Reunion is a great opportunity to engage (or re-engage) your alumni on Switchboard. While connecting in-person during reunion can be beneficial, there are also lots of other ways you can share about Switchboard before and after the big event (and even with alumni that might not be able to attend!). Here are a few ideas to get started:
Before reunion it can be helpful to remind alumni (via email, social media, and/or in formal reunion information) that they can utilize Switchboard to help plan housing, rides, or fun events. They might not have the phone numbers or emails of their classmates, but Switchboard can help everyone to connect in one place!
Put it in print:
Reunion is perhaps the best time to introduce Switchboard to alumni—even if you can't get them all to come to an event. Occidental College included this ad in their reunions booklet:
Or, consider making a postcard or similar ‘take away’ for alumni to grab and look at later. Including these in reunion 'swag bags' or giveaways can be helpful.
Create an experience:
Schools have seen success tabling at popular events with information about Switchboard, and sharing ways to sign up and/or post. This seems to work especially well when there is also a student present to talk about some of the benefits of student/alumni communication.
During the early days of Reed Switchboard, one of our first events consisted solely of hauling a blackboard outside and taking photos of alumni with their passions written in chalk behind them. (We aggregated on Instagram and online here.)
In addition to being a fun way to get alumni to stop and talk, it was also a way to get them to think about what they might have to offer or want to ask for.
Add some friendly competition:
Consider doing a little competition by class year, (such as which class can get the most sign ups, the most posts, etc.), with swag giveaways or entries into a raffle. You can track all of that information in the Admin dashboard! This could be just during reunion, or extend before/after to get more traction.
Keep the conversation going:
Bringing everyone to campus can generate lots of “warm fuzzy feelings” and remind alumni how much they love their campus community. Encourage your community to keep the conversation going on Switchboard after reunion ends. Share general reminders about Switchboard in the days and weeks following reunion on a variety of channels (email, social media, postcards, alumni magazine, etc). Highlighting specific posts in digital communication or success stories in print communication can be particularly effective.
Find new moderators:
Use reunion as a time to recruit a few alumni to help steward/moderate your Switchboard! Inevitably there are a group of alumni working extra hard to create an exceptional reunion experience. These are also alumni that may be able to create the same type of experience on your Switchboard. Asking them to share their time as weekly moderators (paid or unpaid) to help you create robust community online can be invaluable.