Student leaders work incredibly hard to create amazing value. I think more people should know about it.
I have been involved with student groups (SGs) for 4 years on a local and national scale. Year over year, I see the same problem come up and I’d like to propose a solution.
The Purpose of Student Groups
Every SG serves a different purpose. There are some that do advocacy, others cater to a special interest group, others represent a faculty and much more. However, what they all have in common is that they exist to bring value to the members they represent or that support them.
A problem I’ve noticed over the years is that SGs only begin to build relationships with their stakeholders (students, sponsors…) when they have an event or initiative coming up. As a result, only sometimes does the SG manage to reach the desired outcome and other times, falls short.
My goal is to provide a recommendation that will help all SGs maximize their chances of success and foster a better relationship with their members.
The solution is simple: start the relationship earlier.
Email newsletter is an easy way.
If your SG exists, it means that there is a percentage of your school that has an interest in what you represent. If you’re not sure, there’s no harm in asking.
Distribute an online survey (I recommend using Typeform because of their simplistic design) or walk around your school with a tablet and ask what people are interested in. At the end of the survey, include a field for the respondent to leave an email address.
With that in mind, there is a wealth of information that can be shared with constituents. This can be internal news like upcoming events and workshops or external news that is still related to your cause.
Equipped with a list of interests, you can build your newsletter with the following possibilities: curated online content, original content (articles, videos…) written by members of your team, or interviews conducted by your team with industry experts or members of the community.
In most cases, information that comes from a student group is considered to be trustworthy by their constituents. Therefore, it is the duty of SGs to ensure that the information that is put in the newsletter is accurate and that sources are provided.
By supplying your audience with interesting and relevant content, it becomes easier to build a relationship and they will be more inclined to buy tickets for your event or invest in your initiative as a result.
Furthermore, as you build your audience, your newsletter becomes more attractive to potential sponsors.
I hope this helps you connect with your audience and continue to provide value!
Evan Pitchie is the president of the Canadian Association of Business Students. A non-profit organization that helps in the development of student groups across Canada.
He is also the co-founder and Head of Strategy for Playground, a Montreal-based design and data-driven agency.
Have a project in mind? I’d be glad to listen over a cup of coffee!