Phase 1: Getting Started

Objective: Master three basic tasks to set your club up for success.

1.1 Organizing Events

Maintain an active event calendar on your website - Face-to-face club events are perhaps the most effective way to build a thriving Wharton community in your region, so always keep your event calendar active and up-to-date. You’ll be using NationBuilder to publicize events and manage event registration. The basic thing everyone wants to know before registering for an alumni event is whether peers are planning to go. You’ll notice that every event posted via NationBuilder will display who else is planning to attend and give people who register a chance to share the event on Facebook or Twitter. Both of these features are simple, proven ways to increase event attendance. Here are some best practices for organizing events:

  • Add social media sharing - Under the specific event you’ve created at [“The name of your event”] > Settings > Social media, customize the default post that alumni can share on Twitter or Facebook after registering. For example, if you’re organizing an NYC networking event, you can edit the social share prompt to “Join me at Wharton NYC’s happy hour, register here.” A link to the event page will be included automatically.
  • Define your event tags - In the event settings, be sure to define standard tags for each event so you’ll have a clear record of who’s registered and who’s attended each event. It is often useful to use both an event-specific tag and a general event tag. For example, your registration tags might be “registered_bostonevent” and “regestered_boston_happyhour2016,” while your attended tags might be “attended_bostonevent” and “attended_boston_happyhour2016.”  Your Wharton staff liaison can offer guidance on developing an effective tag library.
  • Record attendance - During the event, be sure to keep track of who’s attending. When you’re sending follow up emails later, you can then send a different email to attendees versus no-shows.
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1.2 Managing Your Website

Keep your website content fresh and interactive - Club websites aren’t static brochures. Instead, the best club websites present a few concrete opportunities for alumni to get immediately involved. NationBuilder websites provide over 30 different page templates designed to prompt specific actions like signing up, volunteering, registering for events, recruiting friends, making a suggestion, etc. Here are some best practices for building your website:

  • Your ladder of engagement - Brainstorm your club’s ladder of engagement by ranking the main actions alumni can take via your website, from “easiest” to “hardest.” For example, JOIN < ATTEND AN EVENT < VOLUNTEER TO HOST AN EVENT is a common ladder of engagement. When alumni ask how they can get involved, your answer is clear and your website reflects this.
  • Delegate point persons - Specific types of involvement can be easily delegated to club officers by defining point persons for each page type. For example, your Secretary could be the point person for your club’s JOIN page, your Social Chair might be the point person for your club’s EVENT pages, and your President might be the point person for a VOLUNTEER page. Each time someone signs-up via these pages, the respective point person will be notified so they can follow up as needed.
  • Define tags for each webpage - Just as you set up tags for your events, you should also define tags for each page on your website. This gives you an easy way to keep track of who’s joining, registering for events, or volunteering.
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1.3 Sending Email

Send concise and compelling email - Email blasting is the easiest way to get in touch with all of your club members, but don’t forget what recipients experience! Alumni get a ton of email, so ask yourself: (1) Is an email blast necessary? (2) If so, is the email drafted to rise above the fray? Here are some best practices for sending email:

  • Less is more - Emails that contain a concise ask or invitation are often more effective than longer newsletter-style emails. Photos, too many links, and too many colors also increase the chances that your email will be inadvertently marked as spam by the recipient’s email service.
  • Learn about communication preferences - Consider asking alumni to express interest in receiving certain types of email content (eg. event announcements), and email them accordingly.
  • Create a few different Broadcasters - Think of “Broadcasters” as being the different voices of your club. When creating an email blast, you can send email from your default Broadcaster or create an alternate Broadcaster. For example, if an email contains a general invitation to the club holiday party, you might send from your default. If it is a more personal invitation, send it using a personalized Broadcaster, eg. “Jane Doe, Wharton Club of New York.”
  • Keep track of how well your emails are doing - After your emails have gone out, be sure to keep an eye on how many people are opening them and clicking on your links. Open/click rates of about 20% opened and 10% clicked are considered industry average, and many clubs do far better. If you’re not getting satisfactory open rates, consider adjusting your subject lines. If you’re not getting satisfactory click rates, edit your email body to clarify the one URL you want recipients to click. Finally, if you’re getting high spam or bounced rates, be sure to talk to your Wharton staff liaison.
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