreach to the people who are benefiting from your community service programs.

 4.     The  “All Parents” social you’re planning for Autumn
You are planning an extra special social for “parents only” aren’t you?

Community Service

Set up an appointment with the mayor to discuss possible new-and-improved ways your students can become involved in service this year. Look beyond the soup kitchens and road clean-ups. This is a time for repainting houses and participating in the mayor’s personal “community beautification” projects. If you’re at the forefront of service, you’ll be in the newspaper. (Front page. “Above the fold.” Often.)

Grow My School
is an interactive newsletter. We’re looking forward to your response to the marketing ideas, but we’re especially interested in hearing stories of your successes, failures, and challenges.

Have an awesome week!

Dick Duerksen

To ask questions or comment on anything in the GROW MY SCHOOL NEWSLETTER, or for more information on Marketing Adventist Schools, please send an e-mail to Dick Duerksen

GROW MY SCHOOL is a service of the Seventh-day Adventist North American Division Office of Education.



Issue 2010:6

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About the Author

Dick Duerksen is Assistant to the President of Maranatha Volunteeers International where he serves as Storyteller. He is also Creative Consultant to the NAD Office of Education. Dick has worked within the Seventh-day Adventist church as a pastor, administrator, editor, planner and consultant for creative ministry.


1 Refrigerator Prayers

Watch Gale Crosby, principal at Portland Adventist Academy, describe their Prayer Cards, a simple device for increasing support from your local congregations. Gale’s is an effective approach to “praying for and being prayed for,” one that will keep the spiritual needs of your students “on the refrigerator doors” of members through the year. To watch the video please click here


2 Host the Chef

"Cheap Sandwiches R Us"
Invite parents to your "Save $ on cooking" series with local chefs. This week "Six Sandwiches." Next week "creative casseroles." Be known as the school that helps parents save money.


3 Listen Aloud

...and post hours

Make yourself incredibly easy for parents to find.  Place your schedule in church bulletins.  Hold a couple "open-forum" conference calls.  Listen, and they will share...and support.


4 Think Parent

Ask: What would a parent like?
Then do it. Surprise them. Again and again till they know you're serious about serving them. Choose to like them.


5 Turn Pages

Move your office to the library

Not forever, but for at least an hour each day.  Read to kids and have them read to you.  And spring $20 for "Cats," "Dogs," and "Horses" books at Borders.  They're on the SALE tables.


6 Service Supporters

November is a perfect month for Community Service, and the last week of October has been granted to you as Planning Time! Distribute (and collect) the Community Service Planning Page at church Sabbath and have your Junior High students sort the responses and set up a list of needs. NOTE: the CSPP is a service-focused planning page asking members to suggest neighbors and friends who could use some student assistance. To access the Community Service Planning Page please click here: CSPP



GMS 2010 8-15.doc