CHAPTER 16 | COMMUNICATIONS

This page contains several online resources that can be utilized to more efficiently communicate to program stakeholders.  This list is by no means exhaustive, but we have identified several services that we believe to be well suited to meet your affiliates’ needs. 

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

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.

Mailchimp is a web-based application that works in most web browsers, which means you don’t need to download or install any software on your computer. To be sure Mailchimp works properly in your browser, you should enable cookies, pop-ups, and JavaScript.

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CONSTANT CONTACT

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

AFFILIATE ACE EMAIL | 0365 ACCOUNT

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. 

Limitations

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.

- FEATURES

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!

EVITE

Evite is a social-planning website for creating, sending, and managing online invitations. Evite makes it easy to: Create digital invitations for occasions big and small, send invitations via text, email, or shareable link and track RSVPs, send messages, and manage all in one place.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

EVENT BRITE

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

- AFFILIATE TESTIMONY

ASANA

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SLACK

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. 

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- PRICING

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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

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.

- FEATURES

- GETTING STARTED

- SECURITY

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

GROUPME

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.

- FEATURES + GETTING STARTED

- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

ADVANTAGES OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • 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.

FACEBOOK

Facebook is a social networking service and website where individuals and organizations reach out to others, share information and keep in touch. If you don’t have a Facebook page dedicated to your ACE program, create one today and invite area stakeholders, local community and business leaders, parents and school officials to “like” your program. Once your program has a Facebook page and generates some fans, create an event page for your event and encourage your followers to RSVP. 

On your event page, be sure to clearly state the location, date, and start and end times for your event. Be careful about updating the page; even the smallest changes can send out a notification to your fans.

Encourage friends who have liked your page to leave comments. Be sure to thank commenters, respond to questions and encourage dialogue.

Consider posting status updates counting down the days/weeks leading up to your event. For example: Only one week till our students showcase their projects at the 2013 ACE Banquet. Hope to see you there!

Cross-promote the event using other social media outlets, like Twitter and LinkedIn.

Be sure to continue to promote ACE after your event and share pictures and stories. For example: Check out City Council Member Jones talking to parents at last week’s ACE banquet. Thank you, Council Member Jones, for your support.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed.

Pretty straight forward, right? It’s like a simplified version of Facebook, with an emphasis on mobile use and visual sharing. Just like other social networks, you can interact with other users on Instagram by following them, being followed by them, commenting, liking, tagging and private messaging. You can even save the photos you see on Instagram.

Instagram is available for free on iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad, as well as Android devices, like phones and tablets from Google, Samsung, etc. It can also be accessed on the web from a computer, but users can only upload and share photos or videos from their devices.

It’s always a good idea to customize your profile by adding your name, a photo, a short bio and a website link if you have one when you first get on Instagram. When you start following people and looking for people to follow you back, they’ll want to know who you are and what you’re all about.

TWITTER

Twitter is an online, informal method of communication where users send messages/news bites via “micro-blogging,” or simply, small, succinct, 140-character updates. If you haven’t already, sign up for a free Twitter account for your program. Remember; keep your tweets short, no more than 140 characters.

Twitter is a great social channel to leverage when you want to spread awareness for a new fundraising campaign or event.

LINKED IN

Put simply, LinkedIn is a social network for professionals. It’s like Facebook for your career. Whether you’re a marketing executive at a major company, a business owner who runs a small local shop or even a first year college student looking for their first job after graduating, LinkedIn is for anybody and everybody who’s interested in taking their professional life more seriously by looking for new opportunities to grow their careers and to connect with other professionals.

You can think of LinkedIn as the high-tech equivalent of going to a traditional networking event where you go and meet other professionals in person, talk a little bit about what you do and exchange business cards. It’s like one big virtual networking event. 

LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in terms of its layout and broad feature offering. These features are more specialized because they cater to professionals, but in general, if you know how to use Facebook or any other similar social network, LinkedIn is somewhat comparable.

YOUTUBE

If you have the technical capacity to upload video (i.e., a computer with Internet access and a device that records video), sign up for a free YouTube channel for you program. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine behind Google, and a website where people can discover, watch and share videos.

Consider uploading videos of youth practicing their presentations in advance of the big event, parent testimonials or youth talking about what they like about ACE. After uploading the video to YouTube, email the link to parents, allies and key community leaders.

If your program also has a Facebook page or Twitter account, consider linking the accounts so that when you upload a new video, it will send a tweet to your followers and alert your Facebook friends.