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University of Oxford Alumni Office (UOAO) Communications and Events Branch Officers’ Meeting Alumni Weekend in North America, April 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "University of Oxford Alumni Office (UOAO) Communications and Events Branch Officers’ Meeting Alumni Weekend in North America, April 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 University of Oxford Alumni Office (UOAO) Communications and Events Branch Officers’ Meeting Alumni Weekend in North America, April 2014

2 Structure of the Session Communications Communicating effectively with your membership Effective use of e-media and social media Other ideas Events Potential goals Characteristics of attractive events Metrics and defining success Case Studies and Lessons Learnt Good practice across the branch network Tips for running successful events

3 Membership mailings The North American Office can facilitate bulk email recruitment drives for new members or distribute a mass email to publicise a particularly important event One week’s notice is required for mailings Or, the North American Office can provide you with data to undertake your own mailing

4 Who are you and why are you contacting me? Even when communicating with existing members of your group, you need to make sure that it is clear: Why they are being communicated with How they can opt-out from hearing from you Don’t forget to use the new logo to identify yourselves as an official group

5 Email statistics Can you guess what the numbers are? 294,000,000,000 78% 19% Number of emails sent every day Percentage considered to be spam Percentage of your email that is read

6 Getting more from your emails Consider the who, what, where, when and why of each communication: Different age ranges may require a different approach Consider your subject line Interesting and relevant content Call-to-action Personal email or a work email address Day and time

7 Jumping on the social media bandwagon... Simple to use and free Your audience is probably already there Content is key Share the load Promote through your other channels

8 Other ideas for promoting your group Set up Facebook and LinkedIn accounts Inform the North American and Alumni Offices about your events The North American and Alumni Offices can promote alumni group events through their websites, social media channels and OT Extra Arrange Freshers’ Parties – these will be the next generation of alumni group members Publicise group events in local media

9 Some further resources Test how your subject line will look across a range of clients: Most recipients will only read 19% of your email. Make that 19% stand-out: email-newsletters-short-and-sweet/ email-newsletters-short-and-sweet/

10 Alumni Group Events: The Wider Context The cornerstone of most branch programmes Need to be viewed as part of a wider engagement strategy ‘experiencing’ rather than just hearing from the University developing relationships and creating a sense of community Alignment with the University’s wider strategic goals

11 Branch Events: Possible Goals Keeping alumni connected with the University wherever they may be Helping retain existing members and attract new members Promoting Oxford as a world-class institution Helping current students achieve their potential by providing networking opportunities, internships, etc. Identifying and cultivating other key volunteers for your group, and the wider University

12 Types of Events Academic events Cultural events Careers / Professional Networking Events Sporting events Family-orientated events Freshers’ parties Schools’ outreach events Social gatherings Collaborative events, i.e. with other university groups

13 Characteristics of Attractive Alumni Events: Tailored to the market (profile, location, cost) The importance of content Adding value in an era of accessible networking The alumni connection with Oxford is mainly intellectual The attraction of unusual places / unique venues Incorporating an element of exclusivity

14 Metrics and Evaluation: Quantitative Attendee numbers Demographic profile of attendees (location, age, gender) Proportion of attendees who were new Proportion of attendees who were invited Proportion who gave feedback Additions to branch membership Feedback from a post-event survey. Questions such as: Why did they attend? Pre-event info – helpful? Catering Highlights? Internal feedback (from Committee members) Qualitative


16 Case Study : North American Office The Oxford Alumni Association of New York (OAANY) had only been running monthly happy hours. While the happy hours were successful, the committee wanted to organize an event that allowed for more networking and felt a bit more exclusive. The group now holds 3-4 Young Alumni Networking Breakfasts a year featuring a prominent, well-established Oxonian who speaks about his/her experience at Oxford and how it shaped his/her career today.

17 Case Study : Lessons Learnt After the first breakfast, all of the events have gone to maximum capacity (group capped at 20 to allow everyone to meet everyone and have time to speak to the speaker). The industry focus of the breakfast changes each time (law, finance, publishing, journalising) but the attendees around the table are not only interested in that area.

18 Other Case Studies The Oxford and Cambridge Societies of Benelux Reunion Weekend (80 attendees) Use of committee contacts; exclusive venues; play to strengths of region Ambitious programming/ detailed organisation ‘Academic’/ Intellectual events OUS South Australia: Recent speaker event with Prof Steve Rayner Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia: ‘Small Bites, Big Ideas’ 20 minute discussions with light supper and speaker Nostalgic events reinforcing Oxford connections Australian Capital Territory (ACT) group: May Morning event

19 SHARING EXPERIENCES: What type of events have been successful for your group …… and why?

20 Tips for running successful events Provide a variety of events to attract people of different interests, ages – and budgets Advantages of having a Committee to share responsibility for the events programme BUT have an Event Manager for each individual event so there is a lead organiser/ decision-maker (ideally with relevant interests) Provide clear pre-event information Ideally factor in long lead times for promotion and marketing

21 Tips for running successful events Maximise existing connections within the group to access unusual venues, exclusive spaces and high-profile speakers The importance of evaluation – being seen to listen to your audience and adapt your event(s) accordingly Use the North American and Alumni Office events programmes for insights and ideas Share good practice with other groups

22 Learning from your peers – internal communications tools Group email list LinkedIn group Prime Mover

23 Resources and Support The Volunteer Handbook - new North American edition now available!

24 Resources and Support Oxford Alumni Networks Logo For use by officially-recognised regional groups Can be customised for each group The Alumni website The Alumni Networks blog The Alumni Events calendar (lists many branch events) OT Extra (monthly e-bulletin) Branch Officers’ e-Newsletter (Networks News) Annual Update Survey Report Alumni Networks Directory

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