Promoting Switchboard around holidays is important for a couple main reasons:
Some holidays capture the spirit of Switchboard, like Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day.
Other holidays are important to the cycle of the academic year—e.g. spring and winter break are common times for students to plan for the summer and beyond.
Willamette University sent this email to start a three-week campaign celebrating the Thanksgiving season and using their Switchboard as a means to do so. After sending this email, the Willamette Switchboard saw about 200 new users sign up, 57 new posts, and 54 connections in the three weeks they ran the campaign.
With Spring Break approaching and the end of the academic year not far behind, University of Portland (UP) created a Spring Break campaign calling on alumni to post offers that could help students with their Spring Break plans. In less than a month after sending out this email, UP adopted over 100 users, had over 60 high-value posts, and over 140 connections! Just in time for Spring Break, and, best of all, the majority of new posts came from members that had not posted before, thereby strengthening the UP network and Switchboard.
Valentine's Day is Switchboard's adopted holiday. In the early days of Reed Switchboard—before Switchboard was a company—we invited students, alumni, and parents to send flowers to their loved ones.
At the same time, we camped out in the library lobby and invited students to make and send weathergrams to people they admired.
This celebration was all about the love and goodwill that makes a Switchboard possible. It wasn't specifically about asks or offers.