How Upper St Clair School District got 40% of the class of 1988 to attend their 30-year reunion

Previously faced with low alumni participation and an outdated alumni database, Upper St. Clair was able to successfully turn things around and achieve increased participation for its upcoming event. With a single-person team managing all alumni relations functions, the institution was able to get 40% of its Class of 1988 to attend their 30-year reunion.


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About the Upper St. Clair School District

A public school in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, The Upper St. Clair School District is dedicated to providing a nurturing, engaging, and challenging learning environment in order to prepare its students to be successful contributors to an ever-changing global society.

Dating back to the mid-eighteenth century when the Upper St. Clair Township was formed, Upper St. Clair School District has been devoted to the development of lifelong learners and responsible citizens for a global society, with the broader goal of promoting happiness and success. Serving the Pittsburgh suburb of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, Upper St. Clair School District is divided into three elementary schools (Baker Elementary School, Eisenhower Elementary School, and Streams Elementary School), two middle schools (Boyce Middle School, Fort Couch Middle School), and one high school (Upper St. Clair High School).

Upper St. Clair School District has over 20,000 alumni and is one of three secondary schools in Pennsylvania to have won the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award three times. The institution also ranked in the "silver medal" category in U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools 2009 listing.

What Upper St. Clair School District aimed to achieve?

Faced with low alumni participation, Upper St. Clair School District’s aim was to break this norm and increase alumni participation for its Class of 1988’s 30th reunion. Apart from increasing alumni engagement, the school emphasized on providing value to its alumni in the form of an online platform that facilitates networking, career prospects, event announcements, and decreased dependency on event organizers.

What Challenges did Upper St. Clair School District face?

Limited Resources

As the only person responsible for handling all alumni relations functions at Upper St. Clair School District, it was not feasible for Gordon B. Mathews, the Alumni Relations Coordinator, to keep alumni engaged at all times. As a result of this, most events such as reunions were usually organized by the respective class years independently, i.e. without much involvement from the institution. In most cases, Class Presidents (whoever was class president when their class graduated) would de facto be responsible for organizing these reunions for an eternity further limiting the scope for alumni engaging with their alma mater.

Outdated Alumni Data

Like most institutions, Upper St Clair School District was unable to keep its alumni database up-to-date, as a result of which event organizers faced major roadblocks while trying to get in touch with alumni to communicate to them any news about reunions.

Low Alumni Participation

Since there was no defined strategy to track attendees post events, Upper St. Clair School District was obviously bleeding budget and time. Since the reunions often were organized independently by class representatives, Upper St. Clair School District had little to no means to get in touch with or engage their alumni.

What Worked for Upper St. Clair School District?

Implementation of Alumni Management Software

As an initial step for better alumni management, Upper St. Clair School District set up a centralized online platform with Almabase and successfully got 1800+ alumni registered on the same. Upper St. Clair School District ensured delivery of a personalized experience to its alumni by providing them useful insights. For instance, an alum has visibility on various activities such as the number of classmates already registered for an event or the number of alumni from other batches who are also signed up on the community. Such detailed insights added to the personalized on-site experience and even acted as an incentive for unregistered alumni to sign up on the platform.

The ease-of-use factor for Class Representatives

While a centralized platform and a dedicated event page may have brought Upper St. Clair School District much closer to its alumni, the crucial role was played by the class representatives. They helped create buzz and reached out to their classmates through the Digital Directory and the Communication Center. With an easy-to-use alumni management platform at hand, class representatives were able to manage the event page by themselves and played a pivotal role in getting their classmates to sign up for the reunion.

90 alumni from Class of ‘88 signed up as a result of rallying by Class Representatives

Online Alumni Networking Platform

Upper St. Clair School District set up an online alumni network in order to reconnect with its lost alumni. With the class representatives registered on the platform, getting in touch with lost alumni became comparatively much easier.

18.47% Increase in the number of registered alumni on the online platform

A Dedicated Event Page

A designated event page for the reunion was created on the alumni network platform to communicate any updates related to the event. The Alumni Relations Coordinator at Upper St. Clair School District, Gordon B. Mathews reached out to the class representatives from Class of ‘88 and further helped them get acquainted with the platform. Each and every detail about the event, right from RSVPs to payments and emails, was handled via this page on the centralized platform.

Number of Tickets bought: 157
Number of Event Attendees: 185
Total ticket amount processed: $9960

What did Upper St. Clair School District achieve?

An Up-to-date Alumni Directory

Upper St. Clair School District was successful in finding lost alumni and updating its alumni database with the online platform. With initial help from class representatives, the platform now acts as a networking channel for alumni wherein they can provide and receive value. With the ability to fetch the latest information from Facebook and LinkedIn, it has become easier for the school to stay abreast of all that’s happening with its alumni and reach out to them in case any update needs to be shared.

Event Management Efficiency

All aspects of an event can now be easily managed by the school itself. The Alumni Relations Coordinator, Gordon B. Mathews can now single-handedly foresee everything from communications, reporting, and follow-up with ease. All this event data is captured and detailed reports can be exported within three clicks anytime. So, Gordon can now easily track and analyze alumni participation via events and various other channels. This information is especially useful in planning future events.

Decreased Burden on Class Representatives

With the school being actively involved in the event organization and overall management process, class representatives who were previously almost solely responsible for conducting reunions and other events, are now relieved of the burden. With a convenient process in place, the representatives now recommend others to reach out to the school for help. For instance, when Class of ‘89 reached out to the Class of ‘88 organizers, the latter recommended reaching out to the school.

High Alumni Participation

With the online platform seeing an 18.47% growth in alumni sign-ups and 9.53% increase in alumni interaction (amongst themselves), Upper St. Clair School District was able to attract 40% of its alumni from Class of ‘88 in less than a year.

Upper St. Clair School District continues to grow their alumni participation consistently with Almabase. You can see more of their pages here.

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