McMaster Welcomes Students Home

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Congratulations to McMaster University, our 2020 Honor Roll Winner for Build Brand Legacy!


For the last two years, McMaster has conducted a Welcome Notes initiative, soliciting alumni to submit a special note that could then be passed along to a first-year student, welcoming them to campus. Challenges included being able to only send notes to students living in residence, to needing more notes overall, and to the time and effort required to hand-write each postcard that would be sent. Year one brought around 800 notes, but year two saw a sharp decline. McMaster’s passion for this initiative to introduce students to a lifetime of McMaster connection led them to look closer at their Encompass tools.


McMaster decided to utilize the Encompass email system, email list with merge fields, as well as taking advantage of a Scoreboards free trial. In order to entice alumni to submit a note, they used three different leaderboards, thus creating competition between graduation decades, faculties, and residence buildings. The team created an event to capture this information and the messages submitted by alumni. Prizes were awarded, including socks for the graduation decade that submitted the most notes, a pizza party for the residence building with the most notes, and donations from the Alumni Association for the faculty with the most notes submitted.


The third year of the Welcome Notes initiative brought in 1,182 submissions! Notes came from across the world and were emailed to each incoming student, with separate versions going to those on and off-campus. Emails saw a 91.4% and 87.6% open rate, respectively, and 22% and 16% click-through rates. The most exciting stat of all? Both emails had ZERO unsubscribes! McMaster has been able to share some of the notes on social media and online, for all students, faculty, friends, alumni, and supporters to gain encouragement from.

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