I am one of those people who takes down the Halloween decorations and puts up the Christmas decorations, completely neglecting that Thanksgiving even exists. I do love the Thanksgiving holiday, however. I love that it brings families together and gives me a reason to binge-eat pie. But most importantly, I love its core message: show and give thanks.
A school has a lot to be grateful for. And this week, it's important to tell that story of gratitude. What are you thankful for? Who are you thankful for? Why are you thankful?
So, in all candidness — I thought writing this blog would be easy. I thought I would find dozens and dozens of amazing "Happy Thanksgiving!" or "Thank You!" emails from schools with cute little videos and thoughtful messages. But as a matter of fact, I only found but a handful.
It is important need to remember that email and social media aren't just avenues to ask for something — like to make a donation or attend an event. But they are avenues to tell a story, to reconnect with our audiences, to grow and improve relationships with students and their parents, and ultimately increase retention and donations.
So, if you do one thing this week before heading out on break — put together that "Happy Thanksgiving" or "Thank You" email. It goes a long way — especially as we head into the end of year giving season. I know there are just a few days until break, so I pulled my favorite, simple Thanksgiving emails together that you can totally put together before break.
Simple Image Messages
I love this email from Trinity-Pawling because the message is simple, yet emotional. For our schools using eNotify, this is something that could be put together in a matter of minutes — yet can have a big impact on your community.
Immaculate High School takes a similar approach. As an all-boys Catholic high school, this is an email message that knows its audience. For each holiday, the Head of School shares a prayer relevant to the holiday, and the marketing team turns it into an eye-catching, personalized message.
Plus, look how fun the subject line is!
When you watch the video in this email from Morristown-Beard School, message of gratitude is clear. The quick one-minute video thanks decades of philanthropic support, while showcasing beautiful views of the campus. While the end of the video makes a gentle nudge to donate to the school's capital campaign, there is no direct "ask."
Turning Point School also created a video for their Thanksgiving email last year. There are a few things I really love about this email. First, it is a personal message from the head of school, that is simply signed "Laura," which shows the personal relationship she has already established with her community. Second, there is no "ask." She does not use Thanksgiving to ask parents to show their gratitude — no, rather, she uses the holiday to share what gratitude means to her and the community. And it is really a lovely sentiment.
The email concludes with a video thumbnail, which sends recipients to this video. The concept and message are simple — The Turning Point Community has a lot to be grateful for. (Hint: it includes those email recipients!)
It might be a little late to create an entirely new video, however there are free tools out there like Animoto that help you create a video in just a few minutes. (Animoto is really great for putting pictures to music!)
A Letter from the Head of School
Taking a formal approach to a Thanksgiving "thanks!" seems to be the most popular route for schools. This kind and thoughtful message from The Masters School's Head of School has just the right length and messaging.
Wyoming Seminary's President sent a similar thanksgiving note, with some fun Thanksgiving branding as well:
An Updated Annual Report
While this example from Baylor School in TN isn't exactly an email, it is a great example of how you don't need to create entirely new content to have a big impact. Barbara Kennedy, Director of External Affairs at Baylor School, reached out to share how they turned their 2017-2018 Annual Report (something that is normally just a PDF) into a landing page with the theme of giving thanks.
"We used the annual report PDF to create a story using vertical panels, along with a combination of new and repurposed photos and videos. This was done in just a few days, including final edits of two videos," said Barbara.
Sending an email in the next week is a pleasant way to reconnect with your community. However, be sure that your email includes what your school is thankful for — and doesn't ask for anything in return. It is a simple email with a simple message that goes a long way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specialises in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.