How to Activate Your Alumni Community

The Hester Family at Bar Harbor on the Maine Stop on the Tour

The Hester Family at Bar Harbor on the Maine Stop on the Tour

An Interview with Karla Hester of the Christendom College Alumni Association

In 2016, as the College was approaching its 40th birthday, and with approximately 3,000 alumni around the world, a group of alumni decided it was an ideal time (long overdue) to establish an Alumni Advisory Council. Their goal - build the alumni community and provide them with the resources and support through programs promoting alumni networking and giving, and by responding to the needs of alumni in their present situations. 

Karla Hester, the Chair of the Advisory Council, having heard that InGo was known for building and expanding communities, worked with InGo to form a plan to use a series of events in major cities in the United States and Canada in June and July to build this network. The plan was a great success and Christendom is so excited by the results, they are in the process of installing InGo for their Homecoming events. Sean from InGo caught up with Karla after the Summer Tour was complete to chat about how it went.

Sean:  Hi, Karla.  Congratulations on completing the Summer Alumni Tour!  
Karla: Thanks! 26 events in 21 states and 2 Canadian Provinces, it was a great summer. 

Sean: What was your biggest challenge going into this project?
Karla: That’s easy, outdated information. At the beginning of this project, we had primarily only been doing physical mailings to reach alumni and keeping an accurate list like that is nearly impossible. Plus, our email list consisted of just a Yahoo Group. In short, our data was full of old information. 

Sean: What made you turn to InGo?
Karla: We knew that social media is the way the world communicates and knew if we wanted to get our alumni networked, that was the place to do it. But building social profiles and trying to reach our community the traditional way was just not working.

Sean: How did InGo help?
Karla: InGo allowed us to use the handful of alumni we were in contact with to reach others in their social networks. Installing InGo on our Summer Tour made it simple for alumni after alumni to share the news about the Tour and the new Council to other alum they were connected to on social. The effect grew exponentially until we had doubled our number of Facebook followers within the first month, as well as saw a 30% rise in our LinkedIn numbers! We were even able to start and grow our Twitter presence. Most importantly, the data we gained helped us to refresh our aging contact list.

Sean: What single piece of advice would you give other alumni organizations?
Karla: Don’t discount social media as an amazing tool, not just to get your message out, but to connect your community in a way other marketing methods just can’t. Use it properly and it can be your greatest asset. Sure, your entire database is not going to be on social media, but in many instances we brought members of this database into social media as well through our marketing campaign with InGo.