As a K12 communicator, it’s your job to not only support students, parents, and donors but to support teachers as well. By keeping necessary parties informed of school activities, back-to-school protocols, events, and important news, you’re taking some of the heavy lifting off of your teacher’s plates.

But the harsh reality is that your job requires multitasking, and K12 school budgets don’t always have extra resources to allocate towards extra staff and support. I’m sure you’ve found yourself filling the shoes of a graphic designer, writer, editor, and social media strategist (just to name a few). Learning new skills while trying to accomplish your K12 email marketing strategy and manage your school contact list can be pretty daunting. 

Thankfully the internet has many free and low-cost tools that can help K12 communicators accomplish everything necessary to meet the needs of students, parents, donors, and school staff. 

Here are a few of our favorites that we recommend looking into: 

1. BenchmarkONE K12 Edition

BenchmarkONE K12 edition is an email newsletter tool that can help K12 communicators craft a professional-looking email instantly. BenchmarkONE can also be used to grow and manage your contact list so you can increase engagement and meet those oh-so-important fundraising goals. The platform gives you the ability to segment your email lists so you can personalize your message according to your audience, ensuring each message you send meets the specific needs of those it’s going to.  

Oh, and it’s great for assisting you when you’re pressed for time (which, let’s face it, is always). You can use its K12 marketing automation features to send out emails at optimal times while you’re busy getting other things done. What’s not to love?

2. Grammarly

Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant. You can download Grammarly as a browser plug-in and use it for all types of communication: email, messages, documents, projects, or social media. Grammarly will edit your copy and suggest corrections, so your grammar is impeccable each time you communicate with your audience. 

This tool is wonderful for people who don’t have a personal editor at hand but produce lots of writing that gets seen by large groups of people. You could always use spell check, but Grammarly takes editing one step further by offering sentence rephrasing, so your communication always comes off clear and perfect.  

3. Canva

Canva is a graphic design platform that you can use to create custom graphics using templates for all types of educational communication purposes: social media, presentations, posters, documents, blog banner images, and more. Canva offers a free subscription to educators that give you access to premium features and tools for collaboration. It also gives you the ability to schedule social media posts in advance and post directly from Canva to your preferred social platform. 

Canva is a great tool for designing quality images materials without needing a degree in graphic design. You’d be amazed at how wonderful your creations can look, and you’ll have a ton of fun playing around with the possibilities. 

4. Questica

If you’re still relying on spreadsheets to track your yearly K12 budget, it’s time to move to a more advanced solution. Questica comes with a ton of features that will not only make your life easier but allow your K12 institution to thrive. Their Advanced Calculation Engine gives school districts the power to create complex revenue models, make detailed projections, and break down activity-based costs. With Questica, you won’t have to spend tons of time compiling data, either. Their Report Center breaks down actionable insights so you can spend your time analyzing the data and making better, more informed decisions regarding your budget. 

5. School Comms Lab

One thing K12 school communicators could use is more resources. After all, that’s why we wrote this blog post. But what’s even better than resources is a resources hub, likeSchool Comms Lab. A membership offers you tons of social media templates, vision board templates, marketing material templates, public relation courses, and design tips that will help keep your branding and messaging fun and engaging. 

6. Buffer

Social media can be a great place to communicate with students, parents, and school staff. Not to mention, social media is a great way to encourage school advocacy and create engagement among the community. 

Buffer’s social media publishing tool can help you maintain consistency in your social presence so you can reach your intended audience. The platform gives you the ability to schedule posts in advance on various social media channels. Publishing features aside; Buffer gives you access to data analytic reports so you can track how your social posts are performing, which see the most engagement, and compare month over month. 

K12 communicators need to be able to get as much done as possible, all while keeping faculty, parents, and other interested parties informed. It’s crucial nothing gets overlooked or neglected, which is why having a robust toolkit is essential. Make sure you check out the six recommended tools above so you can get more done and meet your goals.