Transitioning to the Digital Era
Alumni volunteers serve as useful representatives for a university and college, helping to plan and coordinate events, programs and initiatives. Opportunities vary by school, but when it comes to volunteering, institutions should follow two simple ideas: make it easy and recognize volunteers. In this brief, Corporate Insight presents four best practices on alumni volunteerism, drawing from our Alumni Monitor Updates, which tracks 45 schools from a wide range of endowment sizes.
School must employ magazines as an effective method of outreach to alert alumni and supporters about recent news, upcoming events and sparking increased donations. This report examines the hard-copy magazines available for eight schools covered by the Alumni Monitor coverage group.
Create Well-Designed Graphics: Make Infographics Clean and Simple Colleges and universities must design infographics in an easily digestible manner where alumni can clearly read the content and limit the amount of scrolling to view the entire graphic. Professional, well-designed graphics capture a reader’s attention.Keep Branding in Mind: Incorporate School Logos and Colors The most effective infographics incorporate school colors, logos or other recognizable features. When readers scan the infographic, the colors and logos should easily help identify the school publishing the graphic and draw an association that is both familiar and professional. This brief showcases five infographics from universities within the Alumni Monitor cover group.
Twitter is not only a powerful tool for discussion and interaction, but a vital marketing role for universities to engage with valuable, tech-savvy consumers in real time. This report examines current best practices for how colleges can use Twitter to reach and engage alumni and offers implementable recommendations to improve Twitter presences and social media initiatives for alumni.
Improve Ease of Use: Pre-Fill Form Fields The most effective online giving forms pre-fill donor information to create an efficient experience. Schools must follow this practice to maximize the effectiveness of their giving forms.Security Matters: Add a User or Site Verification Element University websites should offer Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) or user authentication verification software (e.g., reCaptcha) to assure donors that their websites are safe and secure.Create a Seamless Donation Process: Use Progress Meters and Responsive Design Donors should experience a direct, effortless giving process on any mobile or desktop device. Schools should include a range of standard features, including breadcrumbs, progress meters, expandable sections, lightboxes and responsive design. This research examines effective giving form practices.
Social media has grown from an afterthought to a key component in alumni outreach, allowing schools to reach out and stay in touch with their graduates. Facebook offers a flexible outlet for alumni outreach and development offices to reach their university communities. This white paper examines the best practices in Facebook-based alumni outreach.
The rapid change of communications offers opportunities and threats to the future of alumni magazines. The most effective magazines inform, entertain and engage readers of all audiences. All supporters, not just alumni, should have the option to subscribe to the print publication. This Alumni Monitor report reviews nine hard-copy magazines with an emphasis on design and availability, content, promotions and advertisements.
Key to an Effective Email: Make it Beautiful and Keep it Simple Every college and university must use the first (and still primary) digital messaging tool, email, to reach alumni. The best and most well-crafted emails not only break through the clutter of modern inboxes, but the email design and content differ between schools.Subject Lines Matter, Be Clear and Concise The world moves quickly, and people feel their time is valuable. Emails offering clear subject lines and succinct communications that deliver their message are most effective. This brief examines effective email content and design practices for six school covered by the Alumni Monitor coverage group.
Create a One-Stop Shop: Integrate Private Alumni Site into Main Site The most effective alumni websites not only offer an online alumni community or platform but integrate the private features and resources into the main alumni site, which is publicly accessible.Responsive Design Matters: Improve Multi-Platform Device Usage Responsively-designed websites are necessary to provide an optimal viewing experience for users, as the design feature reduces the need to resize screens and unnecessary scrolling. This brief examines alumni association website design best practices.