5 Ideas for Breaking through the Email Clutter


We receive a lot of promotional emails all day long. Whether it’s great deals from the department store or an update to the terms of an app you forgot you’d downloaded, alumni are bombarded with messaging. If you’re managing marketing for your alumni organization, you may be wondering how to break through the email clutter. 

Here are some of our favorite campaigns that your fellow alumni organizations are using to find email success. 

1. Honor important milestones

Many people think about their alumni association in relation to class reunions. Capitalize on that! People want to know more about what’s happening at class reunions, what they have to look forward to when it’s their turn, and who was in attendance. Keep your alumni updated about what’s going on with these milestone classes.

Graduation years aren’t the only milestones to honor. Did football win state in 1985? How about the award-winning jazz band from 2000? Dig up old photos and recognize these important moments in school history.

2. Celebrate #ThrowbackThursday

Speaking of old photos, comb the school archive to unearth the grooviest pics from days past. People love looking for themselves and their friends, or seeing how their school has changed over the years. Asking alumni to share more information about the image is a great way to increase engagement and collect more alumni stories. 

#ThrowbackThursday or #TBT is a social media trend, so if you’re actively managing social for your organization you should post these pictures here too. Don’t feel you need to send a throwback email every week; post on social regularly, then create a digest of images to share via email for alumni who aren’t following you on social. 

3. Highlight your notable alumni

One benefit of an alumni network is to help alumni connect with one another. Your network is full of interesting people, but they may not know about each other. Creating a notable alumni campaign will help to feature alumni serving the community who are good representatives of your school. Alumni will be flattered and honored to be a great representation of their alma mater. If they are local business owners or have a cause they are working to advance, they will especially appreciate the promotion. It will also create an easy icebreaker for alumni looking to connect with a person in their field. 

Set up a tab in your Nation Builder site to collect nominations for your notable alumni campaign. Once you’ve compiled and vetted your submissions, you can create an email campaign to match what’s on your website. 

4. Collect feedback 

People appreciate knowing that their feedback is valued. Send a regular (e.g. quarterly or semiannually) survey asking your alumni to share feedback on their experience with your organization. You can create a survey about a specific event like a reunion or homecoming, or use it to take the temperature of your members. 

What’s most important is that you use the information you’ve received. Compile survey results into a report you can share with fellow volunteers and other stakeholders. Share a version of the results with your audience so that they know you’re listening to their input. 

While you don’t want to send too many emails, and risk that your alumni will hit that “unsubscribe” button, you also want to prove your organization’s value. To build a successful community, you need to remind your alumni who you are and what you’re doing for the community. A successful email campaign can do just that.

5. Create a March Madness Bracket for your Nation!

Get the full details on how to maximize March Madness including the full template by signing in to your National Alumni Institute account here.

Not a member of the National Alumni Institute yet? Sign up today to access your March Madness fundraising potential! 


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