If you do not enjoy the process of having to manage and scrub alumni newsletter lists, rest assured: you are in good company. Fortunately for you, there are ways to ensure we keep the database management process as painless as possible.
Why keeping your list clean matters
While this may be one of the least glamorous aspects of program administration, consider it an investment that will save you a ton in the long run.
- You save money. Keeping your mentor lists clean allows you to save the resources that you would have otherwise wasted on cards, letters, and emails on bad addresses.
- You save time. By investing \time on the front end to keeping your database clean, you are able to focus your energies and relationships on the backend when it really counts, and with precision.
- You save relationships. This process will keep you from annoying the inactive alumn that would have otherwise warmed to you. Or, even worse: you could lose in the ether alumn (and potential mentors/donors) that are endeared to your program, too.
7 Time-saving strategies
- Centralize your data – If you have some information about your alumn in a notebook, some on an event sign-up sheet, some in an excel file, some in your donor database, and some in a CRM, you are pretty much guaranteed to lose track of a person. Solutions like WeThrive will allow you to execute all of the functions that you do on a day-to-day basis using one singular source of truth.
- Add new alumn immediately – Marking them as alumn should happen almost immediately following their program graduation, or upon you obtaining new information about their contact.
- Monitor email campaign results – Always keep your eye on the results of your email blast and ensure process opt-outs, bounces, and mutations.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out personally – As an anecdote, I was looking for a person that participated in a scholar program with me, once. I knew he would be a great fit for an event that we were doing but I couldn’t find him, so, I commissioned one of our really good friends to go out and get him to contact me (And, it worked!)
- Give alumn access to their own file information – Let them do the work for you and just update their own files, as needed.
- Segment their profiles – Which one of your alumni was a part of the 2015 cohort? Which one attended three events in the past 6 months? Which one has never attended an event at all? Having this information readily available on their profile allows you to target and specialized your communication.
- Decide who among your staff will address returned mail – Don’t let your information get lost on your desk.
- Run a National Change of Address list every quarter – About 15% of the country moves each year, and adults move between 10 to 15 times in their life. Odds are, this may apply to a couple of people on your list as well.
Remember: It’s all about working smarter, not harder. That way, you can keep working harder on the things that really matter: our students.