by Chevy Martin, Executive Editor, RedRock Reports
Most companies focus on selling to district level customers. Selling to individual schools is seen as costly and ineffective in making the bottom line—volume equals revenue. But what about Charter Schools?
In recent RedRock Online news articles, charters appear frequently. For example, in the past two weeks:
• Charter School Moratorium Lifted by State, By James Vaznis, Boston Globe, 120508
• Nashville’s LEAD Charter Group Awarded $3.25M to Support Growth, By staff writers, The CityPaper.com, 120510
• Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations, By Bruce D. Baker, Ken Libby, Kathryn Wiley, National Education Policy Center, 120505
• Charters Awarded to 4 New Massachusetts Schools, By Press Office, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 120509
• Newark Charter Seeking $18.5 Million in State Bonds, By Jonathan Starkey, The News Journal, 120514
More and more, states and districts are granting charters to groups ranging from parents to charter management organizations (CMOs) with each new charter requiring start-up equipment and materials, professional development and other support. An estimated 2 million students are enrolled in some 5,600 charter school throughout the US according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Charter schools are banding together in organizations such as National Alliance for Public Charter Schools which ”provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement.” Charter School Associations exist in many states and can provide a venue for sales. The Alliance also offers a national conference in June with an exhibit hall.
For example, the California Charter Schools Association offers support for both the charter schools and the charter school’s families via their website and annual conference with a vendor exhibit area. The Texas Charter Schools Association provides for a vendor approval process and endorsement. The New York Charter Schools Association holds its annual conference in October. And so on through most states.
This is the new approach to selling to charter schools. Begin to have a presence at conferences both nationally and in states where you have a sales force. In states with Associations that give approval or endorsements to products, make application. The number of charter schools will only increase, as will the market.