Alumni directory update

Tammy Clarke
December 5, 2011

Leadership Palm Beach County Alumni,

 

As you may already know, Leadership Palm Beach County has decided not to create a printed alumni directory.  The board of directors had many discussions about this and, when all was said and done, voted unanimously to forego the printed alumni directory.  Instead, LPBC will now be offering all registered alumni access to the On-Line Alumni Directory (http://www.leadershippbc.org/alumni-directory) and soon a mobile version of the LPBC website (including the On-Line Alumni Directory) that can be accessed from your iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone.  Here are some of the reasons that the Board decided to make this decisions:

 

1 - While the majority of the printing costs of the printed directory were paid for by advertisements, a VERY LARGE amount of staff time was spent in the two and a half months leading up to the release of the printed directory securing those advertisers, obtaining current alumni information, editing the information, adding photographs, proofing the draft, and generally getting the directory ready to print. 

 

2 - The advertising revenue did not cover the cost of mailing the directory to those alumni who did not attend the Holiday Party.

 

3 -  In addition to the alumni directory being available to all registered alumni online at LPBC's website, the following tools are also available: 

  • The on-line alumni directory is searchable by any combination of: first name, last name, employer, industry, LPBC class year, and LPBC committee membership.  This will make it easier to find a particular alumnus, alumni who work in a certain field, alumni who graduated in a particular year, or who serves on an LPBC committee.
  • A version of the LPBC website designed just for mobile phones  (i.e. iPhones, Blackberries, etc.),  will be available to all registered alumni. This will be an incredibly useful feature for anyone who has a smart phone. Once the alumni directory page is bookmarked on the phone browser, the member will just need to log into the site and they will be able to very easily pull up the contact information for any alumnus … ANYTIME, ANYPLACE. They will also have the option of calling or e-mailing that person directly from the results page.  The Board felt that this option would be MUCH more convenient than carrying around a book wherever we go. 
  • Before making this decision, we did realize that many of our members would still want to have this information in a printed format.  Therefore, we had the website provider add a feature to the online alumni directory that allows registered alumni to create a pdf version of the entire alumni directory or the results from a search for a particular set of alumni and then print that pdf file.  This way, each alumnus can have whatever information they desire at their fingertips (ie. the entire membership, just their class, just a specific committee, etc). Also, unlike the printed directory, the information on the website can be updated by the member at any time, so that the information does not get outdated as alumni change jobs throughout the year.
  • Since all of the alumni information can be accessed on a computer, on the go from a smart phone, or on a directory that can be printed at any time, our members now have more opportunities than ever to find fellow alumni.

 4 - We had been without an Executive Director for several months (although our new ED has been hired and will be starting today).  Our limited staff and great group of volunteers ensured that all LPBC programming and events continued on without a hitch.  However, we simply didn't have the manpower to put together a printed directory.

 

5 - Finally, we have learned that many other prominent groups around the country have stopped providing printed member directories. The Board agreed that on-line directories were the wave of the future and that this was the right time and that it was time for LPBC to take that next step.

 

We appreciate that some alumni feel that the printed directory was an important and valuable tool.  However, we feel that the circumstances require that we go in a new direction.  We have taken efforts to ensure that the information that was in the printed directory is still readily available to all registered alumni, but in a more easily accessible and useful format.  We hope that all alumni will give the on-line alumni directory (including the printable pdf directory and the mobile site) a chance and will provide their feedback, so that we can make the transition as smoothly as possible.  We truly feel that the on-line alumni directory, along with the other benefits that are provided to registered alumni (i.e. networking at Second Wednesdays and the Holiday Party, education at Up Close & Personals, opportunities to improve the community like the Ethics Initiative and the Get Real program, family and friend events like the South Florida Fair, Lion Country Safari, Jupiter Hammerheads games and FAU football games, etc.) all serve our mission to Educate and Unite Leaders to Build a Better Community.  We hope that you all agree.

 

LPBC Alumni Relations Committee Co-chairs

Tammy Clarke, Treasurer

Lee Williams

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