The launch of dynamic Internet Services has been a catalyst for Fairfield University to expand and enhance communication with alumni around the world, and to offer new ways to support alumni professionally, according to Julianna Coyle Davis, Director of Advancement Technology and Development Relations.
The online services, launched in May 2006 in partnership with Harris Connect, feature a searchable online directory, online class notes, email forwarding, career advisory network, broadcast email, events registration and online giving pages. Currently, 19% percent of alumni have registered for the services.
“Feedback from alumni has been very positive. They're very pleased that these services are now in place,” said Davis. “We've heard several anecdotal stories from alumni overseas who are happy to have self-service tools to reconnect with friends and with the campus from so far away.”
Davis explained that advance marketing in alumni publications in conjunction with a launch announcement mailing generated a very successful 10.4% response rate in the first week. “We were thrilled with the launch numbers,” she said. “We never expected such an immediate response.”
“The online giving pages have led to several hundred gifts already, in time for fiscal year end. It's had a very positive impact,” added Davis. “Online giving provides a convenient way for alumni to support their alma mater.”
According to Davis, both the online directory and class notes are popular features among alumni. “The class notes feature allows alumni to tell their story in their own way. They aren't limited by a word count. Alumni can share with their classmates what they have been up to since graduation and even include a photo. Internally, this has been a great timesaver for us. The online directory provides an easy way for alumni to update their own profiles. By offering access to this type of information online, we are allowing alumni to connect with Fairfield and their friends in their own space and time. We're already seeing more of a connection.”
The career advisory network has also been expanded, in an effort to increase the number of participants. “As a young institution, we recognize the important role we play in assisting our alumni with career placement and advisement,” said Davis. “It is essential that we stay focused on expanding the network for our alumni. We'll continue to promote the online community while expanding the types of services we offer to Fairfield's alumni, and adjusting content to make the site as interesting and value-added as possible.”