Serve Up Digital Doughnuts to Feed Donor Motivation
Each Sunday, I give my children the option of attending the 8:30, 10:30, or 12:00 mass. They always choose the 10:30 mass. Why do they choose this option instead of spending part of the morning watching cartoons? Because the 10:30 mass has DOUGHNUTS - a tasty reward for attending! The content is the same at all three masses, but the one that offers that extra incentive routinely garners the highest number of attendees.
How does this concept of rewards apply to our efforts to enhance donor motivation and engagement? Here are four ideas to keep in mind when conceptualizing how to hone your content strategy and social media engagement practices:
Recognize your alumni, donors, students, and faculty for the amazing and noteworthy things that they are doing. Everyone likes a virtual pat, so showcase accomplishments on your web site and social media channels. For example, what do Stanford alums, Brenda Villa '03, Nicole Barnhart '04, Rachel Buehler '07, Jessica Steffens '10, Kelley O'Hara '10, Melissa Seidemann '13, Annika Dries '14, and Maggie Steffens '16, all have in common? They're Olympic Gold Medalists and highlighted on Stanford's Facebook page for their Olympic achievements.
Provide Service with a Smile
Are you listening to what your customers and constituents are saying about you in the social space? Just like the clerk at any respectable doughnut shop, you need to respond to customer questions, complaints, and compliments in a timely, thoughtful, and thorough manner.
Connect with Purpose and Planning
Simply having social media channels set up for your institution is not enough. Create online spaces and groups for those with shared interests to engage and then promote the opportunities for connection. While organic connection is one benefit of social media, it is crucial for colleges and universities to facilitate connections by learning about what alumni want from the institution in terms of employment-related networking opportunities, university-related information, etc. and then organizing their online and social spaces so that alumni can find what and who they want easily. For example, creating Linkedin groups related to specific professional disciplines can help alums find focused job opportunities. MIT provides an excellent example of how to leverage Linkedin.
Identify, Engage, and Thank Your Champions
Are you identifying and engaging those who are most vocal in a positive way on your social media channels. Are you thanking them for being positive brand ambassadors? Are you encouraging them to continue the conversation and spread your institution's messages? Look at University of Chicago's Tumblr site for great examples of encouraging ongoing conversation.
Your audience members have many channels with which they can engage with each other and with you. Therefore, it always helps to incentivize them with some digital doughnuts.
What types of offers can you create to encourage participation and engagement?
What schools are doing a good job of making the doughnuts?