For years, real estate companies and realtors have known that an open house for physical viewing makes a property more attractive to purchase. Letting a visitor picture himself in a house sets the scene of what living there would really be like and helps remove questions. In addition, viewing a property helps a visitor justify or rationalize the cost of the purchase.

Likewise, this concept can be applied to your Christian school to attract potential parents! Building credibility and interest for your school, an open house is the perfect setting for showing interested parties your school's best features. Maybe you recently remodeled classrooms or constructed a building addition, or perhaps you simply want people to meet your dedicated teachers. No matter your reason, an open house can create local buzz in your community and attract parents who haven't considered enrolling their children in your school.

Not sure where to start planning? Here are five easy steps to help your Christian school organize a successful open house for prospective parents:

1. Pinpoint a Day
Be sure to pick a date for your school's open house that works with potential parents' schedules. Most people work during the day, so pick a date and time on a weekend or weeknight when parents can actually attend your event. Also, make sure you select a date that doesn't conflict with an important community event or your school's schedule.

2. Spread the Word
Next, get the word out about your event! Have students make hand-made invitations or create flyers for local church bulletin inserts and locations with high traffic areas like grocery stores, community centers, post offices, and local businesses. Also, send an announcement to local area newspapers or newsletters, or even make a print ad with your students' help. In addition, you could hold a refer-a-friend contest for parents and students already enrolled at your school and offer a prize to those who help the most friends enroll. Plus, don't forget to advertise online! Add open house information to your school's website, emails, and newsletter, as well as Facebook and Twitter. You can even advertise on Google and Yahoo!®, so your ad will appear when people look online for local Christian schools in your community.

3. Stage the Event
Once you set a date and spread the word, it's time to plan your activities. Schedule a meeting to brainstorm with parents, teachers, and students about what you can do. Great ideas come from everyone. A practical to-do list includes repairing any major flaws at your school and cleaning areas that need attention. After all, first impressions are important. Parents will notice if walls need to be painted or the front door is broken. Also, de-clutter classrooms and clean the windows. For wall decorations, students' pictures can be displayed, and students can even make classroom decorations for the event. Teachers can also create "about me" bulletin boards.

4. Set a Schedule and Follow It
Decide on a schedule of events. Make sure the length of each scheduled item accommodates busy parents. A registration line is a great way to ensure you gather valuable contact information, so you can follow up with attendees. Then, set up a meet and greet area in the front of your school, where teachers, administrators, and staff can introduce themselves to prospective parents. Offer tours of your school and facilities from current parents or students, so they can be a walking testimonial! Also, include a presentation with visual aids to explain the features and benefits of your school. Show parents your school's cutting-edge approach to learning by demonstrating the Switched-On® curriculum from Alpha Omega Publications®. In addition, allow parents to ask questions after your presentation. Finally, end with a mix-and-mingle time, so parents can chat with teachers, current parents, and administration. Keep this setting casual and offer baked goods, coffee, and juice.

5. Seal the Deal
End the open house by thanking parents for attending and handing out a special brochure or flyer. Make sure parents go home with the information they need to easily get in touch with you and an incentive to enroll. You'll know the event was a success when parents walk out of your school with a smile on their faces. After the event, make sure to promptly contact attendees to follow up and answer any questions they have.

Most importantly, remember that your Christian school exists to reach more families for the glory of the Lord. Don't pass up a great opportunity to showcase your Christian school's best features. Start making plans for your school's next open house today!