What does the modern school system look like? Technology is empowering many school districts today to explore paperless and cashless initiatives by offering digital options for fees, forms, and communication.
Reducing paper and cash use helps school districts to align with mobile communication and payment preferences, to increase operational efficiency, to save on the cost of supplies, and to become more eco-friendly. This article covers four essential steps for becoming a paperless and cashless school district, from gaining stakeholder buy-in to weighing vendor options.
- Gain Buy-in From Stakeholders
- Weigh the Vendor Options
- Look for Specific Features
- Plan for Implementation
1. Gain Buy-in From Stakeholders
Gaining buy-in from all of the important stakeholders and decision-makers, such as teachers, staff, parents, and district administrators, is one of the most critical steps to becoming a paperless and cashless district. To aid in the buy-in process, convey the impact on school culture and the amount of current manpower wasted due to manual work and inefficient processes. This opens the door to highlight the potential for improving efficiency across the entire school district with the help of a digital payment and engagement solution.
In addition to reducing the district’s carbon footprint, schools can realize immediate cost savings by reducing or eliminating paper usage. With estimates that K-12 schools spend an average of $50,000 a year on paper and ink costs, this benefit alone might be enough to make a strong case for becoming a paperless and cashless district.
2. Weigh the Vendor Options
The next step toward going paperless and cashless is to identify the features that are most important in a digital solution and find the vendor partners who can best meet those needs. Assess school district needs and goals, and compare the different vendors before making a selection. To ensure those needs are met, consider that a school-driven solution with more than 20 years working in parent engagement and compliance like ActivityRight will likely be a better fit than a startup with no experience in the industry.
3. Look for Specific Features
A big part of weighing the different vendor options is looking for specific features and functions that will aid in going paperless and cashless. Some of the primary features to look for include:
- Overall ease of use
- Integration with student information systems (SIS) and accounting software
- Automated approval workflows
- Secure digital payments options
- Parent and family communications
- Customizable digital form builder
- Exceptional customer support
- Mobile-friendly platform
4. Plan for Implementation
Implementing a new digital solution is never easy—but the more that school staff can learn about the vendor implementation process, the smoother the process will be. Develop a detailed implementation plan to avoid unwelcome surprises, ease the transition, reduce the number of IT troubleshooting requests, and encourage strong user adoption across the district.
Also ask questions about the processes for system integration, user training, and customer support, because these will all be key in ensuring that implementation is as seamless as possible. One option for easing the integration period is to roll out slowly over time to give schools a chance to observe the new solution, test out how the solution works, and provide feedback to administrators.
Taking these steps is essential to becoming a paperless and cashless school district—but there are still more important details to consider before doing so. Download our free guide, How to Help Your Organization Become a Cashless School System, to learn more about the K-12 trends driving the paperless and cashless movements, the benefits of going paperless and cashless, and the steps to making the transition.