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Stories of Impact

Tufts University


Consistency in outreach efforts through dynamic channels attractive to target audiences is essential for expanding alumni association notoriety, nurturing member relationships, and ultimately mobilizing action.

To “cut through the noise” of already exhausted mediums like phone and email, some alumni associations, like the University Advancement Division at Tufts University, embrace new tools like Hustle’s peer-to-peer texting platform. Upgrading the organization’s outreach management system with Hustle’s two-way communication platform enabled the University Advancement Division to optimize their outreach strategy through new audience insights collected through authentic individual engagement resulting in improved campaign engagement rates. Utilizing peer-to-peer text as an audience intelligence tool helped the University Advancement Division streamline focus, scale meaningful conversations with alumni, and improve engagement rates in the process.

The University Advancement Division plays a vital role in the student and alumni experience as an open informational resource. Like many alumni associations, sustaining and growing this network requires up-to-date audience insights to ensure that any information shared reaches audience members, resonates, and mobilizes future action. This case study contains details on Tufts’ journey with Hustle and how the University Advancement Division leverages human-powered texting as a critical step in building long-term relationships throughout the Tufts network.

Who is Tufts University?

Founded in 1852, Tufts University presently operates out of two campuses located in Medford, Boston, and Grafton, Massachusetts. The moderately sized university is recognized among the country’s premier university systems, excelling at research and providing a rigorous and innovative academic experience for undergraduate and graduate students.

The University Advancement Division serves the university’s academic agenda by engaging and building relationships with Tufts alumni, organizations, faculty, parents, and friends in mutually beneficial philanthropy and volunteerism.

The Problem

Before reaching their target audience at scale through peer-to-peer text, the University Advancement Division relied heavily on email. Greedy spam folders and overcrowded email inboxes made it increasingly difficult for the organization to reach Tufts University’s constituents. Additionally, the other channels included in their communication strategy did not offer two-way communication, making it even more challenging to listen to their audience and provide valuable and timely resources in the brief moments they did reach alumni attention.

The Solution

Including peer-to-peer text into their multi-channel communication strategy resulted in a less formal, more fun, and effective way to reach alumni, especially young alum. The University Advancement Division reported back to Hustle that not only were they able to drill much deeper during conversations to uncover valuable audience insights to help them segment and hone their outreach approach, but they also noted higher quality in the type of conversations they had through text. As engagement rates increased through more unique one-to-one conversations and personal questions from audience members, the University Advancement Division described a parallel increase in action rates. By learning more about their audience through meaningful text conversations, alumni not only increased the amount they interacted with the organization, but they also started initiating action more; in this case, fundraising.

As the University Advancement Division at Tufts University continues streamlining human-powered texting into its outreach procedures, it’s the convenience factor of contacting constituents through their favorite communication channel that makes peer-to-peer text such a multifunctional and scalable tool for growing organizations and alumni associations of all sizes.

"We find value in being able to customize and target the messages, tag campaigns, and share the management tasks across our department. We like being able to reach our alumni through a communication channel that is more in line with their preferences, style, and behavior. By reaching someone’s cell phone, we’re able to provide timely updates and information that complements other resources to provide more of a VIP experience for the alum. Each time we use Hustle, I receive at least one response that completely surprises and delights me—and reminds me why I choose to do this work."

Lauren Smith

Senior Associate Director, Marketing & Participation
Tufts Fund for Arts, Sciences & Engineering

It’s thrilling to witness Hustle customers flex the versatility of peer-to-peer texting to intensify personal relationships with their audience and amass support. Philanthropic gifts, alumni weekends, networking luncheons, and other forms of support all come from a target audience’s desire to support, and alumni associations can nurture that desire by staying relevant to audiences through continual two-way engagement.

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