Nostalgia. It’s a powerful emotion and one that can be an enormous asset for alumni and donor relations professionals. If you can harness or create nostalgia in the content you share from your accounts, your supporters will connect with your institution, which is a major step towards having them connect with your fundraising mission.
To know how to create nostalgia that can transport an alum from a glum office cubicle to memories of a beautiful fall afternoon on campus, requires knowing who your supporters are and why they might feel connected to your institution. To do this, Oberlin College in Ohio hired a former student to manage their media production. The result is the following video that has been viewed (so far) nearly 20,000 times (that’s more than six times the total number of students enrolled at Oberlin) and has led to the College receiving piles of mail from alumni who are grateful for the opportunity to be transported back to the memories of their glory days on a beautiful midwestern campus.
Why did this video become a viral success and an effective form of donor outreach? Because Oberlin tasked the creation of an important piece of content – the year-end mailing – to an alum who knows the College and what makes it special. Daniel Schloss, Director of Media Production at Oberlin, understands the reasons why students choose to attend the College and why alumni like himself appreciate the place many years after their education is complete. Having social media managers in place who have an intimate knowledge of your nonprofit organization is essential. It can be innate or learned (being an alumnus, for example, isn’t required …although it does help in higher education), but either way you want the people in charge of creating and sharing content to be focused on your organization. Like any form of stewardship, you’re trying to build relationships and to do so, requires someone who has a relationship with the organization themselves. Oberlin understands this and as a result, now has a powerful YouTube channel helping connect alumni with the College.
For more on developing a social media strategy to boost fundraising, visit BWF.com.