Graduation is always an exciting time for high schools. There’s so much to be done in a short amount of time, and school staff members spend weeks helping seniors prepare for their big day.
However, during this busy time, it is important to remember that this could be the best opportunity you will ever have to ask your future alumni for their contact information. This includes students’ personal email addresses—rather than their soon-to-be-discontinued school accounts. Taking these steps now can save your school or district considerable time, energy and money in your future alumni engagement efforts.
But how can you ensure you get as many graduates as possible to sign up? It may require a multifaceted approach. The following are five effective methods you can use:
1. Make it official: Ideally, joining your school’s Alumni Nation would be part of the rite of passage that comes with graduation. Once students have signed up, consider providing them with a certificate indicating they have become official members.
2. Coordinate with the class president or reunion committee: Most students will want to stay informed of class reunions—a task that often falls on a student council committee or class president. Work with these students to make sure as many graduates as possible sign up for both reunion information and your school’s Alumni Nation.
3. Engage them when giving out diplomas: Many high schools do not actually give students their diplomas when they walk on stage. Rather, students go to the school office or cafeteria after the ceremony to get their official document. If your school uses this process, leverage this opportunity with a link to an automated sign-up form they can fill out on their cell phone, or provide a sign-up sheet students must complete before receiving their diplomas.
4. Provide free transcripts: If your school is able to do so, offer your graduates one free version of their official high school transcripts, so long as they provide their contact information and personal email address.
5. Offer some SWAG: Whether it’s a water bottle, tote bag, stickers or another trinket, you can provide students with something of value in exchange for signing up to your Alumni Nation. You may also customize these items to promote your nation, including its website and social media.
In addition to email addresses, you might consider collecting students’ cell phone numbers and Twitter handles (if they have them). Regardless of your approach, be sure to take advantage of what will perhaps be your last chance to engage future alumni before they move on to the next stage in their lives.