Communications Toolkit

Introduction

Included here are information and tools that will help you, as alumni leaders, to communicate effectively with your members and fellow alumni. Please reach out to us if you require further assistance.

YAA Identity

Info Accordions

Use Yale Alumni Association on first reference. Upon second reference, YAA is acceptable, as is “the alumni association.” Do not use “Yale Alumni” (referring to our association) as it will be easily confused with “Yale alumni” (as in, alumni of Yale).

In terms of other differentiations:

  • We are the Yale Alumni Association.
  • Our wordmark (what you see at the top of this website) is Yale Alumni.

The wordmark and related image files – social media icons, approved colors and graphics, templates, and toolkits – for the Yale Alumni Association are available upon request.

Social Media

Info Accordions

If you are thinking about incorporating social media as part of your communications strategy, first consider your goals to determine which platform is best to use.

Is your audience primarily internal to your group or are you trying to reach a broader audience? Twitter and Instagram are open to anyone and everyone. Facebook can exist as a page (open to everyone) or as a group (approval required to be a member of the group and to see and post content).

What resources are needed to maintain your social media presence? Social media accounts need to be updated regularly to thrive and require regular monitoring to respond to comments and requests.

Which platforms are right for your organization?

Selecting the Right Platform

Facebook
 is great for fostering community, sharing features and human interest stories, and highlighting events. Its live-streaming capabilities are extremely popular. And unlike Twitter or Instagram, there is no cap on the length of video. You can also create closed groups on Facebook, which can be an excellent tool for alumni. Unlike Twitter, not all your Facebook posts will appear in the newsfeeds of your followers, though they will be able to see all posts if they come to your page. So focus on quality over quantity.

Twitter works best as a platform for news and real-time engagement (such as trending topics). It is easy to digest information on Twitter and to share it. But keep in mind: Your posts on Twitter do not have a long shelf life; people post to Twitter frequently, so your tweets will fall down a user's feed quickly. And while Twitter is primarily a text-based platform, posts perform better with videos and photos.

Instagram is a visual platform focused on capturing moments through imagery, particularly through the sharing of engaging, evocative photos and short videos. It can also be a great place for you to use photos to tell a story. You cannot, however, share posts on Instagram, like you can on Facebook or Twitter, or link to outside pages, news articles, etc. For that reason, Instagram is most useful for building affinity moreso than driving actions.

LinkedIn is primarily geared toward professional networking and job searching.

When posting, be sure to alert the Yale Alumni Association social media accounts so we can share your content. Also, use our common hashtags to help your constituents find more Yale alumni news and stories.

Tagging the YAA

Twitter and Instagram

  • To reach us via your posts, tag us at @YaleAlumni and/or using #YaleAlumni
  • The @ tag will notify us that you have tagged us in a post
  • The hashtag will show your post to anyone who searches by that #YaleAlumni hashtag (this is one of our frequent search terms in looking for content)

Facebook

  • To tag us on Facebook, type @YaleAlumniAssociation – once you start typing, it should auto populate with the Yale Alumni Association page. It will drop the @ and display as “Yale Alumni Association” on your Facebook post and will be slightly highlighted.
  • As with Twitter and Instagram, we will get a notification to the YAA Facebook page that we’ve been tagged.

Useful Hashtags

  • #YaleAlumni
  • #YaleDayOfService
  • #YaleReunion
  • #YAAAssembly

Consider privacy requirements. For more, see Data & Policies below.

Connect with some of the many existing Yale-related social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Sample Social Media Policy for Volunteer-Managed Channels

From Yale Alumni closed Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/yalealumni/.

This group is for the up to 170,000 alumni of Yale University to connect, network, learn, share ideas and class, club, city, SIG, G&PS events, engage and build community with fellow smart passionate Yalies. Without finals! Let's grow this group! 

This group is run by Yale alumni for Yale alumni. This page is not administered by the Yale Alumni Association nor Yale University nor Yale Alumni Magazine.

By joining this group, you agree to abide by its policies below and understand that group Admins and moderators will enforce those policies at their discretion.

  • This page is heavily monitored. Posts that do not contribute to alumni community-building or are determined to be antagonistic, racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise rude or insulting, will be deleted and the user may be muted, blocked and/or banned from the group immediately without notice.
  • No blatant sales, personal solicitations, job requests, political campaigning, petitions, nor fundraising, charity or contributions request posts, except in certain rare occasions.
  • Authors may promote their books, release, or signings by making a comment in the post starting with 'Authors...' which you can search for, but not individual posts.
  • Obituaries should be sent to the Class secretary or Yale Alumni Magazine. Exceptions are made for Yale public figures such as a professor, coach, administrator, etc.
  • Links to external sites are not an expressed or implied endorsement of information, products nor services. When linking to articles, it's recommended to include introductory text, question or statement that encourages dialogue and discussion and indicates Yale relevance, rather than just a link to the article.
  • While this is a closed group for Yale Alumni, we cannot guarantee that all posts remain 100% private. Anyone found to be sharing content, quotes or screenshots outside of this group may be muted, blocked or banned without notice.
  • Alumni have completed at least one semester in a degree program at Yale and are not currently matriculated as a student. This group is not for current Yale students, nor parents, children, spouses, or other relatives of Yale Alumni.
  • Be nice and respectful. Like at Yale.

From YaleWomen closed Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/yalewomen/.

We're all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let's treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.

  • Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn't allowed, and degrading comments about things like race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender, or identity will not be tolerated. 
  • Give more than you take to this group. Self-promotion, spam, and irrelevant links aren't allowed. 
  • Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What's shared in the group should stay in the group.

Follow @YaleAlumni on Twitter and Instagram. Use hashtag #YaleAlumni and your Yale event related social media posts may be reposted.

Privacy Policy

Email Marketing

Info Accordions

Email is a powerful communications tool, but it also has limitations.

  • Keep communications brief. Consider how much time your audience is likely to be willing to spend to reach your message. Direct readers to your organization's website or social media pages for detailed information if need be.
  • Clarify whether your message is informational (newsletter, general updates) or action-oriented (requesting membership contributions or event registration) and adjust the message content accordingly.
  • Make the subject line informative and inviting (i.e., that will make people want to open your email). And best practice is to use "Yale" in the subject header in some form or fashion to identify your commonality and alert the reader to the message's pertinence.
  • Remember that not all alumni can be reached by email. On average, Yale has usable email addresses for about two-thirds of our alumni, although that ratio varies across ages and schools.
  • Be sure that recipients have an “opt-out” option for future communications. Most commercial services, including YAA's free iModules chapter management service for alumni groups, include subscription management automatically.
  • Do not send mass emails from a personal email account. Most internet service providers (ISPs) will block mass emails from individuals as spam. Generally speaking, anything over 50 recipients on a single email is likely to be flagged by spam filters.

Websites

Info Accordions

Websites are a great way to give your organization additional legitimacy and visibility through internet search results.

When creating a website for your class, club, or interest group, please consider the following:

  • The establishment and maintenance of webpage content is your group's responsibility. Similar to the guidelines for social media (see above), be sure you or your leadership has the bandwidth to regularly monitor and update the webpage before launching.
  • Consider recruiting new volunteers for website editor roles. This can be a great resume-builder for more recent graduates in particular.
  • YAA provides server space and web content management (CMS) tools for group webpages.
  • Consult your YAA staff liaison for examples or more information.

Additional questions? Please visit our Online Chapter Management Toolbox for more information about the YAA's free service for alumni groups.

Promoting Your Event

Promoting your event or program is a process that begins well in advance of the event itself. In this section, we'll outline some tips for promoting your event and organizing coverage, utilizing a number of different platforms and broken up by timeline

Info Accordions

  • Start formulating a plan. How do you want your program or event publicized and covered? How do you plan to let others know about your program/event? Consider reaching out to any established Yale alumni groups in your area to see what has worked for them in promoting their events. Good questions include:
    • What has been your most successful strategy for engaging alumni?
    • Have you been able to promote your events in places other than your own mailing list and social media channels? If so, where?
    • Are you attracting a diverse array of alumni reflective of what your alumni group would like to achieve? If so, how has that been achieved?
       
  • Plans/Marketing Collateral
    • Create a basic who/what/where/when/why/how document so people can easily tell what your event or program is and why you’re planning it. A basic one-paragraph statement and title for your event/program are immensely helpful here as well.
    • Images and Graphics. If graphics, make sure they are sized for use across multiple platforms or can conform across platforms (i.e., Facebook has specific parameters for event postings, Instagram rewards square images, horizontal is better for Twitter).
       
  • Planning and Programming
    • The event topic will influence who attends. Consider the audience you are attracting with your subject matter. If you anticipate narrow appeal, consider diversifying the topic to bring in viewpoints from nontraditional sources.
    • Select a diverse group of alumni to create, execute, and follow up on events.
    • Consider having different types of events to appeal to different segments.
    • Vary price points, times of day, days of week, etc., to avoid excluding certain segments. And keep in mind, recent graduates appreciate free of low-cost events in the evenings or on weekends.

  • Execute your plan. While you want to give people at least a month’s notice in terms of publicizing your program or event, it is also good to follow up with them as it gets close to your program/event to make sure your program/event is on their radar. Don’t be afraid to resend the collateral pieces you had sent earlier; people do lose track of things, delete or file emails, etc.
     
  • Communications Vehicles
    • Web
      • Remember to work with your webmaster or vendor to ensure that your website is fully accessible.
    • Social media
      • Create a social media calendar with scheduled posts for (as applicable) Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Vary your posts and remember: not all Facebook or Instagram posts will show in the feeds of your constituencies, and it's OK to post frequently on Twitter.
      • Consider adding your event to the events calendar on Facebook. It's a great tool to gauge the level of engagement in your event.
      • Recruit ambassadors who can help spread the word about your program or event, and provide them with the tools they need to spread the word.
      • Consider a hashtag for your program and event that you can promote in advance and during.
    • Email
      • Email is an effective tool to reach out directly to your alumni.
      • Make the subject line informative and engaging. Put as much logistical information in the subject line as possible while it keeping it as short as possible.
      • Keep the message in the body copy short and to the point. People don't spend much time reading emails; they want to know the details and will engage with you further if they are interested. Good tip: use hyperlinks for related content and registration.
      • Be careful to not inundate your alumni with messages. The best plan is to send a few emails at different times: perhaps a save the date well in advance, a reminder when you're a week out, and perhaps another the day before or on the day of the event.
    • Print pieces
      • Consider which of these make the most sense for your audience and budget.
         
  • Language and Images
    • Compose content that is clear, concise, informative, bias-free, and that reflects the diversity of the alumni audience.
    • Choose images that big, bold, and reflect and that appeal to your constituency and the diversity of your alumni audience.

  • The most important thing is to make sure your program/event is a success, but if possible, dedicate one volunteer or team member to coverage for during and after the program/event.
  • This means:
    • Taking pictures – lots of pictures. Everything performs better – be it social or web – with images, and even better with video. To that end, it is best to designate a person or perhaps a few to take photos during the event.
      • Focus on short video, ideally one minute or less.
      • Make sure your photos represent the diversity of those in attendance.
      • Take candid photos as well as posed images.
      • Encourage attendees to share their photos as well, perhaps using your event/program-specific hashtag.
    • Get quotes. If you want someone to do a writeup, or even plan on doing one yourself, the details are usually already established – quotes from the organizer, centerpiece of the program/event, and participants bring those details to life.
    • Note specific details. How many people came? What was the general atmosphere? Was there anything notable or record-breaking about the program/event or its attendees/attendance?
  • Communications during your program/event
    • A larger write-up can wait (a bit), but certainly during your event you should share images and quick facts and tidbits on Twitter and Instagram. Particularly with Twitter, you can post early and often.
    • If your program/event lends itself to such treatment, livestreaming is a great option. It can be broadcast live on Facebook and then saved for others to watch later.
       
  • Data
    • As much as you can, try to capture contact information from people attending your program or event so you can reach out to them again in the future, both for future events and for information on your program.

  • Act fast to spread the word. Social media in particular depends on timeliness. If you wait a week – and sometimes even a day – to spread the word, send photos, provide details, etc., you will likely have lost the news cycle and covering your program or event will no longer be timely and relevant.
  • Follow up. Make sure that if someone else is covering your event that they have everything they need. The more – and more information – you can supply, the easier you make their job, and the easier their job, the more likely the coverage will be accurate and positive.
    • Also, be sure to follow up with your attendees to thank them for coming and to keep the momentum going.

Data & Policies

Info Accordions

Encourage your group's members to keep their contact information current with the university. Doing so will ensure you can reach them successfully and they will stay up to date on all the latest Yale news and information.

Updating Contact Information with the University

All alumni can update their own information through the online alumni directory. This is the most efficient and direct method.

When alumni ask you, as an alumni leader, to update their contact information, please send the information directly to Gifts and Records Services. Gifts & Records Services (formerly Alumni Records) is the Yale department that maintains the alumni database.

Volunteers for Yale University may have access to confidential information about alumni, parents, students, corporations, foundations, and friends of the university, including donors and prospective donors. This access is provided to volunteers on a need-to-know basis and is granted for the sole purpose of carrying out assigned volunteer responsibilities for Yale University.

All constituent information compiled and maintained by Yale should be treated as confidential and utilized only as needed in the context of a volunteer's responsibilities. Such information is the property of the university and may not be distributed or used for unauthorized purposes or for personal gain. If volunteers receive requests for an individual’s contact information they may direct alumni to the online alumni directory on the Yale Alumni Association (YAA) website at alumni.yale.edu.

In furtherance of this policy, all confidential information, data and materials should be:

  • Used only for Yale purposes.
  • Held in strict confidence at all times.
  • Stored in a secure manner.
  • Disposed of in a secure manner once no longer needed for Yale purposes. Any breach of confidentiality should be reported immediately to Yale staff.

If alumni, parents, or other constituents have questions about Alumni Affairs and Development privacy guidelines or would like information on how to request changes to their personal data or data preferences, please direct them to this website which may be updated from time to time: https://giving.yale.edu/aad-pid.

Last updated: December 17, 2018

The following policy language regarding conduct at alumni programs and events is provided as part of the YAA’s support for alumni organizations and has been approved by Yale’s Office of General Counsel.

This policy may be adopted by lifelong learning organizations, regional clubs, shared interest & identity groups, and Yale College classes. Graduate and professional school groups are also welcome to model their own policies on this text.

The language below can be adopted: (i) as a policy by the alumni group by acclimation or preferably upon motion made, seconded and approved and documented in minutes, or (ii) as an amendment to the group’s governing documents, such as bylaws or constitution.

If your group has a Facebook page or other social media channels, you may wish to review the “About” section of the Yale Alumni Facebook page and adopt the language as your group deems appropriate. For more on social media and social media policies, visit the Social Media section of the Communications toolkit.

Lifelong Learning Groups

“The [name of group] is committed to promoting and maintaining a strong sense of community among alumni and in support of Yale. This group and its officers and board are therefore expected to sponsor programs and activities that are inclusive, protect confidential information regarding alumni and students, refrain from engaging in or promoting commercial ventures or political activities, and at all times adhere to Yale’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment.”

Regional Clubs

"The [insert name of regional club] is committed to promoting and maintaining a strong sense of community among alumni and in support of Yale. This club and its officers and board are therefore expected to sponsor programs and activities that are inclusive, protect confidential information regarding alumni and students, refrain from engaging in or promoting commercial ventures or political activities, and at all times adhere to Yale’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment."

Shared Interest and Identity Groups

“The [insert name of interest group] is committed to promoting and maintaining a strong sense of community among alumni and in support of Yale. This shared interest group and its officers [and board] are therefore expected to sponsor programs and activities that are inclusive, protect confidential information regarding alumni and students, refrain from engaging in or promoting commercial ventures or political activities, and at all times adhere to Yale’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment.”

Yale College Classes

“The Class of [insert year] is committed to promoting and maintaining a strong sense of community among the Class and in support of Yale. This Class and its officers and Class Council are therefore expected to sponsor programs and activities that are inclusive, protect confidential information regarding alumni and students, refrain from engaging in or promoting commercial ventures or political activities, and at all times adhere to Yale’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment.”

Last Updated: March 4, 2019