Anthology offered its higher education customers an opportunity to come together and do what they do best, educate and learn. In the first of a series of quarterly Impact Groups focused on Encompass, the company’s powerful Alumni Engagement and Fundraising solution, member institutions shared their own experiences, while learning new tips, tricks and best practices. With over five hundred participants broken up into sessions based on geographical region, the newly offered virtual experience exceeded expectations, making it clear that customers valued the chance to connect with the team at Anthology and with each other, even in this virtual format.
“We’ve had such a great turnout and so much collaboration between and among our customers. That’s really what this is all about,” said Vice President of Customer Experience, Andy Kearney, in a welcoming statement during the ninth and final session taking place this March. “It’s all about you, our customers and our partners, and as we come together, we celebrate the great work that you’ve done and how you’re leveraging your solutions and further advancing your efforts.”
Additional presenters from Anthology included Greg Kaiser, Senior Director, Customer Experience for Advancement Solutions and Dr. Mirko Widenhorn, Senior Director of Engagement Strategy, as well as the Customer Experience Managers assigned to each designated region. This gave customers a chance to interface with the Anthology team they know best, while hearing from subject matter experts and colleagues at Anthology’s other partner institutions.
In this first installment, the topic of discussion was Virtual Events, Engagement and Communications, with an emphasis on the shift to online events and strategies necessitated by the pandemic, and a look to the future, where virtual events are expected to remain a part of the new landscape. Success stories with everything from virtual class reunions and homecomings to month-long themed initiatives were showcased. Examples highlighted the unique ways institutions used the Encompass platform to facilitate their events and make their alumni community feel connected. Other ways to engage alumni from communications, including social media, to online alumni business directories were also shared, as was relevant information from an alumni survey conducted about the impact of the pandemic on alumni engagement.
In addition to targeted content presented by the team at Anthology, the 90-minute virtual sessions consisted of two SPARKS (pre-recorded customer presentations in the style of a TED talk) and breakout groups on various topics related to engagement, including large-scale events, non-event engagement and communications. During those smaller discussions, participants could engage with each other, asking questions and sharing the strategies that have worked best for them.
“These sessions have been great because on top of presenting our own content and research, we’re able to tie it all directly to examples from our partner institutions,” said Dr. Widenhorn, in discussing the value of the Impact Groups and why they have been so well-received. “There are so many success stories out there, impact groups have and continue to provide an opportunity for them to share and learn from each other, even in this new virtual format.”
Registration for the four-part annual series comes with a one-time fee of $49 for up to five attendees and $99 for groups of six or more. The sessions are only offered to Encompass customers. Future installments, to be held once per quarter, will feature additional topics, with the next sessions on Giving scheduled for May.