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Communities, Social Media & Alumni

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CASE members and staff share interviews, case studies and commentary on topics of interest to advancement professionals.

Preconference Workshop: Developing Management Skills for Gift Officers
Conference Preconference Workshop: Developing Management Skills for Gift Officers

Social Media and Community
Conference Developed by leading practitioners, this immersion into the latest developments in social media offers real-world, ready to implement tactics for communications and engagement. The two-track structure provides introductory education for those who desire it and advanced content for those with more experience.

Preconference Workshop: Crafting a Social Media Strategy
Conference Is Twitter the right way to send your message? What about Facebook?This workshop will help you develop a strategy for choosing the right social media option for very specific communication purposes.

Preconference Workshop: Digital Campaign Planning
Conference Preconference Workshop: Digital Campaign Planning

Preconference Workshop: Social on the Go!
Conference Preconference Workshop: Social on the Go!

A Narrative View
CURRENTS Article Whether it's to honor loyal donors and volunteers, showcase alumni achievements, build trust and intimacy within your community, or tap into nostalgia, telling alumni stories can be a powerful way to engage and enlighten your graduates. But alumni stories don't have to just be profiles in the back of the university's magazine. They can take many shapes and serve different purposes.

Yep, This Is a Virtual Event
CURRENTS Article From class reunions to networking, more and more universities are getting savvy at hosting virtual events. Here's how eight institutions are doing it right.

Refining, Prioritizing, Expanding: Social Media and Advancement in 2015
White Paper This white paper reports on findings from the sixth survey of social media in advancement, conducted by CASE, Huron Education and mStoner. Nearly 1,000 CASE members provided feedback on their use of social media. Featured is advice on how to hold an effective giving day or crowdfunding campaign, including examples from CASE member institutions.

Social Media Policies
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of social media policy samples for all CASE members.

There’s Something About Mary
CURRENTS Article More than 175 years after founding Massachusetts' Mount Holyoke College, Mary Lyon is everywhere. OK, it's not actually Lyon. It's a cutout image, part of a fundraising campaign called FebruMary in honor of Lyon's birth month.

Pass or Fail?
CURRENTS Article In response to a negative Facebook post, Jessica White, a 2007 U of M grad who serves on the Dean's Young Alumni Council, writes a blog post explaining that all alumni gifts matter.

Learning to Lose Control
CURRENTS Article As alumni and other audiences find new ways to connect, network, and give, our roles as the essential interfaces between our institutions and their various external audiences are becoming more unstable. To understand the problem, and to address this challenge proactively instead of reactively, we need to understand the concept of disintermediation: a reduction in the use of intermediaries.

Social Media Enters the Mainstream: Report on the Use of Social Media in Advancement 2014
White Paper This white paper reports on findings from the fifth survey of social media in advancement, conducted by CASE, Huron Education and mStoner. Nearly 2,000 respondents provided feedback on the tools they are using, how they use them, which are most successful, and how to measure return on investment. Special commentary provided on leaders and social media with three profiles of social CEOs.

All in the Hamily
CURRENTS Article This feature article looks at how Hamilton College developed its own moderated social media platform, The Scroll, which relies heavily on user-generated content to engage its audiences in authentic, lively, and uncensored conversations that represent and embolden the New York institution's brand.

Let’s Hang Out: How to Use Hangouts for Advancement
Article,  BriefCASE Article Advancement teams want to connect with their rapidly growing alumni population, build a culture of philanthropy and provide interactive online events. Hangouts have the potential to aid in all of those goals, according to presenters of a webinar on the free video chat service.

The China Connection
CURRENTS Article This article explores how and why institutions are using Sina Weibo and other Chinese social media platforms to recruit prospective students and engage alumni.

Social Prospects
CURRENTS Article This brief article looks at how Cornell University is using the profile information its alumni provide in its social media communities to identify potential donors.

Odds and Ends: Online Life Is a Virtual Cafe
CURRENTS Article In this Q-and-A with Jonah Peretti, CEO of BuzzFeed, he discusses virality, social readers, and how people portray themselves on social media, and likens how people use social media and the Internet to time spent in a Paris cafe.

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni/Constituent Relations among CASE Members, 2012
Report This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. The report also looks at trends since the first study was conducted in 2010 and offers advice for dealing with technology-related advancement challenges. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and Ellucian, which fielded the survey.

Getting LinkedIn with Lost Alumni
Article,  Community College News Article A Pennsylvania community college more than tripled its alumni mailing directory in less than two years using the social network LinkedIn.

Odds and Ends: Click Here to Network
CURRENTS Article LinkedIn’s Christina Allen helps students, alumni, and alumni professionals connect

“Right” Engagement Can Boost Young Alumni Interest
Article,  BriefCASE Article Engaging young alumni via social media is a top priority for many alumni relations shops—but there’s a right way and a wrong way to reach out to this group, according to a faculty member of the CASE Social Media and Community Conference taking place this week in Chicago.

Tools of Engagement
CURRENTS Article How can alumni relations professionals remain relevant in a world where computers and technology do much of what they used to do on paper and via phone? The author offers advice on how embrace social media tools and use them to engage alumni.

Crème de la Crème
CURRENTS Article In 2011, 268 bronze, silver, gold, and grand gold Circle of Excellence awards went to 171 colleges, universities, independent schools, and nonprofit organizations worldwide. Eight of those grand gold and gold award winners are profiled here.

Think Different When Engaging Alumni Online, Say OSS Speakers
Article,  BriefCASE Article Do you feel like you’re not doing enough to engage your alumni? A recent CASE Online Speaker Series event outlined ways alumni relations offices can get creative on social networks.

Prepare to Engage
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the importance of focusing on building community and creating a two-way social media conversation with your institution's constituents. Experts advise that institutions using social media should be less concerned with the tools they're using and more concerned with whether and how they're engaging their alumni, students, and other constituencies. In addition, rather than jumping into using several tools, it's more important to first use a tool well before moving on to add another tool. The article also discusses some of the findings from the 2011 CASE/mStoner/Slover Linett social media survey.

Five Tips for Using Twitter in Higher Education
Article,  BriefCASE Article Twitter is neither a popularity contest nor “Facebook Lite”—and when it’s used well, it can be a powerful communications tool. That’s according to the author of a new white paper published by Fathom Online Marketing on using Twitter in higher education.

Is LinkedIn Useful for Institutions? Advancement Colleagues Weigh In
Article,  BriefCASE Article When LinkedIn member Jay Frost asked the CASE group, "Do you think LinkedIn is good for colleges and universities? And [if so], can it be used for fundraising?" he got 20 responses from fellow group members. Their input and experience provide a brief sketch of how institutions are using social networks like LinkedIn for students and alumni.

Opening Windows
CURRENTS Article Social media advisor Beth Kanter answers questions about free agents, fortresses, and other social media issues. Kanter works with many different nonprofits on better reaching their audiences and achieving their missions through social media.

Experts Predict Top Social Media Trends for 2011
Article,  BriefCASE Article Those of you who just got the hang of tweeting can breathe a sigh of relief: This year’s social media trends aren’t expected to include a new social network to learn. Instead, experts predict more organization and efficiency in online communications as well as a heightened awareness of privacy violation and other unintended side effects of social media use.

Succeeding with Social Media: Lessons from the First Survey of Social Media in Advancement
White Paper All institutions are struggling to engage with their constituents using social media tools. But how are they doing? This white paper reports on the results of a survey on the use of social media across the advancement disciplines, looking at platforms, staffing structures, barriers and perceptions of success. The 2010 survey was conducted by mStoner, Slover-Linett Strategies and CASE.

Image Conscious
CURRENTS Article Three alumni relations professionals share their thoughts on managing their professional and personal social media lives. The first has one Facebook profile but is very cautious and hesitant about whom she friends and what she shares; the second also has one profile and does not see a problem with connecting with as many people as possible; and the third maintains two separate Facebook accounts, one for personal friends and the other for professional acquaintances.

Lance una red más amplia para su reunión
CURRENTS Article Hace algunos años, cuando Facebook comenzaba a saltar de un dormitorio a, bueno, todos los dormitorios, algunos líderes de exalumnos se preguntaron si la creciente popularidad de Facebook sería el fin de las reuniones. No pasaba un día sin que escuchara hablar sobre exalumnos que habían encontrado compañeros a los que les habían perdido la pista y estaban organizando reuniones a través de este medio.

Cast a Wider Net for Reunion
CURRENTS Article A few years ago, the mere mention of the word "Facebook" could cause anxiety among alumni relations professionals. They worried that alumni reconnecting with long-lost classmates on Facebook wouldn't attend reunions anymore. But the Facebook dust has cleared, and reunions have suffered surprisingly few injuries, if any at all. This article discusses how Facebook is helping rather than hindering reunion.

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni Relations among CASE Members
White Paper This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. It includes data on how technology is being used, barriers to effective use of technology, and strategies for effective deployment of technology. The report is based on data provided by 357 advancement staff in higher education institutions and independent schools. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and SunGard Higher Education, which fielded the survey.

Alumni Networks and Twitter: An Update
Andrew Shaindlin and Elizabeth Allen
White Paper This Alumni Futures paper, published on March 1, 2010, reviews changes in Twitter use for alumni relations since January 2009. The paper reports data collected in January and February 2010, through an informal poll.

The Inner Circle
CURRENTS Article Is an institution’s own private social network relevant in this era of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter? The answer is yes ... or no, depending on the institution.

From Luddite to Advocate: Social Media Research Convinces Alumni Professional to Update, Update
Michael Stoner on mStonerblog
Article In this August 2009 post, Stoner interviewed Leisha LeCouvie about research she conducted on social media as the 2009 Forman Fellow of the Council of Alumni Association Executives. LeCouvie's report, "The Use of Social Media for Alumni Relations and University Development," can be downloaded from this post.

10 Ways Universities Are Engaging Alumni Using Social Media
Vadim Lavrusik on Mashable
Article This July 2009 article discusses ten ways universities are using social media and provides examples for each.

Advance Work: Risky Behavior
CURRENTS Article GoCrossCampus, an online game created by five former and current Ivy Leaguers, is scoring big points for alumni relations.

Activating Alumni Networks with Twitter: An Alumni Futures White Paper
Andrew Shaindlin and Elizabeth Allen
White Paper This January 2009 paper provides a primer on Twitter, how people and organizations are using it, and its potential to deliver information and build community. An appendix provides data from an informal survey on Twitter use for alumni relations by higher education institutions and a few independent schools. The survey was conducted in January 2009.

Into the Mainstream
CURRENTS Article Six alumni professionals--all early adopters of online social networking--offer their thoughts on why alumni professionals need to just dive into the world of Facebook, LinkedIn, and their ilk.

Brave Net World
CURRENTS Article In June 2008, CASE surveyed alumni relations directors about their use of online social networking to engage and communicate with alumni. This article delves into the data garnered from this survey, including software, budget, staffing, best practices, and performance measurement.

Odds and Ends: What Does Surya Say?
CURRENTS Article In this Q&A, Surya Yalamanchili, director of marketing for LinkedIn, discusses his own social networking life, what's new at LinkedIn, and more.

Advance Work: Pokes and Tweets
CURRENTS Article What outside social networking sites are alumni relations professionals using to engage alumni?

Natural Attraction
CURRENTS Article What can alumni relations professionals learn from their corporate cousins?

Online Social Networks: A Developing Tool for Alumni Associations
Andrew Shaindlin and Elizabeth Allen
White Paper The authors of this January 2008 white paper propose that third party social and business networking sites can be important partners for alumni associations, rather than competition for alumni engagement.

Opponent or Opportunity?
CURRENTS Article The Caltech Alumni Association has found that the third-party site LinkedIn offers their alumni the best online community for the money. This is a sidebar to the feature "Everyone Into the Pool."

The Changing Face of the Online Community
CURRENTS Article Social and professional networking has moved online, and educational institutions are uniquely positioned to offer these services to their alumni. Find out how other nonprofits have built successful online communities.

Everyone Into the Pool
CURRENTS Article Online communities are not just a fad. Is yours up to par? Do you know what your alumni want? Find out how others have figured out what's best and how to keep it fresh.

Advance Work: The Pull of Peers
CURRENTS Article Web sites such as Facebook that organize social networks specific to individual colleges, universities, and schools are growing in popularity and might compete with an institution's own site for the attention of students and graduates. Some alumni relations officials believe alumni sites must grow more robust to survive; others take advantage of the commercial sites' popularity to communicate with their constituents.

AdvanceWork: A Sure Thing?
CURRENTS Article Independent Web sites that provide an online forum for alumni to share information are proliferating at a rate that may leave institution-sanctioned sites behind.,, and are just a handful of players in this market space. Online alumni service providers warn that alumni directors must keep pace, or risk damaging their relationships with alumni.

Tech Support: Meet You in Cyberspace
CURRENTS Article A specialist in virtual communities tells what he learned when he volunteered to develop an online alumni community for his alma mater, Reed College. The key lesson: Success hinges on planning. The author offers advice on choosing the right software and host, finding moderators and establishing their duties, determining who will be allowed to join, setting guidelines for online behavior, and promoting involvement.

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