Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We've got the questions. Have you got answers?

We have been continuing our efforts to reach out to our alumni at the MetroWest Jewish day schools. In March we used Survey Monkey to send out surveys to all of the email addresses we had for alumni. Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/ Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School’s survey went first, Hebrew Academy of Morris County was second to release its survey and Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union went last. We sent out an email through Constant Contact letting alumni know about the survey. Each school’s email was branded with their logo. For an example, click here.

The survey touched on aspects of every one of our key areas: Programming, outreach, leadership cultivation, fundraising, communication, recognition and database.

Originally we had hoped to ask for information about three different things: Alumni contact information, alumni programming preferences, and where alumni get their information so that we could make sure we are using our resources to target those same media. Unfortunately, the first draft of the surveys was way too long, so we cut the media portion in favor of a shorter, more manageable survey. A future survey will likely include questions about where alumni get their information and an evaluation of our communications with them.

The schools are in different positions in terms of maintaining contact with their alumni, so the rate of return was different for each, ranging from a 5 percent response rate to a 22 percent response rate. At Hebrew Academy of Morris County, a pre-K through 8th grade school in Randolph, NJ, we identified 17 new alumni from the survey and nine newly found non-grads who left before 5th grade for a total of 26 new alumni. From that list we captured about 20 new/updated email addresses. Our two larger schools -- Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy/ Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School and Solomon Schechter of Essex and Union -- are still parsing their data.

While we were hoping for more postal and email addresses, we got solid data on what our alumni would like to see from us and how responsive they might be to our messages. Alumni overwhelmingly favored class reunions over school-wide reunions. They were mostly on the younger end; 10 years out of school or less. They are interested in news about their former classmates and news about former teachers. Networking events took third place. Contrary to surveys that indicate millennials are interested in social service projects, our young alumni population did not seem interested in such an event.

So now the fun begins! We will be using the data to plan programs that will engage our alumni and reconnect them with our schools. We will also be enlisting the help of the alumni who were interested in volunteering to plan programs and reach out to their alumni friends and relatives.

No comments:

Post a Comment