Depending on where you live, the school year may be coming to a close in the next one or two weeks, or you may have a good month left before classes let out for the summer. Regardless, now is a critical time for your school or district's alumni outreach efforts, as it may be your last chance to get the names, email addresses and other information of your soon-to-be graduates.
This can be easy to forget as you're wrapping up the school year. This tends to be one of the busiest times of the year for district leaders, principals, teachers and support staff. However, by taking a few simple actions, you can add to your alumni list and ensure you maintain a strong connection with your new graduates starting right now.
At a minimum, we recommend getting seniors to provide their names, cell phone numbers and personal (not school) email addresses. Mailing addresses are nice, but not critical. If you already have an Alumni Nation established, you could include your school's nation branding on the sign-up sheet.
This is actually more effective than it was just a few years ago. Most high school students today have cell phones with numbers they're likely to maintain for the long term — if not the rest of their lives. The same goes for email addresses.
Below are some ways we are seeing schools collect this information in the days and weeks leading up to graduation:
- Set up a booth in the cafeteria with a sign-up sheet available during lunch hours
- Ask homeroom supervisors to encourage seniors to add their names to sign-up sheets
- Send an email (using their school accounts) to all seniors asking them to sign up for updates online
- Send a letter home to parents encouraging them to have their students sign up
- Ask them to sign up when receiving their cap and gowns
- Set up a booth at the graduation ceremony itself, encouraging new grads to sign up before they leave the building
While you should do everything you can to encourage seniors to provide you with their contact information, it's important to also respect their right to privacy. Signing up should not be mandatory.
One of the best ways to connect with alumni is by setting up an Alumni Nation of your own. Through this community, you can provide your alumni with news, updates, special events, directory, a job board and other resources that keep them engaged in the future of your schools.