Students, Alumni, Online Resources, Media And Employers.
NASPAA is in the midst of conducting a survey of employers to learn what they think of our graduates. We’ve held focus groups and discussions with professionals in the public sector in order to refine our message and meaning. A draft motto/slogan has developed as follows:
The MPA/MPP Degree: Professional Education for people in Government, Nonprofits, NGO’s & Public Sector Consulting In the months ahead we will provide more tested effective content to you in your marketing efforts. For now feel free to use this in your outreach campaigns. I invite your feedback on this and the marketing tips as well.
If you have one, make sure it’s updated! If you don’t, start with this year’s graduating class.
Invite alumni back to school to talk with students about their industry or career field.
Dinner with the Dean
Find out how your students value the program several years out, network and listen to what the “frontline” is like, and what kinds of exciting things they do for a living!
Feature your success stories online and provide real world examples for prospective students.
Recruit alumni to volunteer time every week to groups of undergraduate students interested in the degree. Let your alumni be your best resource when advising students on career choices.
Is your area known for its local government strength? Do a majority of your students pursue non-profit management? Are students nation-wide becoming more interested in international programs? Let the hiring trends make your arguments for you!
Online Chats and Blogs
Make your website interactive by setting up a school blog or scheduling online chats. It’s an effective and convenient way to brainstorm, discuss, debate and share what’s going on in and around your program.
Be sure to change/update website at least one per month, if not more often. It’s just like a newspaper—the more information, updated often, the more people will come back to check it. For instance, if updates are made once per week on the same day, such as a Tuesday Update, your audience will be more likely to check your website regularly.
Don’t ignore the power of visuals and images: think headlines, icons and graphics. Think story, not information. Make sure your alumni profiles and updates feature more than the most prestigious placements: demonstrate a breadth of opportunity!
Network! Learn more about what they do, and teach them more about what you do. Get to know the people who are hiring your students—invite them to your school. You want them to come to YOU when they are hiring. If your program is accredited, consider using NASPAA accreditation logo on website, brochures, ads—it is a quality stamp of approval.
Engage the public in conversation by writing opinion pieces and letters to the editor or inviting a reporter to interview the director. Our programs are always relevant to current events—we’re the ones educating tomorrow’s leaders!
Local Broadcast Media
Is your class preparing innovative presentations? Election simulation? Debate? Is a famous alum coming to speak? Invite your local TV news station to attend. They’re looking for real people, a fun event or great photo opportunities with a local angle and national relevance—take advantage!
A well-done video has enormous marketing appeal, particularly if it is your students who are producing! Stream it on your website, distribute DVD copies to classrooms, present it at orientation and admissions events.
A Peer Roundtable provides a structured opportunity for students to network, socialize and share ideas. It can also contribute to a sense of community at your school.
Graduate Guest Lectures
Asking graduate students to lecture in undergraduate classes covering relevant subjects (such as sociology, history and political science) will expose prospective students to a new discipline, perhaps even opening career options. Let your students practice their public speaking skills as well! Lectures should be discussed with the professor, and can cover such topics as “Careers in Public Service” or “Public Administration in Current Events.” In addition, encourage TA’s to explain the degree in their regular discussion groups.
Student Marketing Committee
Utilize student experience and talent to carry forward marketing initiatives for which you may not have the staff or resources. Offer incentives, such as letting the program count as class credit or agreeing to write a letter of recommendation for graduate school applications.
MPA Student Association or Club
Having students organize an on-campus club under faculty mentorship will both promote publicity of the degree and aid students in networking and opportunities. Encourage students to run for leadership positions within the club, and provide suggestions for events, such as inviting graduates of MPA programs for Q&A sessions or panels. The students will then find internships, contact businesses and organize publicity events on their own.