Alumni Communications Personalization During Crisis


Crisis is going to hit. It always does.

And while I'd love to tell you about our crisis prediction research, it's not mature enough for you to do anything with today.

However, there are tactics you can leverage today - with our without QuadWrangle's help.

First, and this is a repeat for anyone who has worked in crisis comms in the past: honesty and transparency matter.

Second, speed matters.

Say something honest and say it fast. It doesn't have to be gorgeous writing. And perhaps not even thoughtful.

"Hey, we messed up. We see that now. Over the next few weeks we're going to be thinking a lot about how we don't do [BONEHEAD MOVE] again. And we'll involve you in that dialogue. We're here for you. We exist because of you, our alumni. We don't know for certain how we're going to make it right, but we're dedicated to do so."

That took 15 seconds to write. It buys you time. It's honest. The opportunity thereafter is to deliver information consistently, be even more open to dialogue than you promised, and try to get personal.

For us, email and communications personalization are the key to all good alumni engagement. We do that here thanks to Machine Learning where massive data on alumni ensure that the best university news, events, connections and giving opportunities are shared dynamically with each alum.

Recently, we read a university investment press release that didn't sit right with a lot of alumni. There are dozens of these instances every year. We're not here to judge the big investments. And we understand them. The question is, "what now?"

With personalized communications, it's possible to say to an alum:

"We know that the [EXPENSIVE THING WE'RE DOING] is going to make a difference for this institution - your alma mater. We also recognize, [FIRST NAME], that you have passions of your own..."

Here's how we'd help scale that out:

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Personalization matters. It really does. And until the above, it was nearly impossible to deliver at scale.

While personalization is always a win, it's at least half the mandate in crisis communications for universities.

As always, we love your thoughts on these topics and invite you to share them here or to

Nick ZecketsComment