This is a short work week in the United States, thanks to the annual Thanksgiving Holiday. So instead of laying a heavy trip on Alumni Futures' readers, I'll just share a few of the occasional alumni-related postings seen on Twitter. This isn't about "how to use Twitter for fundraising and alumni relations." It's just a couple of simple observations.
The theme connecting the tweets I have collected here is this:
Students and alumni have a preconceived idea about what alumni associations do, and our actions often don't match those preconceptions.For example, we often include students in alumni communication before they graduate. Students don't always expect (or want) to be invited to interact with alumni:
We help alumni and friends connect by forwarding contact requests (but not giving out contact info!). Alumni don't necessarily expect us to do this:
We email alumni with news, invitations, information and sometimes gift solicitations. They don't all have a warm, fuzzy feeling about alma mater:
We assume that our humanities grads are just as generous as our business or medicine grads, and so we ask them for money...especially if we have a championship basketball team!
We make people opt out:
And we ask for donations from recent grads, to encourage the "habit of giving," but many alumni equate student debt with immunity from requests for donations:
What we do must have value and relevance to their needs and to their interests. If we don't convey this clearly, they'll echo sentiments like this one:
Remember: perception matters.