As a childcare business owner, you play a crucial role in the development and well-being of future generations. However, this essential industry often faces challenges like low reimbursement rates, insufficient funding, and increased competition. In fact, according to a report, many childcare centers across the country faced temporary or permanent closures due to the public health crisis, financial strain, and staffing challenges. A survey by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in July 2020 found that 40% of the childcare providers surveyed believed they would close permanently without additional public assistance. The survey also revealed that 86% of respondents were serving fewer children than before the pandemic, resulting in a significant loss of revenue. Another report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) in August 2020 estimated that about 4.5 million childcare slots could be permanently lost due to the pandemic, reducing the overall childcare capacity in the United States by 50%.
It is important to note that the data mentioned above is from 2020, and the situation has evolved since then. Some childcare centers have reopened, while others continue to face challenges. The long-term impact of the pandemic on the childcare industry in the USA is still unfolding, and more recent data and studies may provide additional insights. To ensure the growth and success of your childcare business, it’s important to engage in advocacy efforts that will lead to positive change. In this post, we’ll explore 10 data-backed strategies to help you become a powerful advocate and increase profitability for your childcare business.
- Understand the Current Landscape Before you begin advocating, research the current state of the childcare industry, including reimbursement rates, payment rates, and government funding. For instance, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), only 7% of early childhood education programs meet the highest quality standards. Understanding these statistics will allow you to create a strong foundation for your advocacy efforts and enable you to speak with authority when discussing issues.
- Develop Your Advocacy Message Craft a clear and compelling message highlighting the importance of quality childcare services, the challenges your business faces, and the need for increased funding and support. Focus on the benefits of investing in childcare, such as improved child development, workforce productivity, and economic growth. A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that every dollar invested in early childhood education generates $7.30 in economic benefits.
- Join Professional Organizations Connect with other childcare business owners and industry professionals by joining local, state, or national organizations such as the NAEYC, the Child Care Aware of America, or the Early Care and Education Consortium. These groups can provide valuable resources, networking opportunities, and support in your advocacy efforts.
- Collaborate with Stakeholders Build partnerships with parents, educators, and community leaders who share your passion for quality childcare. A First Five Years Fund survey showed that 84% of American voters believe that affordable, high-quality childcare is a critical issue facing our nation. Working together, you can create a united front to advocate for change and amplify your message.
- Educate Policymakers and Legislators Reach out to your local, state, and federal representatives to share your concerns and recommendations. A report by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) found that childcare workers in 40 states would need to spend over half their income to afford center-based care for their own children. Provide them with data and testimonials demonstrating the value of childcare services and the need for increased support.
- Utilize social media and Online Platforms to Raise awareness and engage with a larger audience by sharing your advocacy message on social media, your business website, and relevant online forums. For example, the #ChildCareForAll campaign on Twitter has gained significant traction in raising awareness of the childcare crisis in America.
- Organize and Attend Events Host or participate in local events, conferences, and workshops to connect with others in the childcare industry and promote your advocacy message. Annual events like the NAEYC Public Policy Forum or the Child Care Aware of America Symposium provide opportunities to network, learn from industry experts, and gain valuable insights into advocacy strategies.
- Publish Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor Submit opinion pieces and letters to your local newspapers and online publications to raise awareness about the importance of childcare and the challenges your business faces. A compelling op-ed in The Washington Post by the president of Child Care Aware of America, for example, highlighted the urgent need for increased childcare funding and helped shape public opinion.
- Leverage the Power of Storytelling Share your experiences, challenges, and successes as a childcare business owner through blog posts, videos, or podcasts. For example, NPR’s Life Kit podcast features stories from childcare providers, discussing the importance of early education and its challenges. This can help humanize the issues you advocate for and create a deeper connection with your audience.
- Monitor and Evaluate Your Advocacy Efforts Track the progress of your advocacy campaigns and use data and feedback to adjust your strategies as needed. Continuously refining your efforts will help maximize your impact and increase the likelihood of achieving your goals. The Child Care Data Center, a project by Child Care Aware of America, offers resources for tracking policy changes and measuring the success of advocacy efforts.
Advocacy is a powerful tool for childcare business owners to create positive change and increase profitability. By implementing these data-backed strategies, you can play a vital role in shaping the future of the childcare industry and ensuring its success.
At PREto3, we understand the importance of advocacy in the childcare sector, and we’re here to help you succeed. Our platform offers tools, resources, and support to help childcare businesses thrive in an increasingly competitive market. Join our community today and discover how PREto3 can empower your advocacy efforts and help grow your business.
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1. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (2020). Holding On Until Help Comes: A Survey Reveals Child Care’s Fight to Survive.
2. Center for American Progress (CAP). (2020). The Coronavirus Will Make Child Care Deserts Worse and Exacerbate Inequality.