Securing the future success for the Macleans College
Macleans College, New Zealand, opened in 1980 with a roll of only 199 students. The school now, approaching its 40th year, still has a compelling history to tell. It’s co-educational and is the first S80 or whanau house school to be built in New Zealand. It now also has a roll of over 2,500 students.
In 2016, the school formed its first Alumni Association bringing together past students, staff and associates wherever they were living around the world. The key aim of the Alumni Association is to promote and foster a networking environment for those that have attended the school – including past students, staff, parents right through to the Board of Trustee members. rehabilitation and transition care.
Launching a new association comes with its own unique challenges
With no current Alumni Association or history of advancement, Macleans College decided to embark on its alumni journey back in 2015. The first step in the process was to identify a history of student records dating back to the beginning.
At the top of the list of challenges were student records that were only available in hard copy format and had been stored in the school’s archive room prior to 2008. Even more disconcerting was the fact that Macleans College spent nearly a year locating student records, scanning these into digital format and then converting into excel spreadsheets.
As one can imagine, digitising school archives can only be described as terribly time-consuming. No-one knows and understands this better than Kerin Bungay, Website Designer who led the project.
“We identified early on that we really needed to bring on board a solution that would enable us to track our alumni relationships and eliminate the time-consuming manual input into spreadsheets,” confirms Kerin.
Raiser’s Edge NXT™ - Changing the alumni landscape for the better
For Kerin it has been a big-time saver especially after having to deal with manual input entry into spreadsheets since coming on board. Now, with the Raiser’s Edge solution, we were able to input data straight into one central database. “Having a solution which is hosted also means less hassle for our IT Department when updates are required.”
“We don’t have to worry about data being stored in different places or via hard copy, it’s now stored in one central database where it’s easy to make updates. More importantly, it’s enabled us to build a comprehensive picture around our alumni relationships which is critical for an association that’s just starting up” emphasises Kerin.
Kerin also highlights how the school created a Google form to help capture updated details from their alumni, including current employment details, whether partners have attended the College, other family ties or children that may have attended the college. Once captured, this information is then imported directly into the Raiser’s Edge NXT solution and Kerin admits, this has made their life much easier.
“We are beginning to form connections and can easily view the relationships between our alumni. Furthermore, we can segment that further for our campaigns – we also actively use the query tool in Raiser’s Edge NXT to extract data based on criteria such as what year the alumni attended, which house they belonged to and where in the world they live together.”
Harnessing the power of our email marketing solution
As an added bonus, Macleans College also integrated Blackbaud’s Online Express, the intuitive and simple to use email marketing solution, with their Raiser’s Edge solution to ensure they could provide a seamless communication with their alumni on a regular basis.
“Having Online Express at our fingertips has been an invaluable tool for us. We’ve used the tool on a number of occasions including our inaugural alumni event and sending out our first official Alumni Newsletter and the benefits have been significant,” says Kerin.
“By streamlining and integrating our email communications with Raiser’s Edge, we gain better transparency into the performance of our email marketing campaigns and are able to easily share these with the Association, so they too can gauge the popularity of certain emails.”
The key to long-term success: Future proofing Macleans College
Although still early days, Macleans College doesn’t underestimate the potential of using the full functionality of the solution.
They are excited about what lies ahead, and one of the key areas they are keen to explore is the Advancement area, as they continue to build a robust Alumni Association.
“We realise the solution has not been utilised to its potential. The ability for us to be able to collect donations and track fundraising in the future is beneficial as the Alumni Association continues to grow. It’s future-proofing the school and setting us up for long-term success.”
There’s no doubt in Kerin’s mind that the Raiser’s Edge NXT solution will become an integral part of the school’s future. And although the journey has just begun she also has big expectations as fundraising becomes a key pillar for the school.
“In the future, fundraising will enable our Alumni Association to provide financial assistance towards school projects, encouraging the development of students and staff in all areas of sport, academia and culture which may be in the form of scholarships, travel grants or similar support,” claims Kerin.
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