TRANSITIONING TO A MULTI CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS PLATFORM
MSP execs presented to a packed room of alumni relations and development officers at a State University of New York (SUNY) Conference on June 5th. While the focus of the event was obviously geared toward higher education, much of the conversation was relevant to hospital foundations and not-for-profit organizations as well.
Following were the key segments of the discussion:
• What’s changed with alumni and donor bases and why higher ed institutions need to capitalize on the new opportunities
• How to create and execute a sustainable “interactive communications plan”
• Why a phased in approach is the best way proceed
• Rendering direct mail interactive
• Deploying social media
• Social media specifics for “Young Alums”
• Implementing a “Digital Ambassadors” program
• Optimizing trustee involvement
• Mobile opportunities and strategy
• Optimizing events
• Utilization of a “Cross Media Strategy Checklist”
Throughout the 90-minute presentation, a shared concern was how to involve the donor and prospect “in the conversation.”
Meg Bernier of St Lawrence University emphasized this concern and illustrated how SLU has successfully integrated its existing student population in the content generation process. The addition of the student perspective dramatically increased participation with high school student prospects as well as the alumni community.
Nick Grimmer of SUNYIT’s development office is in the initial phases of launching its inaugural “Digital Ambassadors” program. This is an outreach campaign in which existing donors volunteer as digital advocates to help the school find lost alumni and re-involve lapsed donors.
These types of initiatives, if well executed, can be very successful. UWF in Florida recently launched its first Digital Ambassadors program. In a short time it has resulted in commitments from close to 30 alumni to join in the effort.
If the SUNY conference was any indicator, clearly higher ed is beginning to embrace this new frontier as many institutions are embracing multi channel communication strategies AND reaping the benefits.