Communications Toolkit


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

YAA Identity and Style

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Yale Alumni Association vs. Yale Alumni vs. YAA

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.

Alumnus/a, Alumni, Alumnae

A graduate of Yale who identifies as male is an alumnus, while a graduate who identifies as female is an alumna. A group of Yale graduates of more than one, or unknown, or non-binary genders is referred to as alumni. If the group of Yale graduates all identify as female, use alumnae.

Use graduate if you are unsure.


After the individual’s full name, format their class year(s) as two digits following a curly apostrophe (’). For degrees earned in Yale College, no degree notation follows the year. For degrees earned in another school of Yale, the abbreviations for the degree (not for the school) follows the year.

Jane Smith ’07, ’12 JD, NOT: Jane Smith  ’07, ’12 LAW

Social Media

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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? Instagram and X — formerly Twitter — offer an open environment for everyone. Facebook, on the other hand, can function as a public page (accessible to all) or as a group (requiring approval for membership and content visibility).

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. When it comes to social, it is best to hone your presence on one network before expanding to additional networks. 

Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Organization

Facebook: Ideal for building a sense of community, sharing news, human interest stories, and promoting events. Its live-streaming features are also popular. Unlike X or Instagram, there is no limit on video length. Facebook allows the creation of closed groups, beneficial for alumni engagement. Note that not all posts will appear in follower newsfeeds, so prioritize quality over quantity.

Instagram: A visual platform centered around capturing moments through engaging short videos and photos. It's great for sharing event photos. Instagram's "stories" feature showcases content for 24 hours at the top of followers' feeds, with the option to save in account "highlights." You can share posts from other accounts to your Instagram story, poll your audience, and link to external pages. Instagram is most effective for building affinity.

LinkedIn: Primarily designed for professional networking and job searching. Ideal for groups focused on careers and connections.

X: Best suited for news updates and real-time engagement, especially with trending topics. X is excellent for quick information consumption and sharing. However, tweets have a short shelf life as they quickly move down a user's feed due to frequent posting. While text-focused, incorporating videos and photos enhances post performance.

Threads: Similar to X, Threads allows you to share a series of connected posts, making it ideal for storytelling and in-depth discussions. Useful for providing detailed updates or narratives.

TikTok: A creative platform for short-form videos, TikTok is perfect for showcasing engaging and entertaining content. While it may not be traditional for organizational content, its popularity among younger audiences can be leveraged to reach younger audiences like recent graduates and students. 

If you have upcoming exciting events or substantial posts, please inform us in advance. By coordinating with your staff liaison and the Communications and Marketing team at the YAA, we can seamlessly integrate your photos and stories into the YAA's content calendar. We may also explore collaborative co-posts or supporting editorial articles for added effect. Let's work together to maximize the impact of your content.

Tagging the Yale Alumni Association (YAA)

Instagram and X:

  • Mention us in your posts by tagging @YaleAlumni — this alerts us to your post.
  • Enhance visibility by using the hashtag #YaleAlumni — this connects your content with broader Yale alumni news and stories.


  • Mention us by typing @YaleAlumniAssociation and it should auto-populate with our page. Your post will display “Yale Alumni Association” in the text and we will receive a notification.

Useful Hashtags for Maximum Reach:

  • #YaleAlumni
  • #YaleReunions

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

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

Sample Social Media Policy for Volunteer-Managed Channels

From Yale Alumni closed Facebook group,

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,

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 X and Instagram. Use hashtag #YaleAlumni and your Yale event related social media posts may be reposted.

Privacy Policy

Email Marketing

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Email is a powerful communication tool, but it also has limitations. An overview of email marketing basics, best practices, and a pre-send email checklist are available to all volunteers here. Key points:

  • 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.
  • 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.


Info Accordions

If you are looking to change the name or visual identity of your alumni organization, we can help. The Communications staff at the YAA are available for consultation.

Also, we have an established structure for building your new logo (seen here). If you need assets to complete your new design, please reach out to us.

Yale Alumni Association group substructure

More information on approved Yale logos, colors, wordmarks, typefaces, and more is available on the Yale Identity page, maintained by the Office of the University Printer.

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. Content performs better when accompanied with images or 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 X).
  • 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 or 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 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.
      • Submit your event to the YAA Calendar of Events. 
    • Social media
      • Create a social media calendar with scheduled posts for (as applicable) Facebook, X, 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 X.
      • 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.
      • Tag the YAA in your promotions so we can amplify them on our accounts. 
    • Email
      • Email is an effective tool to reach out directly to your alumni.
      • Make the subject line informative and engaging. 
      • 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: an initial email with details in advance, a reminder when you're a week out, and perhaps another the day before or on the day of the event.
      • The YAA events newsletter goes out every Monday morning. Events that are submitted to the YAA Calendar of Events by 12 p.m. ET the Thursday before the week of the event will be included in the following week's newsletter. This is a great way to reach a wide audience and save yourself an email. 
  • Language and Images
    • Compose content that is clear, concise, informative, bias-free, and that reflects the diversity of the alumni audience.
    • Choose images that are big, bold, and reflect and that appeal to your constituency and the diversity of your alumni audience.
    • Use language that is gender neutral; for instance, instead of “he/she,” use “they.”

  • 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.
      • In your registration forms, include a photo rights disclaimer that allows you to use attendees' name, image, and likeness.
    • 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 X and Instagram. Particularly with X, 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.
    • Be kind to yourself. Writing a post-event story is best, but if you don't have the time or the assets, use social media. The important thing is to be sure to share information about your event or program with your constituents. And be sure to use these opportunities to preview future events and programs.
  • 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.

Digital Accessibility

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As the university mission states, Yale is committed to “the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community.” That diversity includes all people regardless of ability or disability.

In an increasingly digital world, it is crucial that your digital properties are accessible to all alumni. The YAA website, for example, was built and designed to meet current accessibility standards, and as an association we have a number of tools available to ensure that your site can do the same.

Regardless of the web content management platform you are using, you can find helpful information on this topic on Yale University usability and web accessibility page.

Live events being hosted virtually (i.e., Zoom, YouTube, or a similar platform) should have auto captions provided -- information that should be communicated to invitees in advance. It is also best practice to ask if additional accommodations are needed (giving yourself lead time to do so; general practice is two weeks' lead time).

Where possible, you should turn on closed captioning for live events. For more information on captions for live events, visit the Yale Usability and Web Accessibility page.

Additional information on automatic captions for live streams is available on the YouTube help page.

Best Practices for Zoom include:

  • Enable the closed caption feature.
  • “Spotlight” ASL interpreters.
  • Manually create breakout rooms when using interpreters
  • Slow down your pace.
  • Enable “Always Show Meeting Controls.”
  • Enable the “Mute Participants Upon Entry” feature.
  • Communicate keyboard shortcuts.
  • Remember to describe images and other visual content that’s displayed.
  • Provide instructions on how participants can ask questions.
  • Send any resource links you post in chat via email as well.
  • Limit use of the Zoom polling feature.
  • Describe what you are annotating if using the Whiteboard feature.
  • Record your Zoom session.

For a more complete explanation of these recommendations, visit the Zoom story on the Yale Usability and Accessibility site.

Tips for creating accessible emails include:

  • Avoid adding images of text. 
  • Always add alt text.
  • Check the color contrast between text color and background color.
  • Use headings to structure content.
  • Make links understandable (and distinguishable from surrounding text).

For more, visit Yale's Usability and Web Accessibility page.

To learn more about how people with disabilities interact with images, and how alternative text (alt text) can provide needed information, visit the Images page on Yale's Usability and Accessibility website.

For more on how to make sure your content is accessible, try these trainings, all available on YouTube:

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

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:

Last updated: December 17, 2018

The following policy language regarding conduct of alumni groups and the volunteers who lead them 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 acclamation 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: May 11, 2021

Transparency and Identity Language

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For websites, digital applications, social media channels, and other promotional materials of groups that identify as a “Yale” group, please include the following notice:

We are a not-for-profit group, independent and separately organized from Yale University. “Yale” and associated logos are used with the permission of Yale University. The views expressed herein are not the official positions, statements of advice nor opinions of Yale University and should not be viewed as an endorsement by the University of any such views or statements. All rights are reserved.

For social media channels and other materials with text limitations, you may consider including the following in place of the above notice:

We are a not-for-profit group that is independent and separately organized from Yale University. “Yale” and associated logos are used with permission of Yale University. All rights are reserved.

For groups considering participation in activism or advocacy activities: Please review the University’s “Information Concerning Activism and Advocacy” guidelines available on the Yale Office of General Counsel website.

With respect to Yale community member identification, the guidelines specify that: “Individual members or groups of individual members of the Yale community may wish to state their affiliation with the University when engaging in activism or advocacy. When a Yale affiliation is stated, care must be taken to assure that such statement is solely for the purpose of personal identification and does not create the impression of University support or endorsement of the individual’s or group’s position or activity.”