By Brent Buswell and Michael Wilson
As we all know, KA is not for a few years, but for life, and the most natural way for alumni to stay involved is through their own chapter. It is the responsibility of the undergraduate chapter to continuously engage alumni and keep them up-to-date, and the easiest way to do that is through an alumni newsletter. If you are debating on what program to use to design your newsletter, read more on utilizing MailChimp here.
So you have created your MailChimp account and the KA branded template has been uploaded into your account, so what next? You might be wondering what to include. Just like any other piece of writing, you need to understand and cater to your audience. In this case, your audience is your chapter’s alumni, parents, and alumni from other chapters in your area. If your newsletter is all about what the chapter is or has been doing, you are missing out on engaging alumni.
While coming in second at flag football, participating in homecoming with Alpha Chi Omega, raising money for MDA and hosting a fun social sounds great and interesting as an active member, an alumnus might lose interest after a few years similar content. In order to effectively engage your audience, put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to hear about 10, 20, or 50 years from now.
In order to help engage alumni, here is how you should structure the content of your alumni newsletter.
Alumni News 50% – Most of your content should be focused directly towards alumni. You could include numerous items including details for upcoming alumni events, updates from the alumni chapter or nearby alumni association, a list of births, deaths or marriages, or highlight the achievements of a certain alumnus. Alumni want to hear about what is going on in the lives of the alumni in their generation. Many chapters will highlight around five alumni, from various generations, in each newsletter with details of their life since graduation. You should also consider allowing an alumnus write a “Blast from the Past” article that recaps an appropriate and memorable event during their time as an active. Chapters can also utilize yearbooks, old school’s newspaper or archives to help gain content for use in their alumni newsletter. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to include a “wish list” of items the chapter needs or wants. Include practicable items that alumni may have readily available or would be willing to purchase with their hard earned money.
Don’t forget to invite and remind alumni to attend recruitment events, induction, initiation, homecoming, and Convivium.
Static Features 20% – This is anything that is included on every edition. For example, list upcoming chapter events, their current officers and their emails, names and hometowns of their new member class, or a memorable quote by a famous KA. You should also use this to highlight brothers who excel academically with a “Dean’s” list of members excelling academically.
Chapter Accomplishments and Achievements 20% – Currently, most alumni newsletters focus on chapter achievements. While you should include items like campus and KA awards, intramural success, changes to chapter house or lodge and positive traditions, it should not be the focus of your newsletter.
Campus or Community News 10% – Lastly, your chapter’s alumni newsletter should include any relevant information or news over your school, the campus or the surrounding area.
When compiling your newsletter, remember to stay focused on your primary audience, alumni, include quality photos, and keep the text concise and interesting. If you have any questions regarding Alumni Newsletters, contact your chapter’s Associate Director for Chapter Services.