The Benefits of a Mobile Event App at CAMMP

It is no secret that alumni are more digitally connected than they were in the past. The age of social media has risen even further with users engaging on their mobile smartphones, being able to catch news updates and share information right from their pockets. We believe that the best way to reach people is via mobile and social, and this has opened a window of opportunity to engage with alumni in ways we were never able to before.

As the 2015 Council of Alumni Association Marketing and Membership Professionals (CAMMP) conference approaches, Activate Alumni has been gearing up to bring you the QuickMobile event app that will help drive your conference experience to new heights as well as give you a taste of what a mobile event app could do for your alumni association. CAMMP15 was designed to be efficient and convenient for users, highlighting key features for the conference, such as up-to-date schedules, speaker profiles, and exhibitor details. The CAMMP15 app gets to the heart of the conference, enabling easy attendee networking and content sharing.

Having used mobile event apps four straight years in a row as part of my other position as VP of Digital Marketing at HPN Global, we are learning quickly about the mobile event app’s effectiveness. Hospitality services meets internet marketing in a neat place, allowing those like myself to reach not just major corporations, but to better understand, and perhaps most importantly, to create authentic connections with alumni bases.

This CAMMP15 mobile event app will help you learn about other attendees, and if used in an alumni setting, will help you further learn about your graduates in real time. If your alumni association is attending the CAMMP conference this year on July 7-9, download the CAMMP15 app to see what we mean, and stop by our booth to find out more on how mobile event apps can benefit your alumni engagement efforts.

Bryan Bruce
Chief Social Officer, Activate Alumni

Engaging Young Alumni

Once your new graduates leave campus and receive their diplomas, it can often be difficult to remain in contact with this highly fluid demographic. Addresses and names change, causing a real problem when trying to maintain a robust database and achieve your advancement goals.

At Activate Alumni, we know that despite all these changes after graduation, one thing remains constant for your graduates: their social media accounts. With the average user spending 21 minutes a day on Facebook alone, social is becoming a communication platform that can’t be ignored.

Before your seniors leave campus, we encourage you to connect them to your social environment. This will allow you to have a strong communication platform during their inevitable young alumni life changes.

Whether you’re looking to encourage early donation conversions, acquire young alumni memberships, or attract your alumni to become active in your local and regional groups, social marketing allows you to talk to them where they’re already paying attention.

For a case study on our Senior Connect campaign, please visit our website or feel free to contact me directly at

Our goal is to help you maintain your relationship with your alumni well into the future.

Be sure to sign up for our next webinar entitled Understanding LinkedIn: A Marketers Breakdown on Thursday, May 14 at 3 p.m. EDT.


Joshua Moser

The Benefits of Integrated Marketing

When you try new things, change is bound to happen. When your alumni association switches to integrated marketing, change can appear in the form of thousands of new alumni contacts as well as show a significant increase in alumni engagement.

With integrated marketing, you can use the marketing practices you are already comfortable with. Social marketing just allows you to take your relationship with your alumni to the next level, even as you continue to send direct mail solicitations, e-newsletters, phonathon, and regular social media posts.

Strengthen the relationship by letting your alumni know your institution is trying to do more than “just ask for money.” Let real relationships develop through simple yet advanced social marketing strategies, so when it comes time for a campaign solicitation, your alumni are already on board. At Activate Alumni, we are partnering with direct mail vendor Intelliform to combine the power of online marketing with the trustworthy practice of direct mail. This allows you to reach maximum exposure to your alumni audience.

Set up long term goals and begin to understand the preferences of your alumni. We understand that your association is just as unique as your alumni are, so give us a call at 888.714.7814 or email us to start the conversation about integrated marketing and how Activate Alumni can help your institution now and in the future.


Danielle Wilberg
Chief Strategy Officer, Activate Alumni
1.888.714.7814 |

Bad Alumni Data?

Social marketing often gets a lot of lip service in higher education fundraising, but the investment pays off when you see the long-term goals achieved internally. One of the biggest benefits of social and digital marketing is the ability to capture personalized information on your alumni and upload it right back into your database to keep alumni engaged.

Activate Alumni is working with institutions all over the country to help enrich their alumni data. Here are just a few of the data points that we can easily identify on your behalf:

  • Lost alumni record updates
  • Locating international alumni
  • Tracking of recent graduates
  • Business information

The above data just scratches the surface of possibilities. Our technology can overlay advanced segmentation information to reach alumni who have the highest potential to participate with your advancement efforts.

If you want to grow the sophistication in your data while taking advantage of advanced segmentation, you need to start thinking about social marketing. Activate Alumni can help.

Want to learn more? Email or call 888.714.7814 to begin the conversation.


Chief Strategy Officer
Danielle Wilberg

Social Media vs. Social Marketing

Communications professionals know that the digital landscape has changed dramatically, marked by the rise of social networks in the past decade and a significant shift to mobile platforms in the last two years. Traditional direct mail response rates, which were never great to begin with, continue to decrease for every age group, and consumers often delete emails before they even finish reading the subject lines. “They don’t respond like they used to” is a common refrain we hear from universities when we first meet. Sound familiar?

The truth is, today’s consumers will only respond to your messages when — and if — it’s convenient. It’s the era of social marketing, and this means more than just updating your Facebook page. You need to expand your social reach with engaging communications, and you need to make it easy and intuitive for people to respond.


Let’s say your university’s basketball team just made it to the NCAA Tournament. You post a congratulatory message on your alumni association’s Facebook page and share some photos from the main university Facebook page. You create Facebook events for local alumni watch parties. You ask your alumni to tweet about the game with a special hashtag. You get a smattering of alumni to like, comment, and share. That’s social media. With social marketing, you take this opportunity five steps further with an integrated campaign spanning social media, email, a giveaway or contest — all supported by a modest ad spend that can kick up your fan count and build engagement that will spread like wildfire. With this scenario, your initiative could touch hundreds of thousands.

While the first steps might seem overwhelming, Activate Alumni can help. We’ll listen to you tell us about your unique school, from politics and roadblocks to goals and success stories. Then, we’ll talk strategy.

If you want to see growth in your response rates, you need to start thinking about social marketing. Activate Alumni can help, and the results will amaze you.

Have questions? Email or call 888.714.7814 to begin the conversation.


Chief Strategy Officer
Danielle Wilberg

Next Stop: CAMMP Conference at Iowa State University

We just got back from the 2014 Big Ten Alumni Relations & Development Conference in Wisconsin, and now it’s off to Iowa for the 18th Council of Alumni Marketing and Membership Professionals Conference! We’ll be at CAMMP July 22-24, 2014.

Over the past two years, there’s been a major shift in the way alumni engage with communications from their alma mater. Our Activate Alumni team is excited to share the latest social and mobile marketing strategies with you at the CAMMP conference.

Did you know:

  • More than 9,824,000 alumni from universities attending the CAMMP conference have identified their alma mater on Facebook
  • More than 3,101,400 graduates of these schools have an identifiable donation history on Facebook

Want to know how your school stacks up? Stop by our booth at CAMMP and we’ll give you up-to-the-minute numbers on your university. Key members of the Activate Alumni team will be available to discuss your department’s goals, strategy, and plans for the future. Plus, we’re giving away a yearlong subscription to the Wine of the Month Club, so save a business card to toss in our fishbowl!

Not headed to CAMMP? We’d love to chat about your department’s specific challenges and vision. Send Danielle an email and we can coordinate a time to meet.


Chief Strategy Officer       CEO
Danielle Wilberg               Joshua Moser

Meet Us at the Big Ten Alumni Relations & Development Conference

We’re headed to the 2014 Big Ten Alumni Relations & Development Conference July 16-18! We can’t wait to talk to this group of heavyweight universities about how to adapt their marketing strategies for the age of social and mobile marketing.

We’ll be part of a panel discussion and available for one-on-one chats, so if you’re headed to Wisconsin next week, send Danielle an email today and let’s preschedule a time to meet during the conference.

Over the past two years, there’s been a major shift in the way alumni engage with communications from their alma mater. During the conference session Mobile and Social Marketing Strategies to Connect Young and Lapsed Graduates, Danielle and Josh will join a panel discussion led by University of Illinois Alumni Association marketing staff. We’ll discuss Illinois’ transition to a significantly more effective — and measurable — marketing strategy, one that has grown the effectiveness of their social channels and tapped into the power of smartphones to boost email open and click through rates by more than 150%. We’ll show attendees exactly what we did to build a series of integrated Facebook campaigns supported by mobile-optimized email communications, and we’ll talk about the impact of the lift in engagement and activation of alumni that ensued.

If you can’t make it to the conference, you can still get in touch with Danielle today to learn tactics and strategies you can apply to membership and donor communications for your university.

Getting up to speed: Aligning alumni marketing with today’s technologies

Prior to joining the team at MSM, I had the privilege of serving the University of Illinois Alumni Association as the AVP of Membership and Marketing. During my tenure at Illinois, I struggled with finding new ways to engage and activate the university’s alumni. It was a challenge to get them to participate within our association and consequently the university at large. The more effort we put into traditional marketing tactics, the more frustrated we grew with our declining revenue and participation.

Illinois’ direct mail investment was continuing to deliver poor response rates — declining to less than 1% for new acquisitions — and our new grad campaigns fell short with the bulk of alumni association emails going unopened.

University of Illinois Alumni Reconnect Marketing CampaignWhen it came to the digital marketplace, our alumni association had difficulties navigating modern tactics even though we were maintaining a decent social media presence, producing electronic newsletters, and sending specialized emails. We were unaware of the technological advancements at our disposal to truly market a campaign and successfully reach alumni. It was hard to know where to start. That’s where MSM came in. With their help, we were finally able to make the transition into a more effective social marketing environment.

Running an engagement campaign was our first step. Without any expectations of what success might actually look like given our past failures, MSM’s first initiative for Illinois resulted in almost 7,500 new Facebook page likes with corresponding updated email addresses, increasing our outreach potential by 133%.

danielleI get it. New digital marketing technologies can feel overwhelming, especially when implementing them at a university feels like turning the Titanic. But the power and impact of strategies like the ones MSM employed for Illinois are critical to reaching and engaging alumni today. I was so moved by the results I decided to revamp my career, becoming MSM’s Chief Strategy Officer with the goal of helping universities across the country advance their marketing.

View the case study to learn more about the University of Illinois engagement campaign, or get in touch with me directly: 888-714-7814,

Engaging Alumni: Cedarville University’s 5.15 Challenge

24-Hour Donation Drive Raises 2x Original Goal

At midnight on May 15, 2014, Cedarville University launched a 24-hour donation drive designed to raise $51,500 in a single day. The campaign was kept secret prior to launch. On May 15, alumni and friends were contacted via email, promoted and organic Facebook posts, and a university-run call center. A simple campaign website contained a mobile-friendly donation form, as well as photos and text for quick social sharing. Within 24 hours, Cedarville had raised $129,212.03.

A month earlier, MSM designed and executed a 30-day AlumniReconnect campaign to capture attention of Cedarville University alumni on Facebook, encouraging them to connect to the alumni association Facebook page and provide updated email addresses. In exchange for liking the Facebook page and updating their contact information, alumni and friends were entered to win university-branded gear.

The Alumni Reconnect campaign laid the groundwork for the success of the 5.15 Challenge, boosting the university’s data set by 11%. With positive social engagement from 12,879 Cedarville alumni and friends during the reconnect, the audience was fresh and ready to receive the 5.15 Challenge.

MSM email reporting shows that 63% of contactable alumni were reached during the day-long 5.15 Challenge, resulting in 686 donors giving a total of $129,212.03 to Cedarville — double the university’s intended goal.

In addition to building a receptive audience through the Alumni Reconnect, MSM was responsible for planning and writing all 5.15 Challenge Facebook posts, carefully managing the Facebook advertising budget, and writing, building, and sending three mobile optimized emails over the course of the 24-hour campaign.

Major university AVP Danielle Wilberg joins the MSM team

The newest addition to the MSM team is Danielle Wilberg, who took her place as Chief Strategy Officer for MSM’s Activate Alumni brand in May 2014. With an impressive background in university advancement, Wilberg will lead MSM’s higher education sales sector.

Located in Rochester, Michigan, MSM ( is a leading digital marketing agency focused on helping clients in diverse industries including higher education, hospitality, retail, and professional sports. The MSM team creates and executes holistic marketing plans that harness the potential of the latest social platforms and communication technologies, building seamless user experiences that inspire engagement and next steps.

Previously, Wilberg was associate vice president of membership and marketing at the University of Illinois, where she focused on designing strategic campaigns to grow the alumni association and increase donations. Her leadership experience in higher education gives her deep insight into the best ways to boost both alumni engagement and fundraising for institutions large and small.

As she transitions to her role at MSM, Wilberg said, “I see this as an opportunity to expand my vision for higher education alumni engagement across many institutions, exceeding their long term goals.”

“Not only do I like to plan the next steps, I like to be a part of the process,” Wilberg said.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Danielle today: 1.888.714.7814 or

Even when Wilberg is not on the clock, she looks for ways to bring others together by volunteering in her community. With unique key strategies in mind, she is excited to join the MSM team and help universities nationwide get serious about measuring return on investment.

Contact Us

Activate Alumni by MSM
438 Main Street, Suite 201
Rochester, Michigan 48307

Phone: 888.714.7814


MSM – The Alumni Marketing Experts

MSM offers technology driven social media, marketing, website development and business analytics built specifically for higher education. As early adopters of all new technologies, we enjoy finding alumni marketing applications for emerging social and mobile platforms.

We know how to adapt to the rapidly changing social landscape — and how to lead our clients through successful transitions into new opportunities as they become available.

For more information about MSM’s full suite of technology driven marketing solutions, visit our agency website at