Alumni are a tricky group to keep happy. Send them too many updates, and they’ll complain that you’re spamming them with information. Don’t send them enough updates, and they’ll grumble that they have no idea what’s going on in the chapter. We recommend a two part approach: short 1-2 paragraph email newsletters once a month, and a more lengthy printed newsletter once or twice a year.
Short monthly email newsletters allow your chapter to keep alumni up to date without overwhelming them with information. Email is the perfect format, since its simple and inexpensive. In these newsletters, keep it short and stick to the highlights. There should be no reason for any alumni to want to put off reading this newsletter until later, its short and sweet and can be read in a few minutes and removed from their inbox.
The more lengthy printed newsletters that are sent out once or twice a year should contain much more information. The topics you glossed over in the monthly newsletter should be explained in detail in the printed newsletter. This newsletter should cover every major detail in your chapter since the last printed newsletter was sent out. Some alumni won’t make time for a monthly newsletter and older alumni may not even use email, so start from scratch and don’t assume they have any prior knowledge.
To give a concrete example to this concept, lets say your chapter wins your school’s homecoming competition. In the monthly email newsletter, its appropriate to write a paragraph announcing the victory including high levels details. In the yearly printed newsletter, its fitting to discuss the homecoming victory in much greater detail. Include details such as key members of your chapter that facilitated the victory, your chapter’s most successful homecoming event, how the victory will help your chapter, how alumni were involved in the victory, and what your chapter did to celebrate. The monthly email newsletter should contain a paragraph about the homecoming victory, while the printed newsletter could easily be a 5-6 paragraph article.
For tools to help send out alumni email newsletters, have a look at GoZuus’ email newsletter feature. Tired of working with 100′s or 1000′s of alumni mailing addresses? Check out GoZuus’ ability to print address labels.
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