At EverTrue we focus a lot on alumni engagement. One of the goals in these efforts is to build a tight community where everyone feels that their connection with their alma mater does not end after graduation but is also an extension of their life and work. With that in mind, have we thought enough about investing into this kind of relationship building even earlier? Perhaps, before the people we are trying to connect with actually become alumni? As a class agent from Williams College, I got an email last week that introduced me to a new campus tradition called “Ephpreciation,” a play on words of our athletic teams — The Ephs.
Ephpreciation is a new tradition starting this year at Williams that celebrates the ‘purple’ affection that Ephs have for everything that they do for each other. At this particular moment, it’s an opportunity for the Alumni Fund staff to help educate students about the incredible support that alumni and parents provide (time and gifts) which significantly contributes to their Williams experiences. In turn, the students are invited to sign the thank-you cards that are mailed to Alumni Fund donors, create online profiles, get their pictures taken with thank-you signage, etc.
I think this campaign is a brilliant way to initiate a relationship that goes both ways. Through those little but sincere thank-you cards, the campaign makes alumni feel good as they get big recognition for their generous contribution to the college. It also educates the student body to appreciate all the resources they enjoy in their education experience, and more importantly to give back and become contributors themselves after graduation. This is excactly the kind of investment I referred to at the beginning of this post.
Are you planning, or have you kicked off a campaign on your campus in a similar format? Let us know!