There will always be opportunities to adopt new users for your Switchboard, but there are a few key times of the year that, when prioritized, can be dependable places to bring substantial new users and activity to your Switchboard.  And once you consistently promote the Switchboard during these times, the community will begin to associate that event with the Switchboard, which further supports continued adoption and engagement.

What are typical “must-do” annual events?

  1. Graduation
  2. Start of the academic year
  3. Reunions
  4. December holiday break
  5. Spring break

Along with these typical events, each institution has unique events that capture the attention of the whole community.  Those times are excellent opportunities for promoting the Switchboard, too.  So, along with the typical events, take a moment to jot down other annual events that would be great for promoting Switchboard and supporting the event in some way.

When?

It seems obvious that you would promote Switchboard during these events, but there is room to be creative here.  You can promote it before, during, and/or after the annual event.  For example:

Before Annual Event

A few weeks before graduation, reach out to alumni to encourage them to post offers on Switchboard that would resonate with graduating seniors.  In the time after finals and before the actual graduation ceremony, promote Switchboard with seniors and showcase the flurry of recent offers from alumni to connect, as well as encourage them to post an ask if they need something else.   

During Annual Event

There are many opportunities to connect with students at the start of the academic year, which opens the door for an annual place for asks as students of all class years to post about things on their minds that alumni can help with.  Tabling, in-person presentations in classrooms/groups, etc. are ways of accomplishing this.  

For alumni, devoting time during a reunion to bring alumni together to interact with Switchboard in person is a great way to bring more meaning to the reunion.  You can simultaneously adopt and educate alumni in a way that gets them interacting on Switchboard right away.

After Annual Event

The time leading up to and during graduation can feel hectic for many students, so promoting the Switchboard after the graduation dust has settled is another way of encouraging meaningful activity on Switchboard.  You can reach out to alumni first with a message about supporting recently graduated seniors, after which you can message recently graduated seniors to come to the Switchboard to take alumni up on offers or post an ask for something else.

What’s the typical approach?

Typically, partner schools send out emails to the community around these events.  The Resource Library has great examples of these types of emails.  But while emails generally are effective with alumni, students don’t usually respond as well to emails.

For students, spending time in-person is the best way to bring them on around these events.  Below are examples of easy methods for adopting/engaging students around these must-do events:

  1. Tabling
  2. Hosting a simple meeting that talks about Switchboard and forces them to use it during the event.
  3. Having stakeholders that interface with students frequently prioritize adopting students and getting those students to interact on the Switchboard (Career Services and Student Affairs staff).
  4. Coming to classrooms to do a short presentation and exercise to adopt and engage students.  

 Action Items

  1. Choose at least 2 must-do events to promote Switchboard in the next 6 months.
  2. Set calendar reminders for when to start preparations to use must-do events for adoption/engagement.
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