Tuesday, September 29, 2020

First, we listen to you and your colleagues to understand what you want to accomplish. 

Next, we review your college and departmental strategic plans to make sure the direction we recommend is consistent with existing strategies, and then we help you and your team identify the goals, steps, responsibilities, and timeframes.  Then we bring in our decade of experience in working with alumni and advancement offices around the world and share with you opportunities, alternatives, and ideas. 

Finally, we help pull together a solution, identify benchmarks and deliverables, and set up a series of checkpoints for all of us to monitor progress. 

Our engagements provide a wealth of resources for you and your team to expand your knowledge and understanding of the issues we solve together. 

          • Podcast interviews of industry experts.
          • Access to research material pertaining to the subjects.
          • Webinars on topics featuring experienced professionals.
          • Courses that provide proven methodology.
          • Discussion groups that bring great minds together to solve issues.
          • One on One discussions/guidance with you and your staff. 

We give you the information and expertise you need to take your Internet strategies to the next level. Our goal is to make you an expert in your field, as well as offering  support so you get things done you don’t have time to do.

While we can help you in a variety of different areas, here are some of the more popular engagement programs:

Consulting to Increase Participation in Your Online Community

1.   Web 101 – Introduction to Online Community Management
2.   Monthly, Quarterly & Yearly review of Web Stats
3.   Dramatically Increase Online Registrations
4.   Integrating Your Alumni Magazine Online
5.   Create a Young Alumni Online Strategy

6.   Creating “Virtual” Bridges to Silos on Campus!
7.   Determine the Right Staffing & Funding
8.   Develop Online Volunteers to Get More Done!
9.   Create Email Use Policies and Gain Control
10. Use New Media Tools to Increase Participation
11. Effective eMail Marketing Strategies
12. Teach Students & Alumni How to Network Online
13. Create a Web Based Back to Campus Lecture Series
14. Become a NET-Centered Alumni Association
15. Outsourcing your eMarketing Responsibilities

Consulting to Increase Contributions & Revenue

1.   Develop Coordinated  ePhilanthrophy Strategies
2.   Technology & Ingenuity Builds Young Alumni Stewardship
3.   New Media 2.0 Tools for Your Capital Campaign
4.   Annual Giving Internet Strategies
5.   Internet Strategies to Engage Parents & Increase Stewardship
6.   Generating Revenue from Your Online Community 

We haven’t been introduced to an alumni association who doesn’t want help in at least one of these areas.  How about you?  Which of these areas do you think would help your organization move forward with an Internet Strategy?

1.   Web 101 – Introduction to Online Community Management

No one is born with the skills necessary to run a website and an online community.

Research shows 99 percent of employees consider themselves under trained, and our experience is showing the average time a person has been on the job maintaining and running their alumni online community  is just 18 months.   Worse, few have anyone to turn to within their organization for answers.

You have already made a sizable investment of time, money, and resources into your online community and, chances are you will be investing more in the coming year.  By providing those responsible for running your online community access to the knowledge and information they need to effectively run your online community, you will end up better serving your alumni, reducing costs, and increasing its success!

Participants will benefit from a 12 month program that immerses them in best practices, ideas, and techniques that will help them accomplish more in less time, while at the same time increasing the metrics within the community.  Participants receive certification.

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2.   Monthly, Quarterly & Yearly Review of Web Stats

With old media communication tools like newspapers and magazines, it’s virtually impossible to determine which article was most popular, how many people read the edition, or how long they interacted with the material.

New media tools are different. You can measure everything.  By analyzing your stats on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis, you will be able to be able to determine if you are on track to reach your goals, or if you need to make mid course corrections.  The problem is, most organizations don’t have the tools, or don’t take the time to review their stats.  That’s where we can help.

We’ll offer you technology that will provide a mountain of data that we will help you sift through to find the nuggets that will assist in determining what your alumni are interested in, and if you are meeting your goals.  From here, we will draw on our 12 years of experience to help you find “mid course” corrections that will make an impressive difference. During this engagement, we’ll help you and your team become experts, capable of continuing this on your own in the coming years.

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3.   Dramatically Increase Online Registrations

If you owned MySpace, you would believe in the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.”  However, if you are a private or state college that is building and maintaining an online community, you have probably recognized by now that alumni are not flocking to your online community!  National statistics are showing registrations in:

• Public universities are averaging 5 - 20 percent of all alumni.
• Private colleges/universities are averaging 10-50 percent of all alumni.

On average, fewer than 20 percent of alumni are registered in their alumni online community.

We believe you have to approach increasing registrations in your online community in the same way as you approach a capital campaign.  It requires a strategy that includes staffing and funding for marketing and promoting the website.  Most organizations’ strategy is to organically grow their online community each year.   However, the growth rate is so anemic, in many cases we’ve found it barely keeps up with the number of students they graduate.

You invested in your online community because you recognized you could increase communication - which increases contributions, and at the same time, decreases costs. Unless you bite the bullet and hold a registration campaign, you’ll never achieve the benefits you aspire to get.  We’ve developed a methodology that will help you dramatically increase registrations in your online community.   From talking to others, it’s very hard to do this on your own.

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4.   Integrating Your Alumni Magazine Online

In a time of limited resources, you have to look at programs and determine which provide a positive return on your investment and if not, begin to migrate your investment into other areas.

The newspaper and magazine industry is rapidly moving their products online as a result of a significant drop in advertising, along with customers changing reading habits and going from paper to bytes!  You need to be aware of this trend and begin to develop an integrated magazine and online community.  If you do, you’ll be rewarded with decreased costs, increased online community registrations and participation, and more informed and engaged alumni.

Don’t wait until no one is reading your magazine. We can help you develop a comfortably phased in migration that benefits staff, alumni, and your budget.

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5.   Create a Young Alumni Online Strategy

Our research is showing both state and private colleges are having a difficult time getting their graduating students and young alumni registered and participating in their online community. 

We reported within months of the founding of Facebook in 2003 that the behaviors students were developing would make it extremely difficult for the alumni association to get young alumni involved with the online community.   The stats we’ve reviewed of alumni associations around the country is showing this prediction to be true.  Do you have a plan in place to engage and involve young alumni?

If not, we can help.  We’ll work with you over the course of a year to identify a number of proven ways that will get your young alumni engaged into your online community.   We think this is one of your most important initiatives - because if you don’t engage your young alumni – the future of your online community initiative is in question!

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6.   Creating “Virtual” Bridges to Silos on Campus!

Other departments on campus could be paying for your online community initiative!

We’d like to see your alumni association become the most popular department on campus.  The Internet has put you in a position where athletics, admissions, deans of colleges, student affairs, and career services need your help to reach their goals. 

You control access to the people that will assist each of these departments. You can help build enthusiasm and attendance for the athletic teams, you can find alumni volunteers to recruit students for admissions, you can help the Deans of colleges connect with their alumni, and you can help career services do a better job at providing meaningful career management services.

Our job will be to pull these departments together and work with them to identify ways you can use online community and New Media technology, along with your alumni, to help them achieve their goals.  When other departments get a clear idea of what you can help them get accomplished, you will become the most popular department on campus!  This is actually one of our favorite consulting engagements, because when we do our job right, each department will be happy to subsidize a fair amount of your costs to help them achieve their goals.  It’s a great strategy when budgets are tight!

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7.   Determine the Right Staffing & Funding

Most alumni and advancement offices that we’ve worked with have created their online community and assigned the maintenance to an existing staff person who was already working a 40 hour week.  Inevitably, the responsibilities of simply adding content, updating calendars, validating users, etc, are handled when they can get to it.

Your online community is one of the most powerful tools you have available to you today.  It can serve alumni 24/7/365 days per year automatically.  It can send thousands of emails notifying them of events, activities, and needs.  However, to maximize your return on investment, you should be investing more staff and funding.  Think about your alumni magazine.  Many years ago, it probably started as a newsletter. Today, your team is striving to be a world class magazine.  In order to reach that level of professionalism, you had to add writers, photographers, editors, and others.  You’ll need to do that with your online community too. 

We’ll help you identify what you want to achieve, provide examples, and share with you what others are doing, then we’ll offer recommendations and even sample job descriptions that you can adapt for the positions you determine you need.

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8.   Develop Online Volunteers to Get More Done!

You are investing a great deal of time in managing your website when you could be doing other valuable tasks.  One way you can do that is by adopting our volunteer engagement program. 

We’ve identified ten ways your volunteers can help you increase participation in your online community.  Think about it, with 100 volunteers each putting in only two hours per month, you’ll end up getting things done that would have cost you a person and a half. Assuming that position paid $40,000 per year, that’s a savings of $60,000 per year!  On top of that, your community becomes stronger from the volunteers help.  If you do nothing else this year, engage us to help you build a volunteer program.

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9.   Create Email Use Policies and Gain Control

Two things are happening on campuses around the globe right now.  Departments like athletics, alumni, and even individual colleges are collecting email addresses and emailing offers, opportunities, and notices of events. 

In other situations, the departments who are not collecting the email addresses are approaching the alumni office requesting they send emails to their target audience.   Not only do alumni end up getting multiple correspondences each month, but if you are responsible for sending them out, you begin to overload your staff by becoming a marketing department for others.  We can help you craft a recommended email use policy together and then facilitate a meeting with different departments on campus in order to get everyone on the same page.  The outcome is important.  Create an email policy that will control the flow of emails to your alumni so they don’t become immune to them!

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10.  Use New Media Tools to Increase Participation

Your online community should include constantly changing content in order to bring your alumni back to your online community frequently.  We provide an in-depth, 12 month consulting engagement that will help your team not only learn how to use Web 2.0 tools, like blogs, wiki’s, podcasts, video, tags, RSS feeds and others, but we will show them different applications that each can be used in.

Your team will learn four different ways to use blogs to increase alumni visits, five ways to use podcasting to deliver campus events and presentations, how to use RSS feeds to PUSH information to alumni, and much more.

The goal of this consulting project is to integrate as many of these technologies throughout the year, so when our project is completed, you will have a program in place that provides a variety of content with little effort.

11.  Effective eMail Marketing Strategies

The alumni and advancement professionals have to have more skills than other offices on campus.  Not only do they have to run their offices professionally, but they have to market their products and services, hold events, and increase participation and engagement.  One area that doesn’t get as much attention that can have the biggest effect is eMail and related marketing.

We can help you and your team to develop an organized and consistent eMarketing strategy that will be repeatable, measurable, and predictable.  We will introduce techniques to you and your staff that will save you time and money, and in the end increase click throughs, participation, and engagement.

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12.  Teach Students & Alumni How to Network Online

Graduate from Harvard and you will probably recognize the person sitting next to you at graduation will be a valuable business contact for you some day that will help you do a deal, get a job, or sell a product. 

A vast majority of students and graduates have no clue of the value of building a network base, how to work the network, and what to do to nourish it.   Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, a global business networking organization, said in an article in Entrepreneur.com, “Colleges are doing a poor job at teaching students to network.”   We think he’s right.  When you look at it, students receive no formal training on networking.  Networking is not only a science but it’s an art that can significantly increase the earning power of your graduates.

We believe that your alumni association has a fantastic opportunity to fill this void and use this opportunity to brand your alumni association as one that is there to help your alumni advance their careers.   We provide specific steps on how you can implement a strategy that supports this.

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13. Create a Web Based Back to Campus Lecture Series

We’ve developed a turnkey program that will offer your alumni a web based Back to Campus Lecture Series via Webinars.  The online lectures would give your faculty an opportunity to reach out to former students who are now at companies around the world.  Their lectures could be built around current research, studies, or timely information they could use in their jobs.  This is NOT traditional learning, nor is this a standard lecture.  It’s a fun opportunity to show off your faculty and gain exposure within the companies your alumni are working at.  This is a great program for the college as a whole, or for individual academic departments/colleges.

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Reconnect alumni to the college or department

  • Create a buzz about your faculty and college among alumni companies

  • Create a revenue stream from the registrations paid by alumni

  • Develop new partnerships with alumni businesses to support your needs

  • Provide a unique way to show off your college to prospective students

We didn’t dream this idea up. 

It’s already being done, but without the approval of colleges.  Commercial companies are hiring professors in targeted cities and selling out with audiences as large as 300 to 400 people.  You can start this program and control the process, while at the same time generate revenue for yourself and for your alumni.  We’ll not only show you how to create and implement this program, but we’ll show you how to make it turnkey so YOU have nothing to do!

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14.  Become a NET-Centered Alumni Association

The Internet Strategies Group helps organizations that recognize they need to transform from being a “brick and mortar” alumni association – one whose foundations were built in a different time, under different conditions, into developing a “virtual” alumni association designed to engage more alumni from ALL generations.

We do that by helping you begin to refocus on how Internet strategy can help virtually every department and responsibility within your office.

Think about it for a moment.  Your current events and activities engage a very small percent of your alumni.  However, your “virtual” alumni association has the opportunity to open your “alumni house,” and establish a bridge to your campus, 24/7/365 days per year.  You have to recognize the times have changed, your alumni behaviors are different today, and that you have the most incredible engagement tool ever created.

We’ll take you through our proven steps to help you engage more alumni, with less effort, by using proven Internet technology.

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15.  Outsourcing your eMarketing Responsibilities

Did you ever stop to think about how talented you and your staff are?  You have to be writers, marketers, event planners, sales people, and fund raisers. You are essentially entrepreneurs running a small business.  NO OFFICE on campus has to have the skill sets you have!

As if you didn’t have enough responsibilities, as you introduce Internet tools your team will have to figure out eMarketing, search engine optimization, online communities, new media tools, and more.  How can you do this while  handling your current duties at the same time?  It’s hard, if not impossible. 

We can conduct a study to determine if it makes sense for you to outsource some of your web responsibilities. For example, instead of having to write copy, create graphics and a marketing piece, and then mail it, you could outsource that to a third party company who has professional writers, graphic designers, and analysts who will not only do a better job, but will increase participation as a result of it.  We will show you that not only can we reduce your staff stress load, but we can also reduce costs and increase revenue.  It’s something many find irresistible!

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Consulting to Increase Contributions & Revenue

1.   Develop Coordinated  ePhilanthropy Strategies

One of the reasons your organization has an online community is to generate contributions.  How’s that going for you? 
From our experience, few organizations are maximizing their online contributions.   We can help you identify ways to use your online community to not only increase stewardship, but to help you increase contributions.  Our decade of experience has identified easy-to-implement yet successful techniques that will help your team build a repeatable, measurable, and predictable ePhilanthropy strategy.
Small changes can introduce significant increases, not only in contributions, but also in the number of alumni contributing.

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2.   Technology & Ingenuity Builds Young Alumni Stewardship
Everyone is looking for ways to increase student and young alumni stewardship.  In a search for the “silver bullet,” you have no further to look than to the technology that has become a significant part of students’ daily lives.
The organizations we’ve spoken to are all interested in creating a culture of giving from orientation to graduation and beyond, but few had a strategy to accomplish that.  All are aware that students don’t have the financial resources, but few are using Internet technology to give students a chance to contribute something they have a lot of, “time” and “passion.”  Experience shows young alumni feel frustrated because they don’t have the money to contribute, but they have the time and desire to be involved in helping.
That’s where we can help!   We’ll help you develop an engaging, innovative, yet practical strategy to build a young alumni stewardship program using technologies they enjoy.  You’ll learn of numerous Internet technologies that will give you a path to develop that is engaging, fun, and instills a culture of giving – from orientation and beyond.  And we’ll help you develop a turnkey implementation plan that includes communicating and training students.

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3.   New Media 2.0 Tools Increase Capital Campaign Gifts & Communication

Capital Campaigns produce enormous amounts of good news.  Unfortunately, most of it never is presented to alumni.  This is a huge missed opportunity.  With technology today, your Capital Campaign can deliver a steady diet of news that increases stewardship among all alumni.
In the past, your Internet strategy for a Capital Campaign comprised of a “campaign” website that included press releases, thermometers, photos, and news updates.  With nearly all of your alumni now online, and 70 percent of your alumni accessing the Internet via broadband, your alumni are now tuned in 24/7/365 days a year.  Your alumni are changing the way they consume news and information. You need to deliver your campaign information using the tools, and through the channels, they are currently consuming news and information.
As today’s contributors request/demand a greater say in where their hard earned contributions are going to be applied, they will also be looking for a two way communication with you and those involved in your capital campaign.   New Media 2.0 tools will help inform, engage, and provide feedback to you and your staff.  Additionally, they will build a sense of mission and stewardship of all alumni that will affect your current and future capital campaigns. 
We can help you and your teams identify not only the type of new media tools, like podcasts, blogs, wiki, video, multimedia tools, mashups, and collaboration tools, but we’ll help you decide HOW you want to use these tools.  Never before have you had such a powerful set of tools to keep your alumni informed and aware of the opportunities available to them within your capital campaign.  This program will plant the seeds for your next million dollar contribution.  Engage alumni, increase communication, and connectedness!

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4.   Annual Giving Internet Strategies

You know the issues annual giving is facing. A growing young alumni base with large loans to pay back, alumni abandoning land lines to use their cell phones and a growing number of people who are screening calls through their caller ID.  And that’s not to mention that postage, paper, and printing continues to increase, all of which reduce your ability to communicate your needs to alumni and friends.  So how do you continue to increase annual giving participation and contributions?   Simple, adopt Internet tools and strategies.
Over the last decade, we’ve watched an explosive growth in the use of Internet technology by non profits.  Today, your alumni are comfortable giving online and, in fact, research is showing those that give online, give more!  There are other benefits. Online contributions are less expensive to process and the contributions are available instantly.   As you continue to improve your annual giving program, it should include provisions to use technology to engage young alumni, recognize alumni for giving, give alumni the ability to challenge others to give, create competition between classes, and turn your annual giving program into a three way communication between alumni, student callers, and your office.

We’ll help you create a strategy that blends existing technology, call campaigns, direct mail campaigns, and Internet technology to increase participation, contributions, and make it more fun for everyone!

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5.   Internet Strategies to Engage Parents & Increase Stewardship

Engaged parents could be contributing more money each year.
You don’t call them helicopter parents for nothing.  Today’s parents are engaged and involved in their student’s education more than any previous generation.  Having spent a good deal of time with their students studying the college options available, they are savvy Internet users and are interested in staying engaged, informed, and to a limited degree, involved with their student’s educational experiences.
You can better serve these parents and, along the way, increase their understanding of your needs and issues to make them better stewards of your institutions. Your payback?  A more engagement parent is a more giving parent.   Developing strategies to keep your parents connected to their students and, at the same time, communicate the great things going on on-campus will increase their support for your programs.  We’ll help your organization develop strategies, consistent with existing college and departmental strategies that better serves your students, their parents, and gives you an opportunity to develop a parent giving program, or to increase the results of those that you have.

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6.  Generate Revenue from Your Online Community

Your online community could be generating revenue to help offset the continual investment you will need to make in it in order to match your alumni increasing expectations.
As your online community increases the number of alumni registered, and the frequency of visits, you have an opportunity to generate more revenue through membership, merchandise, sponsorship, advertising, and affinity marketing relationships.  If funding remains an issue, developing a phased in strategy to monetize your website will be critical. 
We’ll work with your team to identify where you can get “passive” revenue from your website, share with you best practices and proven concepts that enable you to take your Internet strategy to the next level.

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You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel!

You can rely on our decade of experience and knowledge to help you in any of these areas.   Mark all areas you are interested in and we’ll immediately send you details on how we can make this happen for you.

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 You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel!

You can rely on our decade of experience and knowledge to help you in any of these areas.   Mark all areas you are interested in and we’ll immediately send you details on how we can make this happen for you.

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