The ACLC suggests the following successful leadership tools for your use as a class leader. New tools will be introduced on a timely basis. If you have any comments or would like a hands on experience please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep your Class connected! Below we will share some best practices for you to consider when engaging your class year round.
The goal of the newsletter is to provide classmates with fresh, new information that is relevant specifically to the class and developed for the class by its members. Your newsletter will keep your classmates informed, engaged, connected and passionate about Penn. All classes have an opportunity to send out an e-newsletter once a month. A class editor can create their own electronic newsletter sent in the body of an email, or they can use a newsletter template provided by the Penn Alumni Communications team.
- Short and to the point content allows your newsletter to be easily opened and is the most successful format.Contact information (email and telephone number for the Alumni Relations and The Penn Fund representatives assigned to your class)
- Dates for Homecoming, Alumni Weekend and any relevant, class-specific information
- Links to Penn information whose content you may find helpful:
Penn Alumni Homepage
Alumni Class Web Pages
Red and Blue Online Newsletter
Newsletters for all Classes of 1970 and younger will be sent via email and posted electronically on their respective websites. Classes prior to 1969 have the option of either an electronic or traditional mail format. All Old Guard classes will continue to receive print newsletters.
Sample Print Newsletter
Getting it done:
Keep in mind that for print newsletters, the design, production, review, and mailing of class newsletters usually take six to eight weeks. For electronic newsletters, classes should allow at least three weeks for the creation, approval, and submission of the newsletters via email.
The use of email represents an opportunity to make the communications process more timely and effective. Through a combination of email and websites, it is possible to reach out to the class, at low cost, with content that can be both interesting and timely. CLICK HERE to view the Communications Calendar for Class Emails.
Example of a past reunion broadcast email:
Frankly Penn blog example:
Class of 1967 50th Reunion March email
Examples of past non-reunion broadcast emails:
Class of 1973 Spring email
Class of 1985 Spring Newsletter
Class of 1993 Service Projects
Class of 1969 Fall Newsletter
February 3 Spring template with cover letter
Class of 1972 Memories Project
Frankly Penn blog
Class of 2005 New Year email
The Power of Social Media
Facebook is a social networking web site (like LinkedIn or Twitter) that connects people with their own friends and peers. The advantage of Facebook is that it allows for peer-to-peer networking led directly by members of your class. Access the main Facebook site at www.facebook.com to set up your own account.
A Facebook fan page is a way to belong to a virtual community focused on a common interest. Users are able to create a page geared toward a particular affiliation (such as a reunion class). Anyone who “likes” the page becomes a “fan,” so alumni volunteer administrators can communicate to all “fans” at one time. Admins can easily post updates of new events, share information, and upload photographs that appear directly on the “news feed” of each fan’s home page. Fan pages are visible to all Facebook users, and have less privacy but more visibility than groups. They are easier to find and allow administrators to track page visits.
Groups have more privacy options, including the most private option (a closed, invitation-only group), which can be a disadvantage when classmates are trying to search for a group on their own. Posts are only visible to group members, and all members receive a notification (in their preferred format) when any member submits a post. Group members can participate in chats, upload photos to shared albums, and invite all members to group events.
Your class leadership can choose to have a fan page, a group, or both if you prefer.
Some classes have chosen to set up a class group that is their permanent location for connecting members with their class (i.e. PennClass86). For some younger alums, this group may have even been set up when acceptance letters went out. For a reunion year, a specific fan page may be created (i.e. UPenn Class of 1986 Reunion). This page is used to communicate specifics of the reunion planning and festivities. After the reunion, the fan page may be left with the pictures and comments from the event, and another fan page may be created for the next reunion. The group is the permanent home of the class where pictures from the college years can be safely uploaded.
Guidelines for Getting Started:
Start early—launch your fan page or group well before your reunion to build momentum.
Use the name format “Penn Class of XXXX” to help classmates find your page/group.
Notify your Penn staff liaison as soon as you have created your page/group (to avoid duplicating efforts with other classmates).
Conduct Facebook searches for classmates to ask them to join the group or “like” your page.
Get members excited by uploading pictures from your yearbook.
Use the wall to post new events, bi-weekly updates, fundraising results, etc.
Do assign a point person from both the class gift and outreach committees to ensure that you have an equal representation of each on your group or fan page, if possible.
Suggested Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’t overuse the email function in a group. Be strategic in your communications. More is not necessarily better.
Do use the wall to post regular updates (as opposed to emails), though again, exercise caution about the frequency of updates.
Do make sure to send the attendee lists to Penn ahead of an event if you are tracking your attendance through Facebook.
Do be sensitive to the privacy requests of your classmates when posting and tagging photos, especially on a fan page which can be viewed by the public.
Consider creating a group for your class (Penn Class of 1962) which will provide more privacy, and a fan page for your reunion (i.e., Penn 1962 50th Reunion). During the reunion itself, ask a couple of classmates to post photos from the weekend (using their mobile devices), so classmates who could not attend can be there “virtually!”
How to find individual classmates:
You can look up classmates by typing the person’s name in the Search box.
You can also log in to Facebook, then type the following web site into your web browser’s address bar: http://www.facebook.com/srch.php?ref=ffffc, then enter the school and year under “Classmate Search.” Remember that graduate school alumni will appear as well.
Sample Facebook Pages
2001: http://www.facebook.com/pages/UPenn-Class-of-2001/141068372608810 (fan page)
1986: http://www.facebook.com/upenn86reunion25 (fan page, reunion-specific)
1986: http://www.facebook.com/groups/49398110814 (group Page, permanent home for class)
1990: http://www.facebook.com/groups/PennClassof90 (closed group)
2005: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=199423235580 (open group)