Income surveys are commonly used by school districts throughout the United States for determining whether or not a district qualifies for free benefits for all students, additional programs such as SNAP and TANF, and more. Income surveys are excellent ways to collect information, but they are only effective if the parents in a school district complete and turn them in. If your district is having trouble with parent engagement with income surveys or you are trying to strategize on how to best execute your upcoming campaign, here are some tips for helping your income surveys be a success.
Make Income Surveys Convenient
The easiest and most effective way to engage parents with income surveys is to make them convenient to fill out and easily accessible. If your district is using paper income surveys, pass them out to students in the classroom instead of making parents come into the school office to receive them, and make it so they can be turned in this way as well.
It is highly recommended that, if you don’t already, you utilize online income surveys. By allowing parents to fill out a survey online and submit it automatically, it makes it incredibly convenient for them to complete the survey and therefore incentivize them to participate.
Offer Student Incentives or Requirements
Even when surveys are convenient to complete for parents, it still may be a good idea to offer incentives for students to prompt their parents to complete the form. Some districts offer classroom or schoolwide rewards for 100% participation or for the class or school that achieves 100% participation first. Another common practice is to make the turning in of an income survey a graded assignment for a student. This is usually most common for elementary school-aged children and would be a minor grade, but it is effective in promoting participation when even minor success is on the line.
If your district can get as many parents as possible to participate in income surveys, you increase the chances of receiving the benefits associated with the income survey program, including extra funding and additional program connections. Rocketscan, by Image One, is a software product specifically designed to process both free and reduced meal applications and income surveys and has proven to be effective in being both convenient for parents and students and in increasing district-wide income survey participation. To learn more about Rocketscan and its paper and online processing features, please contact us at (800) 956-9000 ext. 255 or visit our Rocketscan income survey (CEP) page here.