Helping alumni help themselves

Interactive Aug 11, 2014 Helping alumni help themselves

Digital Strategist Kim Byce explains how a simple new digital service can make a big difference for alumni.

Think of everything you do online in a given day: keeping in touch, shopping, paying bills, getting news, taking classes, reading books, finding a babysitter or date. With so much of our lives occurring online, it’s easy to assume that just about every service is available there.

But if you’re an alumna or alumnus of Ohio State, there are a few simple things that, until recently, had to take place IRL. If you wanted to find a list of fellow graduates in your city, share personal news with us or register for a college tailgate, you had to call, e-mail, or--the horror!--send us something in the mail. But not anymore.

Thanks to the Alumni Online Services project, alumni in seven colleges can now interact with their alma mater in a convenient, engaging way. A collaboration between Advancement IT, Interactive Communications, Central Processing and the participating colleges (Fisher College of Business, Moritz College of Law, Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, FAES, EHE), this new user interface allows for streamlined data capture in a well-designed environment (thanks, Kevin Miller!).

When alumni log in to the new “alumni portal” section of their college website, they can:

  • update personal info
  • search for former classmates across the university
  • register for events
  • submit family, professional or other milestone news to Ohio State
  • use a directory of college alumni (though some colleges have opted to make this a premium feature, only available to Sustaining or Life members of the Ohio
    State Alumni Association)

These activities take place on Blackbaud Internet Solutions (BBIS) pages and network with The Advancement System (TAS), our customer relationship management system. Interactions are written to the TAS database--alumni can quickly and easily perform tasks themselves, so our resources can be used elsewhere.

Though some of this functionality has been available on the OSUAA web site, this marks the first time alumni can complete these actions in a space tailored specifically to their college.

Another improvement to the alumni experience? If they have questions, users are directed to the central Customer Service Center. This helps ensure a consistent level of service for everyone, as the CSC staff provides help on a range of topics.

We plan to extend BBIS services to the remaining colleges, to every alumna or alumnus. It may seem like a small thing--where CAN’T you update your info online these days?--but that’s why this is important. We must provide an increasing array of digital interactions, to keep our alumni and friends engaged. Projects like this one pave the way toward a future filled with the personalized and relevant online experiences desired--and expected--by our constituents.

About the author

Kim Byce -
Digital Strategist
Kim Byce

What can you do with an English degree? Kim has been answering that question since 2004, when she began writing for magazines. She started at Ohio State in 2008, transitioning from print to digital, and now helps partners across the university make the most of online resources.

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