Remember when MySpace first hit the scene? It was a brand new forum for communication, allowing organizations of every type to reach and connect with a seemingly limitless number of people. That was nearly a decade ago, and to say social media has exploded since then would be an understatement. Still, so many organizations aren’t yet using venues like Facebook to their fullest potential.
For schools, this creates a huge missed opportunity. If you find yourself relying on newsletters and annual drives to keep your alumni engaged in supporting your institution, learn what you could be accomplishing with the right social media strategy.
Fresh Content as Often as Possible
Donation drives will likely still be the bread and butter of your school’s alumni fundraising efforts. What social media avenues offer is an opportunity to always be on the minds of past students, and to make that relationship something that still feels tangible to them after years out of the classroom. How do you do this?
Visual content is a great method. Post photos and videos from your school’s activities, or have students create their own graphics to share about things they’ve learned or how they feel about their school. These visual connections are almost guaranteed to prompt nostalgia among your alumni, and those warm feelings can translate into donations when the time comes.
Don’t overload your feed with every little detail, and be aware that finding the right balance could take some time, but if you are connecting with your school’s supporters at least once a day, you are keeping those positive memories fresh.
Ask for Help . . . Wait, What?
This is one of the most innovative approaches I’ve ever seen. A couple of schools I follow on Facebook have done it, and the shares of these posts go through the roof. Am I talking about a donation ask? Of course not. You’re already doing that. The help you want to ask for comes in the form of ideas and opinions.
“Any suggestions for our Homecoming theme this year?”
“We’re creating food waste reduction program in our cafeteria.
How would you get students involved?”
“Vote for our new marching band uniforms!”
See the tactic here? People are often hesitant to part with their money, but rarely are they unwilling to share their opinions and thoughts. The effects of this type of post are twofold:
• People will comment and share, spreading your organization’s name and message to an even broader network.
• Alumni still feel involved in the day-to-day goings on at your school. The connection remains tangible.
As with other alumni engagement posts, don’t overdo it. Slide these types of posts in once every couple of weeks or so to get the maximum impact without making your supporters feel like they are doing all of the thinking for you.
Back it up with Sincerity
Your alumni are smart and savvy. You made sure of that. Don’t underestimate them and don’t make them feel like they are the target of some sort of gimmick. Instead, be sincere in your passion for learning and improving your school. That passion will be infectious, and will result in increased results for your alumni fundraising efforts.
Blackbaud’s Raisers Edge give the tools you need to increase accountability and diversify your alumni advancement. Blackbaud’s alumni management and fundraising software helps you easily communicate with alumni online through popular social media web sites. Blackbaud offers powerful and comprehensive school management software for every administrative function of a K-12 school. Managing an independent school is much easier for teachers and administrators with Blackbaud school solutions, allowing more time to focus on the core mission of educating students.