Customer Spotlight with Billy Falatko, Georgetown Preparatory School
Billy Falatko, Director of Alumni Engagement at Georgetown Preparatory School tells us how his institution weathered the storm of COVID-19, growing their community and intensifying relationships with their constituents.
Strategy – What was your top strategic change during this period and are these changes long-term?
Our top strategic change was simply continuing to find ways to fully engage our alumni community during these unprecedented times. We have an amazing alumni network that spans all across the world. That is where our alumni platform, GP Connect, has proved to be incredibly valuable.
We launched the platform last spring, and after a few months, we have reached nearly 1,200 registered users. We spent the summer brainstorming ideas and finding best practices in order for us to construct the best plan that we ended up launching this past fall.
Our goal was two-fold; grow the content first, then grow the users. We created a plan that included daily posts each week consisting of alumni spotlights and interviews, historical photos, virtual events via Zoom, raffles for registered users with Georgetown Prep prizes, weekly updates as to what’s going on at the School, and much more.
We want GP Connect to be the main source of information and engagement for our alumni. We have built a solid foundation with the countless opportunities that the platform has provided, and we plan to not only continue with our current plan but to also further grow and expand the possibilities as they become available.
Your Role: How has your role/department been affected during this period and how have you adapted?
Due to the pandemic, everyone has been living in this virtual world. We have had to think and act differently and always be ready to adapt. We have had to overcome the same challenges as everyone else. But with the combination of the amazing group of people who work in our department and an alumni network who possesses such a strong admiration for the School, we have found ways to rise to the occasion.
One of the strengths of Georgetown Prep is the sense of community that spans across the students, faculty and staff, and alumni network, whether we are in person or virtual. I believe that has been one of the pivotal reasons as to why we have seen such success with GP Connect.
COVID-19 Support: What have you found your constituents needed most during this period and how were you able to support those needs?
Like all other independent and secondary schools, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Georgetown Prep’s campus operations and has affected our families in a multitude of ways. A number of our current families have suffered from financial displacement and needed our support to ensure their son could remain at Georgetown Prep.
Early in the pandemic, the School initiated a short-term duration campaign, Prep Strong: Keeping Our Family Together, to provide further support to our families in need and to add to our financial aid budget.
Georgetown Prep was able to raise close to $1 Million in additional aid to support our families in need. The Prep Strong Campaign ran from April 21 through June 30.
Going Virtual: What were the biggest challenges you faced in shifting all your activities to virtual ones?
Again, like other schools, we had to shift to an entirely virtual landscape through the spring of 2020. We hosted a number of events, including our first ever virtual Gala, where we exceeded our budgeted goal by 25%.
The Georgetown Prep community came together to support our institution. A large component of the evening was raising money to support the Prep Strong campaign which directly supported our students.