EMAIL + MARKETING SERVICES
Looking to manage and communicate with a growing number of contacts across your affiliate? Want to design and send out an affiliate newsletter? Need to keep in touch with your program Alumni? How about a reminder to last year’s students and mentors to register for the upcoming program year?
The following mass email and marketing sites can do all of this and much more.
Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that helps you share email and ad campaigns with students, mentors, sponsors and other interested parties. Their approach to marketing focuses on healthy list management practices, beautifully designed campaigns, and powerful data analysis.
You don’t have to be a designer or tech whiz to use Mailchimp. Their design tools make it easy to create sophisticated campaigns that shine a light on the best of your affiliate.
Constant Contact provides a range of intuitive marketing applications designed to help small businesses and nonprofits expand their customer bases and nurture relationships. Solutions include email marketing, event marketing, social campaigns and reporting, survey management and offer management—all of which are available either independently or as part of an integrated suite called the Constant Contact Toolkit.
Constant Contact’s email marketing application allows businesses to import customer data from spreadsheets or email clients, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. Email sign-up forms can be personalized and embedded on web pages or on Facebook to capture new contacts and build email lists.
The system offers hundreds of customizable email templates with drag-and-drop elements and also includes real-time reporting features to track email opens, clicks, forwards, social shares and more.
Every affiliate has an official ACE email account through Microsoft Office 365 that includes a suite of useful applications. We are unable to provide in-depth technical support but there is plenty of information available online, so you can learn more about how each application may assist you in more efficiently running your affiliate. The two applications we believe to be most useful to affiliates are Outlook Email and OneDrive for Business.
Some affiliates are already accessing their email directly and sending emails from this account. Others have set it to forward to a group of affiliate leaders without directly logging into the affiliate email account. If you’re not sure how your affiliate email is set up, or need help accessing your account, contact your regional director. We are here to help you set up your account in a way that best fits with your affiliate’s needs.
You can access your Microsoft Office 365 account here. Login with the credentials you were provided by your regional director. If you already have Microsoft Outlook installed on your machine you can add the mailbox to your setup.
OneDrive for Business is a fantastic tool to let you create and share documents that are accessible via the cloud. This tool also gives you the ability to collaborate with others and share information with some control. OneDrive also acts as backup system of sorts for up to 1TB of data. If you keep your work in your local OneDrive folder, you can access it anywhere you go online. Once you have setup a OneDrive for Business folder you can use the following online apps: Word, Excel & PowerPoint.
Your 0365 License entitles you to a One Drive account that can be used to share, collaborate on and store files for your affiliate. However, it does not extend this license to other users. So while you can share files and folders for others (affiliate leaders, team leaders, etc.) to view and edit, only those with the login credentials can manage the one drive account. You could also share the login credentials with more than one user, which would allow others to manage the account remotely. But we don’t recommend sharing the credentials with too many people.
TranslationServices.com is a web-based translation agency dedicated to making professional translation services more affordable and accessible to individuals and small businesses. It is also committed to giving back to communities through its social mission.
Language translation is an important component in any organization’s efforts to increase its reach. Whether you are looking to translate email newsletters, adapt your website to be read in other languages, or add subtitles to a promotional video, TranslationServices.com can help meet your needs without breaking the bank.
TranslationServices.com believes every business can help make the world a better place. With that in mind, for every translation order it receives, the agency donates five books to a homeless shelter to encourage literacy skills and a love of reading among the underprivileged. It also provides pro bono translation to various nonprofits and translates urgent public health info.
EVENT MARKETING SERVICES
Use these services to help streamline all aspects of your affiliate events. From sending out invites, to tracking RSVPs, collecting donations and ticket fees and sharing important info with attendees, these event management sites can help you put on an exciting and memorable ACE event!
Eventbrite is a U.S.-based event management and ticketing website. The service allows users to browse, create, and promote local events. The service charges a fee to event organizers in exchange for online ticketing services, unless the event is free.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERVICES
These services allow for more efficient teamwork. From document collaboration to internal messaging to sharing calendars, assigning tasks and setting deadlines – help get your ACE program leadership on the same page with these workflow focused applications.
Basecamp is an online project management tool from 37signals. Some affiliates use it extensively for their Team Leader (and some Board of Director) communications. Over the course of a school year, there is potentially a huge amount of communication across the board from all parties. Basecamp has the power to put this all in one place, where all parties are able to access it, with separate sections for messages, tasks and files.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the scenario of an email message between several recipients, each replying to ‘all’ and the thread getting longer and longer (and more indented), making it difficult to find who said what, when. And then someone only replies to the sender, so the thread gets fragmented. With Basecamp that message thread would be a simple chronological page of messages, with each message clearly identified with its sender.
Another important advantage of Basecamp over email is that all Team Leaders will be able to access the messages, so in the event that they would require a specific piece of program information, access to a file or communicate with the entire affiliate (Team Leaders) – they can do so rather quickly.
Asana is the work management platform teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks that grow business. Similar to Basecamp, Asana has the power to put all of your affiliate’s information in one place, where all parties are able to access it, with separate sections for messages, tasks and files.
Get organized: Plan and structure work in a way that’s best for you. Set priorities and deadlines. Share details and assign tasks. All in one place.
Stay on track: Follow projects and tasks through every stage. You know where work stands and can keep everyone aligned on goals.
Slack is a collaboration hub for work, no matter what work you do. It’s a place where conversations happen, decisions are made, and information is always at your fingertips. With Slack, your team is better connected. Project discussions and important documents all live tidily together in Slack. With your team and information in one easily searchable place, collaborating online is as easy as collaborating in person.
Communication in Slack happens in channels, organized by project, topic, team, or whatever makes sense for you. Conversations in Slack are searchable by everyone, so you can tap into company knowledge and find information when you need it.
TEXT MESSAGING SERVICES
We all know students will check and respond to a text long before they open an email. The same is true for some mentors and board members (we won’t mention any names 😉 ). Thanks to these services, it is easy and free to send group texts to an entire team!
WhatsApp Messenger is a freeware and cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP service owned by Facebook. The application allows the sending of text messages and voice calls, as well as video calls, images and other media, documents, and user location.
Message your friends and family for free*. WhatsApp uses your phone’s Internet connection to send messages so you can avoid SMS fees. Keep in touch with the groups of people that matter the most, like your mentors or students. With group chats, you can share messages, photos, and videos with up to 256 people at once. You can also name your group, mute or customize notifications, and more.
With WhatsApp on the web and desktop, you can seamlessly sync all of your chats to your computer so that you can chat on whatever device is most convenient for you.
* Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details.
GroupMe is a mobile group messaging app owned by Microsoft that can be used for mobile team communications. The application is Free* – Up to 500 members. Members’ information is private to other members (such an phone #, email addresses)
Group leaders can opt for open or closed group. Closed groups only allow the leader to add/remove members (preferential for teams).
GroupMe works thru web/app and SMS (no account needed to receive SMS). Team members can share docs, create calendar events (ie. team mtgs, field trips, etc.), do polls and solicit responses.
Communications through the app are reply-all by default. New members must reply within first few messages to stay in group.
* Data charges may apply. Contact your provider for details.
VIRTUAL MEETING SERVICES
The pandemic has pushed us all to become more familiar with virtual meeting technology. To assist ACE teams and affiliates, we have prepared a curated short-list of recommended virtual meeting platforms that we believe best meet our program’s needs.
Please keep in mind that not every platform will work for every affiliate or team. When determining the best platform for your ACE program, please consider what platforms your students may already be familiar with. For example, we know that many school districts are using Office 365 Teams and GoToMeeting, both are well suited to meet the needs of a typical ACE program.
Google Meet – Google has re-engineered and integrated their meeting and chat services to offer Google Meet which is perhaps the best all-around free virtual meeting program available. Allowing up to 100 participants and with no time limit (like in Zoom) it is easy to invite multiple outside users (they don’t need a google account) and integrates the G suite apps such as google docs, google calendar and gmail.
Requires plugins to use features standard in other platforms
Recording sessions is only available in speaker view
Their newly-added breakout rooms feature is a paid add-on
Zoom – You know it. Your students know it. Your digital immigrant family members even know it. Therein lies the advantage with using Zoom to run ACE sessions: built-in familiarity and ease of use. In addition, Zoom has great breakout room features that allow for smaller group interaction as well as far better recording options than most other programs. It’s easy to set up and works well out of the box.
The free version only allows 40 minute sessions – you can start a brand new session every 40 minutes as a workaround, or pay a small monthly fee for unlimited time
The free version only allows up to 100 participants – fine for most teams but might be a problem for larger, affiliate-wide sessions
If a mentor’s firm already has a paid virtual meeting account, it is recommended that the team considers using it for ACE sessions – as long as adding outside users is relatively easy and the features translate well for ACE session activity. The professional level-packages often have paid features that free accounts do not, which might offer useful tools for running an ACE session.
For School-Based ACE Teams – team leaders may want to check with their school contacts – most schools are already set-up with virtual classroom platforms and ACE could be assigned a license to run ACE sessions with it. This has the added advantage of student familiarity with the interface, saving a lot of set-up time.
No matter which virtual meeting platform you use, we recommend not publishing meeting invite links to any public facing pages. Only currently registered students should be able to login to the ACE meetings. We have had issues with outside users “Zoom Bombing” ACE sessions – this should be avoided at all costs.
Social media is here to stay. Many ACE Programs around the country are already using it to their advantage to communicate with students, parents and mentors.
All social media pages related to the ACE Mentor Program should be closed groups with very limited administrative rights.
All Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages should be monitored regularly and kept active.
Affiliate leaders should reserve the right to remove content deemed inappropriate.
Affiliates leaders should notify the ACE National Office with any concerns about digital media use.
Getting your message out quickly to a large audience
It’s cheap, can be integrated into your “regular” work and can save time compared to traditional media strategies.
Reach new/different audiences who may not otherwise hear about your program.
Create more two-way communication so you receive feedback and increase engagement.
Centralize communications—platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have ways to update your website and your followers simultaneously.
Develop new partners by connecting with groups or topics of interest.
It is strategic to connect to young people where they already are – fully emersed in the virtual world.
Regionalize the outreach & deliver message to local chapter members & recruits; potential to strategize from ACE central out to all chapters.