Everybody loves free stuff, and the MU Alumni Association knows that.
Along with other tactics, the association sends small gifts to entice people to join the club. Membership peaked in June at more than 35,000.
“We try to make it more fun so they take notice of our message and we stand out from the clutter,” said David Roloff, director of membership and marketing.
Some of the gifts people have received in the mail include personalized memo pads, address labels, MU buttons and holographic luggage tags. These mailings include information about the alumni association and an application to become a member.
Roloff said the gifts intrigue people enough for them to open the mailing and read the message the association is promoting.
The association also uses other means of recruiting members. It sends out direct-mail appeals to more than 126,000 people and uses e-mail to reach a mass audience. The association’s Web site constantly promotes the benefits of membership and offers an online application form.
The group has targeted potential members through radio and display ads and by setting up information tables at rallies and student programs. Roloff said that word-of-mouth and peer-to-peer recruiting have helped draw new members.
He said the association tries to highlight its contributions and support to the university to show potential members the importance of their involvement.
“Many people stand up and take notice and think ‘That’s not too bad — maybe I’ll sign up to be a member’,” Roloff said.
Other benefits are extended specifically to current members and recent graduates. Every member household receives an association calendar featuring photographs taken by members. Recent graduates receive application inserts inside their diploma covers while their parents are targeted to give a membership to the association as a graduation gift.
The association’s Web site also runs promotions, such as filling out a survey or answering a question about an MU experience, which are open to members and non-members alike. “We’re trying to spice things up a little bit,” Roloff said.
Ashley Guy, a freshman at MU, said she realized the benefits of being an alumni association member and joined after receiving a scholarship from the association.
“I think it’s a really great organization and something I definitely want to become involved in,” Guy said.
Some of the benefits Guy has received include a discount at the University Bookstore and invitations to athletic rallies and pizza parties. Her scholarship package also included an MU magnet and a T-shirt.
“I think it’s a way to thank you for being a part of the association,” she said. “It makes you feel like you’re important.”
The association’s Web site says that the organization’s purpose is to support the interests and traditions of the university and its alumni and focus on advocacy, communication and volunteerism.
“Not only are we trying to sell the tangible benefits but really remind and educate people of the way we benefit and support Mizzou,” Roloff said.