As most school districts across the country begin a new school year, one of the first big events is homecoming.
While homecoming is always a great time of the year and a memorable event for current students, what it's really about are your alumni. In fact, homecoming and the events surrounding it can give you an excellent opportunity to reach out to your former students and gather information that can be useful in future engagement efforts.
Making contact with alumni
There are many ways you can connect with your alumni during homecoming football games, parades, bonfires and other festivities, depending on how your school or district celebrates. Below are a few ideas:
Set up booths: At various homecoming events, set up a table or booth specifically for alumni. Have a registration form they can fill out to receive e-newsletters and other updates from you.
You may also consider creating mobile-friendly forms and sending event ticket confirmations by text message.
Raffles and contests: This is a great way to offer value to your audience. To win, alumni must provide their name and contact information, such as an email address and phone number. You can then use this information to communicate with your alumni on a regular basis after the contest is over.
Generate excitement: In the days leading up to your event, you should focus your content on encouraging alumni to participate. A great way to drive audience engagement is by creating a hashtag for your event and encouraging guests to post with that hashtag. Make sure that you are faithfully monitoring your social media accounts during events so that you can like, comment and repost alumni content.
The more engaged you are with the content your alumni and other attendees are posting, the more impactful your message will be to them.
Using alumni information
After homecoming has passed, use the information you gathered to move forward on a campaign that targets specific segments of your alumni audience. You can create targeted communications based on graduating class or higher education level to generate as much interest in your district's narrative as possible.
The days following homecoming is also an optimal time to find out what your alumni thought about your events. Send out a short email survey to let them know that you value their feedback. Then, you can use this information to ensure next year’s festivities are even better.
With a strategic, alumni-focused approach to homecoming season, you can make the most of the opportunity in front of you.