Amazing Alumni Engagement Program

OK, so here's the deal... when you haven't been blogging for a while, some of the ideas that you end up writing about when you *do* finally get off your keister and start blogging again aren't particularly new ones. But, dammit, that doesn't mean they aren't still good ones, as evidenced below.

University of British Columbia is pretty awesome at everything they do in the advancement category, but its Your Evolution alumni engagement program is next level.

UBC invited alumni (as well as students/staff/faculty/donors/etc) to submit projects they are working on that are helping make the world a better place. Out of 300+ submissions, ten finalists were selected. A public vote selected the winner of a pretty killer prize package that any non-profit would love: free photography/video production; mentoring sessions with the UBC president as well as successful UBC alumni; and access to faculty consultants. (You might notice a theme there... assuming UBC has its own photographers and videographers on staff, all those prizes utilize existing relationships and resources and don't require a big budget other than time commitments.)

Here are two videos that UBC created for winners... pretty snazzy!

Naturally, doing a contest with a great prize is going to attract attention and participation, particularly from cash-strapped non-profits that are always on the hunt for grants. And having a public vote definitely gets some social media sharing going on.

But the real reason this is such a genius social media idea is because of the access to all these amazing stories!!!

I mean, think about it... if I told you that you could get a few dozen alumni to voluntarily submit detailed information - complete with photos, links, etc - about how a project they are working on is making the world a better place, wouldn't you die to have that? Now imagine if you got 300+ of them. (Granted, UBC is a very large school, but still!)

And this stuff isn't just good for the social media team. Web content, media relations, alumni magazine, admissions, academic departments... think of all the places around campus that would kill to have access to these types of stories.

Best of all, think about all the peer-to-peer potential with these types of projects. Some alumni and/or students might decide to volunteer with one of the non-profits that submitted an idea. Some might find ways their own businesses can work with them and assist the work they do. Some might even send in financial support of their own. And, of course, promoting theses types of projects helps make alumni/students/parents/friends/etc feel proud of their affiliation with their school, and - down the road - will make them have more positive feelings and be more generous when the fundraising folks come a-callin'.

Really great work, UBC!

Friday Five: Episode One Edition

Back in the High(er ed) Life Again!... and a Great Idea to Boot