Friday, March 5, 2010

Alumni class notes: print or online?

In January, I sent a quick-and-dirty, unscientific survey on alumni class notes to college and university editors to find out more about their use online. Thanks to the 32 editors who responded. Here are the results:
  • Do you post your alumni class notes online?
    • 71.9% Yes
    • 28.1% No

  • If you post your notes online, how do you post them?
    • 43.5% PDF of entire print magazine
    • 30.4% Special Web page devoted to notes
    • 17.4% Magazine Web site
    • 13.0% Searchable database of class notes
    • 4.3% News section of online alumni community/network

  • For those who post their notes online, have you reduced or removed them from your printed magazines or newsletters?
    • 66.7% No, we post complete class notes in print and online
    • 13.3% Removed from print publications entirely
    • 13.3% Other
    • 6.7% Yes, we have reduced the number of class notes published in print

  • Are your class notes publicly accessible online?
    • 45.5% Yes, anyone can view and search our class notes
    • 36.4% Yes, but the class notes can't be easily searched
    • 18.2% No, they are in a password-protected site for alumni

  • How often do you update your class notes online?
    • 52.2% Every time magazine is published
    • 4.3% Twice annually
    • 17.4% Quarterly
    • 4.3% Every two months
    • 21.7% As submitted

  • What are the sources of your notes? (Check all that apply.)
    • 90.3% Alumni submissions
    • 74.2% News clippings
    • 25.8% Class representatives
    • 16.1% Other: development office research, campus sources, obits only from news clippings, other alumni (but double-checked)

  • For how long do you post individual class notes online?
    • 86.4% Permanently, as part of the magazine issue
    • 9.1% Six months
    • 4.5% Two years

  • Who updates the online notes?
    • 28.6% Alumni relations staff
    • 38.1% Alumni magazine staff
    • 33.3% Communications/PR staff
    • 23.8% Other (student workers/interns, magazine designers)
As educational institutions everywhere try to find ways to save costs, many are choosing to move their class notes online from print publications. Pros: the move lowers printing costs and can drive traffic to your alumni Web sites. Cons: security concerns from alumni, potentially reduced interest in the print publications, and issues of information permanence.

1 comment:

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