Customer Spotlight with Mark Steffens, Mulgrave School
Mulgrave School’s Director of Community Development, Mark Steffens 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?
We found that more people are willing to come online and answer a quick survey to connect in some way to the platform. We are seeing online fatigue so we’re going to have to find that balance between finding in person celebrations and continue with the success of how easy it is to connect people around the world. Once travelling is a possibility again, we would like to meet them face to face to try and re-engage them again.
Your Role: How has your role/department been affected during this period and how have you adapted?
The pandemic has been one of the best things that has happened to alumni engagement. It has allowed people to re-look at how we’re connecting. We’re slowly creeping up the number of people who are willing to engage online. As far as how we are able to engage, the pandemic has been positive.
COVID-19 Support: What have you found your constituents needed most during this period and how were you able to support those needs?
A new way to connect with someone that hasn’t engaged in a while. We sent out the digest and newsletter, celebrating our alumni who are on the front line of the pandemic. Speaking to our community has given them a voice to feel like they are being seen in what they are doing to help with the pandemic.
Going Virtual: What were the biggest challenges you faced in shifting all your activities to virtual ones?
It was a lot of thinking on our feet quickly. The hard things about it is creating an online event that has meaning to the alumni. We are doing our 2010 reunion, and we’re trying to think how can we present photo collages, make year books available, activities on the website like contests we can run to make it more interactive and finding those kind of tools to make it meaningful and also making these meetings shorter.
DEI – What initiatives has your institution undertaken as a result of the ongoing discussion on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion?
DEI certainly affects all of us. A few things that have come up, we have had a group of alumni that have shared their stories of their experiences in this area at Mulgrave and from there we were able to put an emphasis on DEI in the school so the students at the school will have a positive experience whilst being at the school. We’ve had an online meeting with current students and alumni which has allowed us to open up great conversations to talk about how were going to move forward on this and make sure when they leave the school that they have the tools they need on the next part of their journey. We haven’t solved all the problems, but we are definitely opening up the discussions. We did do an online discussion with the head of the school to discuss this topic as well.
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