June 19th, 2012 | Posted in Membership Management
When I was “interviewed” by the admissions director of the high school I would eventually attend, he made it a point to ask me what I enjoyed. What are your hobbies? What sports do you like? How do you spend your downtime? I had to reach beyond the pat thirteen-year old answers of hanging out at the mall and talking on my phone. As I stumbled over a litany of what I thought were respectable, yet believable hobbies, he was furiously scribbling on his notepad. After I was done, he told me he asked because he wanted every student to be a part of the community. He didn’t want people to just enter the school, take classes and leave. He wanted the school to be better for having admitted each student. He understood the value behind individual contributions to community long before “building community” became the push it is today. Read the rest of this entry »
July 14th, 2010 | Posted in Uncategorized
Many schools look to educate and nurture the “whole” student — their minds, bodies and souls. They spend large amounts of time and money on designing the curriculum and activity offerings. But if you are focusing your online community around only your alumni, you could be missing a crucial opportunity for exchange and loyalty building.
1. Prospective students and parents – show this group what it’s like to attend your school. You can ply them with descriptive words on your website but nothing impresses a potential student like hearing from his peers. Play up blogs, encourage connecting, post scholarship and/or admissions information, entice them into your world. While this group is trying to decide whether they are going to fit in or not, don’t miss the opportunity to assuage their parents’ concerns or provide them with a community connection with current parents. After all, we’re all just looking for a place to belong.
2. Current students, faculty, staff – this is your institution’s current environment. Give faculty the tools to create their own pages, post materials, lead interest groups. Connect current students in a buddy/mentor program. Accept admissions applications online. Use bulk email to simplify communications and cut down on the expense of printed materials.
3. Alumni – keep their contact information up-to-date as they re-establish friendships though your community. You provide them with a safe and secure online community, one branded to you and in accordance with your mission and goals. Provide them with current information on your school and deepen the loyalty they have for you in general. Allow for career networking and job postings. Encourage referrals to both the community and admissions (after all, some day their children will be looking at schools).
When using an online community and membership management software for your entire school community, you not only benefit from consistent branding and a one-stop shop approach but your students, alum and faculty always know where to go. They don’t need to juggle/remember multiple URLs, emails addresses and logins. You’ve tried to make your school a place they can grow and reach their full potential. Shouldn’t your online school community reflect those same intentions?