Awards
New Program Initiatives: Arizona State University - Silver Award

Category 1G: Alumni Relations Programs – New Program Initiatives
Arizona State University
U Devils - Program for Faculty and Staff Members
Silver Award

Contact
Adeline Lui, Marketing Manager, ASU Alumni Association,
Arizona State University, P.O. Box 873702, Tempe, AZ 85287-3702
Tel: (602) 965-0755, e-mail: Adeline.lui@asu.edu

Staff Resources
One staff member was dedicated to the development and implementation of the program. Other association staff were called upon to assist in their areas of expertise - to solicit sponsors and prizes, to set up events, submit newspaper articles, design collateral, etc.

Description

  • To increase membership and participation in the Arizona State University Alumni Association among faculty and staff of ASU, a special program was created for this group.
  • The program comprised launching a name for the group (U Devils), a month-long launch followed by a yearlong series of activities, and a membership acquisition campaign.
  • Developed from an idea by association president Dr. Christine Wilkinson, the program did not have a budget allocated in advance, and was made possible almost entirely through donations, sponsorships and creative use of existing resources. The result - a 70 percent increase in membership - is a remarkable return on investment for very little money spent.

Audience

  • Arizona State University faculty and staff members who are also ASU Alumni Association members.
  • Faculty and staff members who are ASU alumni, but not yet alumni association members.

Objectives

  • Through the events and membership campaign, engage the university's faculty and staff members in the association's activities and create a sense of community within a very large university.
  • Increase membership among non-members in the faculty and staff.
  • Instill personal pride in being an ASU alumnus, employee and member of the association all in one.

Components of U Devils Program

1. Group name - U Devils
To set these people apart from regular members of the association and other university staff, a special name was created for the faculty and staff members of the ASU Alumni Association - the U Devils (ASU's mascot is the Sun Devil). The name is a convenient way to reference this group, and also creates pride in belonging to a group.

2. "U Devils Month" and Program Launch
U Devils was launched in March-April 2007 with a kick-off mixer in the association's headquarters and "U Devils Month." Every subsequent Wednesday in April was designated "U Devils Day" with an activity.

March 27 - Social Mixer and Launch
At this event, alongside the opportunity for members to network and socialize, we introduced the name and goals of U Devils. Explained the recruitment program and incentives. Signed-up volunteers for the membership and recruitment program (see below).

April 4 - Cupz Coffee Stop
Members were invited to stop by the association building on their way to work between 7:30-8:30 am to pick up complimentary coffee and pastry donated by Cupz Coffee.

April 11 ¬ Fairytale Brownie Hour
Fairytale Brownies provided complimentary brownies, pastries and coffee. Members were invited to take a mid-afternoon work break and come by the alumni building.

April 18 - The Great Lawn Picnic
A lovely spring day and green lawn with a bubbling fountain was free of charge. Members brought their own brown bag lunch and enjoyed an escape from the usual lunch routine. We provided a jazz quartet, tables, chairs, sodas, cookies and chips.

April 25 - U Lucky Devil Grand Prize Drawing
Through solicitations, we were able to obtain prizes like a hotel stay, class ring, gift certificates, etc. To enter for the drawing, one only needs to reply to the e-mail that was sent to them. Winners were announced the following week.

3. Membership Campaign
In conjunction with U Devils Month and the activities above, we also implemented a campaign to increase membership from the university's faculty and staff. Over 1500 letters were mailed out to the campus mailboxes of ASU alumni who were not association members. These letters were signed by members who worked in the same office, college or unit as the recipient.

Volunteer Recruiters
At the launch event and in all membership communications, we urged all existing members to help us recruit new members. Members could approach their colleagues themselves and/or agree to sign a letter addressed to non-members. We matched the member volunteers to the non-members by their offices, units or colleges, so that the signers were known to the recipients. Nothing works like gentle peer pressure.

·Incentive: U Devils shirt
For every two new members that joins, the member earns a U Devil Polo shirt that they could wear to work on Fridays and which showed their distinction. It turned out to be a highly coveted item and we had huge success in recruitment this way. We tracked the new members as they came in and the individuals who referred them. Participants were updated on their progress regularly.

Marketing and Communications
U Devils events were communicated through:

  • Invitation cards to the launch mixer.
  • E-mails to members, informing them of coming activities.
  • E-mails to non-members, inviting them to join the association and thus be able to participate in the coming activity. We included a link to join online.
  • Articles in Insight, the university employee newspaper.
  • Fliers mailed through campus mail.

Monthly Activities
Following the launch events, the rest of the year saw a U Devil activity occur about once every month. The activities were communicated entirely through e-mail.

  • May - Special member reception and ticket discount to "All Shook Up."
  • June - Discount and ticket drawing to the Cine Capri Pre-opening Charity Gala.
  • August - Drawing for tickets to a football luncheon with the coach.
  • September - Drawing for two free tickets to a Phoenix Symphony performance.
  • October - Drawing for two free tickets to a Hootie and the Blowfish concert.
  • October - All members receive tickets to the Homecoming football game.
  • December - Special member offer for Holiday Bowl tickets.
  • January - Discount and ticket drawing for "Camelot."
  • February - All members invited to pizza and basketball night.

Budget
With no budget allocated for this program, costs were kept low by utilizing free resources and having most items donated and sponsored. For example, all communications were sent through e-mail and campus mail which are free. All prizes, incentives and giveaways were obtained through donations or sponsorships. Total cash outlay by the association for a full year's programming came in under $2000, mainly for printing and food costs.

The Numbers
Total faculty and staff members of association at start of program: 319
Total faculty and staff members of association after one year: 543
New faculty and staff members after one year: 224
Total faculty and staff, alumni non-members of association at start of program: 1610
Response rate of membership campaign: 14%

Results

  • In the first 3 months of the program, during the membership campaign, 143 new members from the university's faculty and staff joined the association, an increase of 45 percent in U Devil membership.
  • In the following 9 months, new members continued to join the association, even after the membership campaign had ended, fueled by positive word of mouth. Total new members after 12 months was 224, representing a 70 percent growth in membership as a result of this program, and response rate of 14% among non-member alumni.
  • Eighty members, out of the initial 319 members, recruited one new member or more, representing the participation of about 25 percent of the members in recruiting, a reflection of their satisfaction with the program and the association.