It's great when you have a group of alumni who are willing and interested in promoting your Switchboard.
This team of people can be instrumental in helping to expand your reach, engaging additional alumni, and providing more capacity to steward your Switchboard.
Below is one example of how you might work with a group of alumni (be it a young alumni council, an alumni board, or just a group of super alumni volunteers!) to help increase general engagement on your Switchboard. The goal here is to add some high quality asks/offers, and help encourage people to comment on one another's posts. This would likely be best for a new Switchboard, or one looking to kickstart engagement after a lull (e.g.: maybe as summer break comes to a close).
You could also choose one or two of these (e.g.: comment on a post) and ask alumni to take ten minutes a week to do this for a certain number of weeks.
Many alumni boards have community engagement as part of their description, but offering alumni some swag (or other fun 'thank you' gift) can be a nice gesture for their hard work.
Please feel free to take this language and edit/update it to fit your needs, whether it's to see more engagement, bring on more users, see more success stories, or anything else you need!
Alumni Engagement on Switchboard
Thanks so much for your interest in helping to create a thriving Switchboard community. Switchboard is a spot where our community can come together to share offers and asks with each other.
Our goal is to spend some time populating the Switchboard with some excellent asks and offers, commenting on posts, and creating success stories. This way, when others come on to the platform they will see great examples of how they can engage with Switchboard, which will help to inspire their own participation.
To do this, we have a six step process we’d like each of you to complete over the next few weeks:
1 - Create a profile on Switchboard
Make sure to select a couple topic areas that interest you or that you're knowledgable about, and please add a picture if you’re comfortable doing that (it helps increase the community feel)!
2 - Create at least one ask or offer
Offers: Everyone has something to offer! Some ideas to get you started:
- A job opportunity or internship in your company or field
- A tangible good (think outside the box here -- people have offered furniture, veggies from their garden, books, and more)
- Knowledge (advice on getting started in your specific career, help starting a hobby, knowledge about the community/place you live, etc). Consider making these “Evergreen” offers so they are always available!
- Time and/or talent (e.g.: Have extra time to help someone with childcare or weed a garden? Willing to create something (tangible or virtual) for a nonprofit? Game to have coffee with anyone who wants to know about what you do? All great offers!)
Asks: Are there things your community might be well suited to help you with?
- Jobs or career advice
- Housing in a new city (or advice on moving to a new location)
- Specific goods or items that might otherwise be hard to find
- Help or assistance on a specific concern or issue you’re having
3 - Heart at least one post
It’s quick, easy, and shows the person asking that you’ve seen their offer/ask and you appreciate them.
4 - Comment on at least one ask/offer
The comment can either be directly in response to the poster's ask/offer OR can be a more general "thanks for taking the time to share this offer" OR you could tag someone else in the community you think could help, even if you’re not able to assist.
Comments are prefered over private messages, because it helps to increase community engagement. Others can see your question or comment (which they also may have!) and the original poster's response. However, if you need to share private or sensitive information, a private message can work well.
5 - Invite three other alumni to join you on the platform, and help those three folks post their first ask/offer
Invitations are good, but helping to ensure the people you’re inviting understand why you’re bringing them into the community and assisting them with getting engaged is much better.
6 - Write a Success Story on one of your posts
You can do this directly on your post at the bottom or via an email prompt you will receive a couple weeks after posting.
For more ideas, check out our follow up article HERE.