Connecting with Alumni Through Sports

Catholic high schools are in a constant state of trying to get more contact with their alumni, and for good reason. Making alumni feel connected with the institution that played a large role in their formative years means they are more likely to share some of their success with their high school alma mater later in life. But the big question is how do schools make and keep a connection?

To me, one of the most obvious answers is through sports. Catholic education has a long, storied history with sports. From the CHSAA, to Rudy, there has definitely always been something special about Catholic sports. Basketball and football are the big ones, but soccer, swimming, and even smaller sports like fencing all have great histories when it comes to Catholic education.

So it really amazes me when even Catholic schools that have great sports programs keep them within the walls of the school and instead insist on updating their alumni with SAT scores. For the right audience, providing a feed of information about the comings and goings of a school’s sports program can get people really involved.

Will you have legions of alumni following your programs every move? Well, probably not. However, in the last 3 or so years with the spreading of smart phones, many people (young and old), keep tabs on a dizzying number and variety of sports. They are seeing tons of institutions flow through their sports update stream, so why not your school? And how? Here are some tips to get started:

Start an Athletics Twitter Account

Twitter is especially well-suited to sports updates, where timeliness matters. Starting a school athletics Twitter account and updating it with scores and athletic news is a great start. The timelier the better, as well – see if someone in your athletic department can update the feed with scores at the actual games.

One caveat – be careful not to over-tweet with this account. People don’t need to know about every touchdown, but a rapid-fire sequence of tweets in a close ending to a big game is a good idea.

Start an Athletics Blog

The amount of time people spend reading about sports is staggering. A blog dedicated to your school’s sports program is sure to attract readership, which means you can slip in things like capital campaigns and other school gift opportunities into the sidebar or even into articles.

Try tracking down successful sports alumni and interviewing them for the blog. They’ll usually be more than happy to help, and it’ll have your readers reading an “alumni success story” without them even knowing it.

Look Into an Athletics Website

Many school website packages have an athletic website option. This is a separate site that holds information on schedules and scores. This is great, but make sure you have a plan and the resources to update it.

Get the word out there!

Especially if you are having a good run in a sport, get the word out! Put something on your school’s home page, get the word out on Twitter or other alumni message streams. Your goal is to reach the people who love sports and get them hooked on yours. It’s not too hard – all you need is some sports and some eyeballs!

Remember, when you are selling sports, it is an easy sell! Make it fun, make it interesting, and you’ll find yourself with a portion of your alumni more connected and aware of your school.