Alumni Associations Kick Off with Bowl Season
Each year, alumni across the country rally to support their alma maters in the NCAA basketball tournament. With its dramatic upsets and buzzer beaters, March Madness is consistently one of the most exciting tournaments in collegiate sports. University alumni associations should use this opportunity to bolster support and spark engagement among their base during the Big Dance.
Of the 47 schools Alumni Monitor tracks, nine are participating the tournament, which tipped off on March 19. Tailgating events, watch parties, social media posts and ticket deals—accompanied by dedicated web pages and digital promotions—are all successful strategies alumni associations employ for this event. Here, we examine four alumni associations that stand out for their creative marketing efforts surrounding March Madness.
Syracuse is effectively showing support for its team and promoting basketball-related alumni events, both on the alumni association site and across social media. A press release and dedicated Basketball Tailgate page on the alumni association site provide alumni tailgate event details. A new Game Watch page helps alumni across the country locate their closest game watch events.
Syracuse changed the cover photo on its Twitter page to a game photo to show support during the tournament. The alumni association has also promoted game watch events in a series of posts across both Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #GoOrange.
Syracuse Twitter Post
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
UNC’s alumni association makes good use of the large banner image carousel on its homepage, with the first image celebrating the No. 1 seeded Tarheels. A dedicated March Madness page provides information on the team’s first round matchup against Iona, including date and time, as well as a link to locate the closest watch party. Notably, UNC is the only school to include relevant Instagram posts on its March Madness page, showing effective integration of its social media accounts and alumni association site.
UNC March Madness Page (Truncated)
Villanova’s alumni association is successfully using support for the basketball team to bolster donations by holding a March Madness 2019 Giving Promo. The Let’s March Nova campaign offers iPhone cases, car magnets and custom iStickers as incentives for alumni who donate at least $10 to support the Wildcats.
The alumni association is showing its strong support for the team across social media platforms using the hashtags #NovaNation and #LetsMarchNova.
Villanova Twitter Post
University of Michigan
Michigan’s alumni association is taking a creative approach to March Madness marketing efforts, holding a sweepstakes through its social media profiles. Michigan encouraged alumni to submit a picture of their bracket to the alumni-exclusive Wolverine Forum for the chance to win a $50 gift card to the M Den, the university’s online merchandise store.
Michigan Twitter Post