Christopher Wren Association (CWA) is a well-established lifelong learning organization whose focus is on providing stimulating educational opportunities for Williamsburg residents over 50 years of age. Affiliated with the College of William & Mary, CWA has been an attraction to area seniors for over 19 years. Pritchard Volk Consulting was brought in to investigate a declining enrollment problem, initially framed as an advertising/marketing issue and potentially related to a down economy.
During a 6-week period in early 2013, Pritchard Volk Consulting took the board members and key stakeholders through an intense discovery and strategy process. Through the discovery process, we identified a number of factors contributing to declining enrollment. Untangling and addressing the root causes of the symptom was the emphasis of this effort.
PVC embarked upon a rapidly deployed study of the situation using a combination of workshops and personal interviews with key stakeholders. PVC also performed:
- A marketing audit,
- A SWOT analysis,
- Competitive and comparative analysis, and
- An organizational review.
The final deliverable for this fixed-price project was a strategic marketing plan with recommended tactics, plus a list of open questions to be addressed by the board as it plans for the future vitality of the organization. While the CWA board initially felt that the declining enrollment problem was related to the economy and lack of proper advertising, the process revealed a combination of issues including (but not limited to):
- Migration away from a print catalog
- Issues with the new online registration system,
- Lack of a full-time executive director, and
- Facilities issues.
The CWA board has already begun to take action on some of the revelations resulting from the process (including reinstatement of a print catalog) and held a series of retreats to address and prioritize the remaining issues. Reinstatement of the print catalog for the Fall 2013 semester resulted in better enrollment numbers than the organization had seen in three years.