One of the most important things you can do as an alumni club leader is to make sure you keep in touch with your alumni. You can do this through a website or social media but don’t forget good “old fashioned” email. Social media sites have restrictive algorithms that may mean that your alumni won’t always see your posts. And the trouble with websites is that your alumni have to remember to go check it. Email, however, is a great, targeted way to get your messages into your alumni’s inboxes and, well, then it’s up to them to read it or not.
Sending emails starts with collecting email addresses. There are a few ways you can do this and, if you like, you can add a little bit of automation (at no cost) to help you do this.
Email is a great, targeted way to get your messages into your alumni’s inboxes and, well, then it’s up to them to read it or not.
The Manual Method
Never miss an opportunity to collect an email address at one of your events. Always have a sign-in sheet handy with a place for your alumni to write in their email addresses. Here’s a simple template with a place to add your school’s logo. Have a stash of pens ready to go so no one has an excuse not to give an email address. You can make a game of signing up to encourage people to give you their email address. Pick a name randomly from the list to win a prize or give away some school swag as people add their names. The important thing here is to be consistent and prepared to capture email addresses.
Here’s a link to a Sign in Sheet Template.
Some people will be hesitant to leave an email address. Never fear! Keep a stash of club business cards handy with your club email address so they can reach out to you.
Collect Email Addresses Through A Google Form (and Facebook!)
If you’re not afraid of a little technology, you can create an email collection form and add it to your club’s Facebook (business) page or website. Check out my video below and then read on for the full instructions. (Note: this won’t work if you have a Facebook Group Page but look for a future post where I tackle how to do that.)
What You’ll Need: A Google account and you must be an administrator of your club’s Facebook page.
Here are the instructions for the steps shown in the video:
- Go to Google Forms
- Click the Blank icon with the plus sign to create a new form. A new form appears.
- Click in the field Untitled Form and give the form a name (I recommend Join Our Mailing List). This will describe the purpose of the form for alumni who enter their email address.
- Click in the upper left hand field to make the name of the form the name it will be saved under in Google Forms.
- Add a form description. This will give the person filling in the form a little more info about what you are collecting and why. I recommend something like “Share your email address with us and we’ll add you to our club’s email list. We never share or sell this list and we only use it to let you know about club news and events!“
- Click in the field titled Untitled Question and enter Name. This will become the field where the alum’s name is captured.
- Click on the Required toggle button to make the Name field required.
- Click the + sign to the right of the form to add a new question.
- Click in the field titled Untitled Question and enter Email Address. This will become the field where the alum’s email address is captured.
- Click on the Required toggle button to make the Email Address field required.
- Click on Responses at the top of the form to go to the Responses view.
- Click the green icon to create a new Google Sheet. Store the email addresses in a Google Sheet rather than just the form. This will allow you to add other names and email addresses that you may collect on your sign up sheet or through emails directly into the spreadsheet.
- Click the Send button in the upper right hand corner of the form.
- Click on the icon to display the form’s URL. The URL will be very long.
- Place a check in the checkbox below the URL in the Shorten URL box. This will shorten the URL. Note: you can share this URL in other places to capture email addresses such as a website, a Twitter post, etc.
- Click the Copy button in the lower right hand corner of the box to copy the link to your clipboard.
- Now go to your club’s Facebook page. (Note: these next steps will only work if you have setup your club’s page as a business page.)
- Click the Add a Button button below the banner. A pop-up will appear.
- Select Get in Touch to expand the menu.
- Select Sign Up. A pop-up will appear.
- Paste the URL in the Add a website link box using either right click>Copy or Ctrl+V
- Click the Add Button button in the lower right corner of the pop-up. The screen will refresh. A Sign Up button will appear on your Facebook page.
- Hover over the button and a menu will appear. Click Test Button from the menu to preview how the new button will behave. Note that the button functionality will behave differently for you since you are the administrator of your Facebook page.
EXTRA! If you are an Alumni Spaces user, you can add the link to your form on the menu of your home page with just a few more steps.
- Go to the admin page of your Alumni Spaces website.
Select Appearance>Menus. The Menus page will appear.
- Click the 2nd Custom Links option and expand it to see the options.
- Paste the URL of the Google form into the URL field.
- Enter “Join Our Mailing List” in the Link Text field.
- Click Add to Menu. The link will appear at the bottom of the list of menus. (Drag and drop the new menu item to change its order on the menu)
- Click Save Menu to save the change.
These steps are similar to adding a Donate button to your Alumni Spaces menu.
Already have a big email list or plan on growing your list quickly? Check out next week’s post on doubling down on email tool.
Do you have questions? Or would you like to see a topic covered here? Drop me a line!