The Alice Smith School and eTapestry

The Alice Smith School is uniquely positioned within the Malaysia market for several reasons. Firstly, it’s the oldest international school in Malaysia established back in 1946. With a 72-year history, the institution houses approximately 1,600 students.

It’s classed as one of the few not-for-profit schools in Malaysia, which matters significantly and influences the decisions made by the parents for admissions and teachers for recruitment.

According to data from ISC Research Limited*, one of the most reputable research firms in the UK, there are 170 international schools in Malaysia, with a total number of students of 71,589 enrolled in English medium international. Statistics such as this reinforce the competitive nature of the international schools market in Malaysia.

There are also some unique factors associated with The Alice Smith School, namely the diverse and dynamic community it has built that encompasses students from over 50 nationalities around the world. In addition, 86% of the school’s teaching staff are from the United Kingdom.

According to Susan Wan, Director of Development, The Alice Smith School has always boasted a rich history across its alumni relations.

For the past 72 years we’ve had a rich history of alumni and what we require is a CRM solution to help us build a strong foundation for the alumni relations program and help set us up for continued future success.  – Susan Wan, Director of Development, The Alice Smith School

Laying a Strong Foundation for its Alumni Relations Program

Before deciding to bring on board a CRM solution there were some notable challenges facing The Alice Smith School.

According to Susan Wan, at the forefront of these challenges is the overall management of their alumni relations.

“The core area of focus for our team is managing the school’s alumni relations program and ensuring the right level of engagement with our alumni – it’s this engagement that will help pave the way for success when we kick off our fundraising initiatives later in the year.”

“As a result, we were unable to track engagement and response rates from email campaigns and it was considerably time consuming,” said Susan.

In early 2017, further to attending the IDPE conference at Blackbaud’s London office, Susan Wan came across Blackbaud’s eTapestry solution. The solution was used as the key starting point to help build The Alice Smith School’s alumni relations program.

“One of the stand out benefits of the eTapestry solution is its flexibility. It enables us to add on new functions and new data as and when we require,” she emphasised.

“We wanted to integrate the eTapestry solution with Blackbaud’s Payment Services so we could provide our alumni with the ability to purchase tickets to key alumni events. Integrating with a payments platform would save us a lot of time moving forward,” said Susan.

Another reason The Alice Smith School selected the eTapestry solution was due to the reputation Blackbaud has carved in the market.

“It’s evident that Blackbaud’s brand, trust and overall product reliability within the fundraising sector is second to none, and this is reassuring for us,” she emphasised.

The Alice Smith School has always been cautious about protecting its alumni data, especially as it puts plans in place to kick off its fundraising initiatives later in the year.

“As part of our core objectives, we hope to gain the ability to track and account for every dollar that comes into the school when we kick off our fundraising efforts later this year,” she said.

One of the stand out benefits of the eTapestry solution is its flexibility. It enables us to add on new functions and new data as and when we require.”
– Susan Wan, Director of Development, The Alice Smith School

How has The Alice Smith School been utilising the solution to better manage its alumni relations and effectively drive and automate manual processes?

Firstly, the solution has managed to address the school’s key challenges through better organisation of its alumni information, providing quantifiable data that can be analysed and
utilised in reports, and enabling them to begin to develop an effective alumni engagement program.

“The investment in the solution has definitely been a key enabler to helping us develop an effective donor engagement and alumni relations program and the solution provides great value for money plus also offers us with the opportunity to grow into the future,” she said.

A Unique School with Ambitious Plans for the Future

Since going live in late 2017, The Alice Smith School currently has five staff using the eTapestry solution and these individuals are using it specifically to manage the school’s alumni relations program including its alumni events.

According to Susan Wan, the overall implementation experience was positive for the school.

“The implementation of the solution was well structured and it was beneficial to have a consultant on board that really understood our needs,” said Susan.

It’s still too early to report on quantifiable results, however The Alice Smith School believes the implementation of its eTapestry solution is already providing some clear benefits for the alumni relations and donor engagement.

“Our aspirational goal is to eventually outgrow the eTapestry solution and we are committed to taking the school on this successful journey over the next couple of years,” said Susan.

It is evident that The Alice Smith School’s aspirations are aligned to future-proofing their school not only in the short term but also well into the future.

The investment in the solution has definitely been a key enabler to helping us develop an effective donor engagement and alumni relations program and the solution provides great value for money plus also offers us with the opportunity to grow into the future. – Susan Wan, Director of Development, The Alice Smith School

*ISC Research Limited – March 2017 Data Report

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