beTrue Bulletin: May 24, 2013

In this week’s bulletin we’re in awe of a visual annual report, considering new ways to think about alumni engagement, and hoping that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer delivers on her promise to keep moving forward the recently acquired blogging platform, Tumblr.

Making the Annual Report a Visual Story with Instagram

EverTrue wasn’t the only one contributing to the CASE blog this week, Cassie Dull, communications specialist at the Park Tudor School, published an awesome post on Calgary Zoo’s annual report. As she explains, the year-end report represents an opportunity for nonprofits to tell the story of their many accomplishments and to illustrate how their donors, volunteers and staff made it possible. This year, Calgary Zoo did something amazing with their annual report…“They used Instagram to present a visual story line of the zoo’s past year, its successes and even its financial reports.” As one clicks through the well thought-out (and sometimes adorable) photos “…the whole story of the zoo begins to unfold—from tourist attraction to community landmark to worldwide conservation outreach.” Aside from being visually captivating, using social media to create an annual report is huge cost saver over traditional print. This approach is truly innovative, and we agree that higher ed should take note! Take a look at the full report and Dull’s analysis of it here.


University Engagement: 5 New Ways to Think About Alumni Engagement

With the emergence of social media, the way we communicate has changed drastically in the past decade. Like everything else, alumni engagement tactics are evolving to keep pace with this constantly changing landscape. In a recent post, Jay Sharman, CEO and founder of TeamWorks Media, outlines 5 new ways to think about how to engage with alumni. His first piece of advice is to “think of the university as a media company.” Universities produce vast amounts of “content,” from guest lectures and performances, to multiple magazines and social channels. In most cases, there is no one dedicated to organizing, packing, and communicating this content to the intended audience.

Sharman warns engagement officers that their correspondence is assumed to be an ask for money, and recommends using the principle articulated in the old adage  “if you want money, ask for advice and if you want advice ask for money,” as a way to counter this assumption. Ultimately, he states that there is no one size fits all message as ‘the emotional engagement button is different between (and often within) generations.” Thus, outreach must be tailored to resonate with your target audience. Check out the full post here for tips on how to refocus alumni engagement at your institution.

Yahoo Buys Tumblr, Promises to Not ‘Screw it Up’

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made her biggest move to-date this week when she announced a $1.1 billion deal for blogging site Tumblr. Mayer disclosed the deal, which had been rumored since last week, through a Tumblr post of her own in an attempt to assure fans of the site that they need not panic. With nearly 300 million unique monthly visitors, Tumblr has captured a younger, active online user base and we love seeing institutions leverage this platform in engaging and hilarious ways. For many users, part of Tumblr’s appeal is based on the site remaining free of the traditional display advertising that brings billions of dollars a year to Yahoo. To quell concerns that Tumblr may soon be overrun with ads, Mayer and Tumblr CEO and founder David Karp have presented a united front–stating that Tumblr will be an independently operated as a separate business with Karp staying on as CEO. Mayer likened the deal to what she claims are the most successful tech acquisitions of the past, including Google’s purchase of YouTube and the purchase of PayPal by eBay–we’re hopeful that Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr will one day be considered in the same regard.

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