Smart text messaging strategies to beat higher ed staff burn out

4 min read

How can your college take measures to ensure staff wellness while still meeting the needs of students, parents, and alumni?

Enrollment is rarely a 9-to-5 gig

There is not enough time in the day for an Admissions staff to accomplish everything they need. In many cases, the optimal time to reach students and parents or respond to texts is after work hours on nights and weekends. Knowing this, is it really possible to find a happy medium of balanced communication with your students and staff? Yes, and the key is implementing smart, strategic texting campaigns.

Take on-the-spot thinking out of campaigns

Joseph Madigan, the Director of Recruitment Outreach at Florida Southern College, helped institute a strategy at Florida Southern College, taking the guesswork out of texting campaigns to maximize efficiency. “Instead of saying, ‘This is the message we’re looking to craft, why don’t you go ahead and try something?’ Mentors craft that message for the team members, allowing them to better manage campaigns.”

Joe Madigan quote "We're putting the pressure sometimes on team members to communicate, but we also want to be effectively knowledgeable of what's there, and also be empathetic of the time that they have."

SMS texting templates for admissions are not only a huge time-saver, they also ensure that your communications are clear and consistent. The Admissions team at Florida Southern College uses texting templates for each week of the admissions cycle. By planning out the important touch points ahead of time, the team is better prepared to interact and connect with students once the messages are sent.

Event/visit reminder

Hi, this is from Admissions. We host campus tours on (days/times). Are you and your family interested in attending?

Follow-up survey

Hi! It’s Admissions. Thank you for visiting our campus! We want to create the best events possible. Can you respond with a GIF or emoji to tell us how today went for you?

Missing application documents

<FIRST NAME>, thank you for applying to <School Name>. We are missing <Document Name(s)> and cannot review your application without it. Can I help with any questions or challenges?

Congratulations on acceptance

Hi <FIRST NAME>! It’s <School Name> Admissions Counselor, <STAFF FIRST NAME>. Congrats again on your acceptance. Feel free to text for call if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

Financial aid reminder

<FIRST NAME>, congratulations again on your admission to <School Name>. We are missing <Document Name(s)> and cannot complete your financial aid package without it. Can I help with any questions or challenges?

Preparing for college

<FIRST NAME>, we are so excited that your family is considering . As you all prepare to make your family's college decisions, can I help answer any questions or assist with any challenges?

Orientation reminder

<FIRST NAME>, we're so excited to see you and your family at orientation. This is just a reminder that orientation is and begins with registration at_____

Thank you and good luck

<FIRST NAME>, thank you for working with us this past (year/semester). We are thrilled that you joined! Congratulations and good luck on all that's in store!

Avoid spinning your wheels

Before you text a student, ask yourself, “Is this message something the student will be grateful to you for sending?” Concentrate on helping, not just blasting information. If you and your staff are not careful and strategic about the kinds of messages you’re sending, you risk burning out the medium.

Meaningless messages are a waste of time. Transactional communications that help students reach their goals - deposit deadline reminders, financial aid deadline nudges, orientation invitations - are ideal.

Phone-a-thon assistance

Texting is an excellent supplement to phone-a-thons, and a smarter approach will make things more efficient for your staff. By using texts to prime your phone-a-thon audience before a phone-a-thon, you can learn more about alumni and appeal to their interests. A recent Giving Day text campaign at UNC Charlotte helped generate 29 new donors.

Create a text takeover to share the workload

Fellow alumni are a powerful voice in fundraising efforts. For your next phone-a-thon, enlist the help of an alum who has benefitted from a scholarship made possible by alumni fundraising. Having fellow alums send and respond to texts puts a face and a story with the message.

Texting template - Alumni reach out

As a fellow <SCHOOL MASCOT> and scholarship beneficiary, I can tell you first-hand what a difference any gift can make. <SCHOOL NAME> students like me are truly thankful for your ongoing support. May I ask what inspires you to give?

Raising efficiencies through automation

In cases where you’re expecting a simple yes or no response from students, consider texts with an automatic response. Cadence allows for smart messages that respond automatically if the student’s intent is known with a high degree of certainty, while also notifying staff when a human needs to intervene.

Smart messages allow you to craft a clear call-to-action for both “yes” and “no” responses, helping a student find information they need while alleviating some of the burden for your staff.

fake message boxes with lines for text and title of "Smart messages"

Have a plan to fight burnout

Budgets are real, and reaching financial goals is crucial. So, while a college might stress the importance of maintaining a work/life balance, implementing a clear texting strategy could help alleviate some of the added pressure staff members undergo. However, with a little strategy, more of a balance can be struck.

Interested in learning more about a texting platform for your institution? We’re happy to help! Reach out to one of our Cadence experts today and request a demo for your institution.

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