In these challenging times it is hard to believe that money is available for your school. Your school has used all of the traditional methods like candy sales, pretzel sales and pizza in a box. Having two children at home makes parents fund raising experts for twelve years or more. All of this fundraising has it place but what can a school do to take an innovative approach to fundraising. The rising tide of social networks better known as web 2.0 is bursting with alumni and others who have interest in supporting your school.
One of the best ways to have funding coming in is to identify your alumni. Where can you find them? Three websites I suggest are Twitter.com, Facebook.com and Classmates.com. There are millions of people each day who are finding friends from their past. It is an easy place to find alumni from your school. You can set up a Facebook alumni page for your school and get students to join before they leave school. You can give out your Facebook URL at the next school sports event.
You can update your Facebook page daily with school activities and special events. Sometimes in addition to money alumni can provide resources. For example an alumnus who owns a t-shirt design company may contribute shirts for a football event. Alumni from your school could donate money from items that they sell on eBay. Could you imagine having a bunch of alumni regularly selling items to raise money for your school?
You may even find and alumni on Twitter.com a social network that is gaining momentum. You can accumulate a following on twitter and send them daily tweets throughout the day. You can notify them of the accomplishments of your school. Each tweet will give you 140 characters to communicate your message. Your message gets right to the point. I have learned to be real disciplined when I communicate. The social networks are another way to get out information about your school and it will save you the cost of mailing information.
Classmates.com is another fruitful place to find alumni and organize events to support your students. There are millions of people on classmates. You can find alumni and create events that they can attend. If you find clusters of students in a state that’s next door like Pennsylvania and New Jersey schedule a meeting at your school or by way of a conference call. Today people want to stay in communication daily. On Classmates you can allow friends to join and save them as bookmarks. You can create a group where alumni can keep in touch with each other. The challenging times should inspire alumni to give more support.
Your school can create an electronic newsletter that goes out to current students and alumni. Take time each month to highlight alumni who are joining your Facebook and Classmates web pages. Your current students need to know that your graduates are doing great things. People enjoy reading about success stories. You can also notify an alumni’s company when they are doing something that benefits your school.
Your school can also use Myspace.com to create highlight videos of your school activities. You might be raising money for a new gymnasium or a football field. Your school can even send a visual representation of what the new building will look like when it is completed. Find ways to creatively highlight people who are contributing on Facebook and in your newsletter. Some schools have their own plaque of donors who made their new buildings possible. Why not highlight your alumni on the internet.
Using the social networks is a creative way to engage your alumni and bring more resources that benefit students. Alumni are easily reminded of the things that would have made their K12 experience better. We need every school to operate at their maximum levels to prepare them for 21st century careers.