average open rate for the Homecoming 2020 email marketing campaign
Founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is a private Catholic liberal arts university in Dallas, Pennsylvania with a 19,000+ strong community.
Misericordia University provides quality education through the core values of mercy, service, justice and hospitality—charisms set forth by the school's founders. The university has been guided by these principles for more than 95 years and is currently ranked among the best national universities in U.S. News and World Report's 2021 edition of Best Colleges after several years of ranking in the best regional north category.
With strict social distancing measures in place, hosting a traditional in-person Homecoming was out of the question. The university, therefore, needed to find alternative ways to host the flagship event and uplift the spirits of its community.
The COVID-19 outbreak severely affected campus meet-ups leaving all in-person events, chapter meetings, and community gatherings cancelled. With all plans being disrupted, the Alumni Relations team at Misericordia University was faced with the challenge of not being able to connect and engage with their alumni.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, Misericordia University anticipated an increased need for financial aid to be better equipped to support its community during these unprecedented times. As the annual homecoming could not be hosted traditionally this year, the institution had to find a way to maximize fundraising profit potential at the upcoming Virtual Homecoming.
Part of a two-member Alumni Relations team, Mike Gombita - Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement and Lailani Augustine - Director of Alumni Relations/Annual Fund, are the driving forces behind all alumni relations functions at Misericordia University. For a two-member team with over 19,000 constituents to keep engaged during these challenging times was a laborious task.
While Misericordia University was already hosting small-scale virtual events for its alumni throughout the pandemic, the institution had never gone virtual for a flagship event such as Annual Homecoming. Keeping their community's needs at the forefront, the Alumni Relations Team at Misericordia University took on the massive task of transitioning its traditional Alumni Homecoming Weekend into a day-long virtual celebration amidst a pandemic.
The university set up an event page on its alumni network complete with the schedule of planned activities and exciting prizes.
In addition to a dedicated event page for collecting registrations, Misericordia University also wanted to leverage the big day to make a difference in the lives of current students. The institution made a compelling fundraising appeal and encouraged its community to show support towards students in this time of need. Head over to the ‘Stronger Together - Misericordia Fund’ page created by the university.
The Alumni Relations Team at Misericordia University wanted to make the 2020 Virtual Homecoming a refreshing experience for all attendees by creating avenues of interaction with former classmates, beloved teachers, and students. With the current state of the world adding to stress and uncertainty for a lot of community members, the institution wanted this flagship event to bring much-needed moments of happiness and relief.
Misericordia University made sure to plan the day well with regular breaks and multiple breakout rooms, creating opportunities for social banter. The university planned a bunch of fun activities to keep attendees engaged throughout the day of the event. From virtual class reunions to virtual talent shows, the Alumni Relations team was meticulous in planning all of it.
In addition to a well-planned itinerary, Misericordia University implemented an end-to-end digital marketing campaign across emails and social media to drive participation to its first Virtual Homecoming.
Here are some of the highly engaging emails that were sent by the Alumni Relations Team:
In this video, Mike Gombita, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement and Heidi Manning, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences at Misericordia University share exciting highlights from campus and go through a virtual tour of the new Frank M. and Dorothea Henry Science Center.
Misericordia University used giveaways and exciting prizes as a clever hook throughout its marketing communications to motivate constituents to participate. The university used information about the contest prizes across emails and social media to drive attendance.
Misericordia University continues to embrace alumni centricity and empower its community by hosting engaging virtual events round the year with Almabase. Check out Misericordia University’s alumni network.
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