022 Spark! Social marketing for schools

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In this episode, I explore how social marketing, the application of commercial marketing techniques to influence behaviours in ways which benefit communities of people, can give us a different perspective on our work in independent schools. Specifically, I outline how this might be applied to the area of alumni relations and fundraising within education.

Based on the quantitative and qualitative research I undertook for my MBA, this episode explores fresh ideas that schools and universities can use to encourage alumni to become more involved.


Firstly, I unpack the ‘transtheoretical model of behaviour change’, taking three elements of this model to explore how they might shine new light on alumni relations activities. These three elements are the benefits (or pros) of the activity, the downsides (or cons) of being involved in the activity and, finally, the self-efficacy issues (for example, the confidence of the individual) of getting involved.


To illustrate this, I explore the case study of the University of Exeter’s 'Making the Exceptional Happen’ campaign, where the volunteer programme reached 155% of their target number of volunteer hours.


By considering this approach, I suggest that social marketing may have a significant impact in how you undertake your work in designing alumni relations and fundraising programmes and in how you might increase the number of pupils who volunteer.


Spark! episodes of The Independent School Podcast are designed spark fresh insights and innovation, by introducing you to ideas from other sectors.


Episode highlights

  • What is social marketing? (01:03)

  • The transtheoretical model of behaviour change (05:54)

  • The pros of getting involved with alumni relations activities (06:40)

  • The cons of getting involved (09:32)

  • The self-efficacy issues of getting involved (12:44)

  • The University of Exeter ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’ campaign (14:55)

  • Recommendations (18:40)

References and resources


‘Can a social marketing framework provide insights which enhance alumni relations programmes in the UK?’, MBA dissertation, Juliet Corbett


‘Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good’ by Nancy R Lee and Philip Kotler


University of Exeter: Making the Exceptional Happen Campaign, Volunteer Programme


018 Spark! Innovation with Lucy Gower, Founder, Lucidity


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Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

juliet@consultjuliet.co.uk

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© 2021 Juliet Corbett Consulting