This fall many schools and parishes are hosting homecoming festivities which are a fun way for students, parents and parishioners to show their parish pride! As the name implies, homecoming is also a time to invite former students and parish members back to campus to keep them connected to you and your mission.
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to share details about your upcoming homecoming. Alumni are an important constituent who can help you advance your mission. Keeping them engaged in your organization can have significant payoff in the long run which is why they should already be part of your fundraising strategy playbook. Here’s a quick game plan to help you tackle this initiative during homecoming:
- Create a special invite for alumni encouraging them to come back for homecoming festivities. Distribute via traditional channels (bulletin, flyers at local establishments, local newspaper, email if you have that info, etc.) as well as socially on popular social sites.
- If you haven’t done so already, create an alumni Facebook group and include details on how to join the group in your homecoming alumni invite. You can use this group as a way to publicize homecoming events and so much more year round! Share news of the site with existing parish and school members and ask them to share with alumni they know.
- Engage alumni ambassadors to help spread the news and get their classmates to attend homecoming.
Now that you’ve spread the word, on game day:
- Have parish/school members staff a highly visible alumni table where attendees are encouraged to check in. Use the face-to-face greeting as a time to collect up-to-date email, phone and address information (use an ipad for quick and easy data collection) so you can add them to your ongoing communications outreach. Be sure to encourage them to join your alumni Facebook Group. Create signage with the group name for easy reference.
- Tap into alumni nostalgia and connection to the school. Consider selling school spirit wear or car magnets so alumni can show their pride. Use GiveCentral Go to collect sales on the spot! Designate a project or program that money collected will support.
- During halftime, make an announcement welcoming alumni and inviting them onto the field for special recognition.
In the week following homecoming, be sure to use the data you collected and send personal thank you notes to alumni who participated in homecoming activities. Leveraging homecoming is a great way to kick-start or invigorate your alumni relations plan which should already be part of your fundraising strategy.