How Santa Clara University Hit Their Annual Alumni Engagement Goal in Just 6 Months

 Santa Clara University Switchboard

Santa Clara University’s Alumni Association set an ambitious alumni engagement goal for their new Switchboard. They wanted to sign 1,000 people up for the platform within a year—a high bar for any new program.

When they reached that goal in just six months, we knew we had to share how they did it.

Their blueprint can be used by any office that is serious about reaching their goals.

Sharing a Clear Priority

First, Santa Clara’s Alumni Association office decided as a group that starting and establishing their Switchboard was one of their top 5 priorities for the entire year. All hands were on deck to support the the rollout.

Having everyone (student workers, seasoned staff, etc.) invested in the success of their Switchboard made organizing communications and communication strategy and promoting the Switchboard, among many other things, way more efficient and effective.

Building an Inter-Office Foundation

The main admins of the Switchboard also spent time early on meeting with as many departments on campus as they could to introduce the Switchboard and bring their colleagues in as stakeholders.

These offices expressed their appreciation in not only being included early on, even if they couldn’t do anything right away. It was important to them that the Alumni Association didn’t exclude them during the rollout of Switchboard and engagement of their shared constituents.

Integrating it into the Campus Routine

With a strong foundation of office and campus-wide support, Santa Clara developed a clear framework for rolling out their Switchboard (e.g. settling on times for small and large announcements and promotions) and consensus on clear communication around their Switchboard. They made sure that information about Switchboard, like FAQs, links to their Switchboard, etc., was easily visible on appropriate parts of the Alumni Association’s website to support organic adoption and engagement of folks that come to their Alumni Association website for updates and resources.

By also leveraging key times in the school year to promote their Switchboard, the Santa Clara admins covered their bases to ensure that the entire campus ecosystem knew what Switchboard is and how it could support them.

Working the Plan

With all of the pieces set, the Santa Clara admins were intentional about the timing for inviting members of their community to sign up for their Switchboard. They tailored communications to their recipient groups and made Switchboard’s value clear to each one. Through each stage, they generated momentum that carried them to the next communication and invitation, which generated more momentum and positivity, and so on.

Six months later, they reached their Year One goals. They’ve since recalibrated to new goals to welcome more members of the community to their Switchboard and encourage more positive activity.

Communities flourish and provide value when there are stewards who work together towards communal goals. Santa Clara’s Switchboard launch can be a model for any new project your team takes on.