I don’t know about you, but when the magazine comes from my high school or my college, the first thing I do is flip to the back to see who from my class (or neighboring classes) submitted an update. Granted, this was a little more fun before the days of Facebook sending us regular updates, but there’s still something about seeing names in print that feels special.
But with alumni now staying in touch with each other via social media outlets, are class notes still a vital part of our alumni outreach? Some folks are saying no; these tiny updates aren’t worth the pages they are printed on, but this marketer disagrees. Call me old-fashioned, but I say, heck yeah! Class notes are worth their weight in gold.
Over on the Student Center blog for Cheshire Academy, I wrote about 10 Ways to Use Class Notes to Build Alumni Relationships. Now, I won’t repeat all ten tips, but what I will say is that a good alumni officer can leverage even the simplest class note update from a graduate to develop and cultivate a relationship that lasts a lifetime. All too often, I see schools simply accept a class note and publish it in the magazine, yet no human interaction takes place.
If you’re out to coffee with an alumna and she tells you that she got a new job, would you simply write a note to yourself and then get up and leave?
Imagine if you treated a class note submission like a conversation … think about it. If you’re out to coffee with an alum and they tell you that they got a new job, would you simply take a note and then get up and leave? Of course not! You’d congratulate them, ask for details about the job, what it means to them, how their life may change. You might offer advice on places to live or other alumni to connect with in the same field, or you might invite them to join a regional alumni association if the job requires a move. Whatever you talk about, you’d surely have an exciting and engaging conversation.
So why would you treat a class note submission differently than that? Even a quick email reply that says, “Congrats on the new job! Tell me more …” will go a long way with developing a stronger connection and making your alumni feel valued by the school. Check out the article for more tips on how to use class notes to build strong connections.