Head Start programs can use the video Head Start Cares About Your Whole Family to recruit new families. The animation highlights the Head Start strengths-based approach, which recognizes families as their children's first teachers and honors cultural perspectives when building relationships with families.
About the Family Recruitment Video
This video speaks directly to families about how Head Start staff care deeply about children and families. It's an effective visual recruitment tool and a conversation starter when working with prospective families.
Recruitment Channels and Tactics
A channel is the path recruitment staff choose to share key messages about their program's services with eligible families.
A tactic is an activity within the channel that recruitment staff use to reach eligible families in their recruitment area.
How to Use It
Head Start and Early Head Start recruitment staff and teams can use this video in many ways, year-round, as part of their strategy to recruit eligible families. Explore examples of the recruitment channels and tactics you can include in your enrollment outreach efforts.
An in-person channel involves being in the physical presence of eligible families. Being in person creates an opportunity to make a connection with a family that you cannot get from other recruitment channels.
Here are some recruitment tactics:
- Show this video during your program's open house or a community-based outreach event. Set up a computer to play the video on loop using a screen that families can easily see. Look for strategic locations where families gather, such as near a food and beverage table or at your program's outreach event table near promotional materials.
- Show the video as part of a speaking engagement. Delivering short presentations to families or community-based organizations is a great way to raise awareness about your program and services. For example, many churches share community announcements at the end of their services. Ask faith leaders if you can give a short presentation about your program and show the video. Check with the presentation organizer to ensure they have the technology needed to show the video.
- Share the video with key messengers such as community partners. Ask them to use their in-person channels to play the video near where eligible families will see it, such as in health clinic waiting rooms or at their family events. Be sure to provide suggestions for using the video.
These are just a few in-person tactics for spreading the word about your program's services to eligible families. Take the time to brainstorm additional in-person ideas with your program staff and families.
About Key Messengers
Key messengers include community members who families trust and turn to for important information and services. For example, you can identify messengers in the faith community; local elementary schools; community-based organizations; libraries; health and pediatric clinics; TANF, WIC, and SNAP offices; community child care centers; education agencies; housing authorities; community police departments; local businesses; and your own program. Ask them if they are willing to serve as a key messenger to help you spread the word about your program. You can provide them with your key messages and the video and let them share it.
By engaging community members to serve as key messengers for your recruitment efforts, you can expand your reach to potentially eligible families in your recruitment area.
Digital channels make it possible to create awareness and promote your program's services online to eligible families. Examples of digital channels include websites, social media, email, and texts. Consider the following three recruitment tactics using digital channels:
- Post the video on your program's webpage. If your program has a webpage or website, you can embed the video. This makes it one of the first things potential families see when they visit your page.
- Post the video on social media. Share the video and one of your program's key messages on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Learn more about key messages below.
- Encourage program staff, families, and key messengers such as community partners to share the video through their digital channels. Provide sample messages for consistency of messaging.
Learning what is important to potentially eligible families and what they want from a child care program is essential for recruiting. This knowledge can help you develop your program's key messages or talking points.
According to ERSEA: Developing Effective Recruitment Services, all messaging should be culturally sensitive and represent families in the recruitment area. Programs should also ensure their key messages are written and spoken using plain language. Consider the sample key messages below to help you get started in developing your own.
Suggested Social Media Messages
- Both children and families are at the heart of our work at Head Start and Early Head Start programs. See if your family is eligible for services today! Call us at [Add Your Program's Phone Number Here]. #GetaHeadStart
- Head Start and Early Head Start programs aren't just for children — we support parents and families too! Watch this video to learn how Head Start programs recognize families as their children's first teachers and honor all cultures. Contact us today at [Add Your Program's Phone Number Here] to find out if your family is eligible.
Resource Type: Article
National Centers: Parent, Family and Community Engagement
Audience: Directors and Managers
Last Updated: December 11, 2022