5 Ways To Engage International Families With Vidigami
By Drew Millikin | July 10, 2018
Over the last decade, the number of international students enrolled in K-12 schools around the United States has skyrocketed. In 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that the number of students enrolled in US K-12 schools from China alone had quadrupled within five years, from 8,857 to 34,587.1
Given these stats, it is clear that schools today are relying more and more on international families to fulfill their enrolment needs. These families also have the potential to become strong philanthropic donors.
However, for a family to fully reach this potential, schools must find effective ways to engage them. Cambell & Company’s 2017 study, Engaging an Increasingly Diverse and International Donor Base found that, “like parents of students in the U.S., parents of international students tend to be interested in philanthropy that directly impacts their child’s experience. Sharing that child’s experience through photos and videos is a major challenge for schools in the United States.”2
Given the cultural and language based challenges, especially due to platforms likes Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google being blocked in China, advancement offices are seeking new ways to better connect with, engage and solicit these families. Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Google, Vidigami is available for schools worldwide. It is a closed, members-only platform, means that foreign families can log in to the web app or download the free Vidigami app on their phone, and immediately see photos of their children. What’s more, Vidigami’s people-tagging capabilities make sure that photos of their child rise to the top of their Vidgami feed. No VPN needed. Just open up the app and get a private and personal window into your child’s life at school.
Here are five simple ways to engage your international parents using Vidigami:
- A photo with the Head of School. One School we work with makes sure that every Chinese student gets his or her photo taken one-on-one with the head of school. These photos are then uploaded to Vidigami and are a great way to both welcome new parents to the school and introduce them to the platform!
- Smiling Face Photos. The good old “SFP”. Every parent loves pictures of their child smiling, having fun and happy at school. Lunch time in the dining hall or during sports or clubs in the afternoon are great times to capture great moments. Kick it up a notch and go candid like a pro! Look for smiling faces of kids sitting under a tree on campus, interacting with each other in the classroom, or even focused on a project. These snapshots are authentic, tell a powerful story, and build an incredibly positive image for your brand.
- Share artwork. Students who are away from their families can’t bring home their artwork in their backpacks. By using the “Created by” tag filed in Vidigami, a student or faculty can take a photo of a student work in Vidigami, and tag the student’s name as a ‘Creator’. The photo will show up in the student’s personal portfolio, and appear in their parents’ Feeds the same way as when a photo is tagged by face.
- Take videos of student performances and projects. Is there an upcoming musical rehearsal, or do your ESL classes have an upcoming oral presentation? With the latest release in Vidigami, you will be able to upload up to 5 minute video clips to Vidigami, which you can tag and share just like a photo. Parents will be able to see this in their feed and the good news…it won’t be blocked by the firewall like YouTube and Vimeo.
- In-person visits. Never underestimate the power of a face-to-face meeting. Equip your Head of School with an album of photos in Vidigami that you’ve kept private thus far in the school year. Then, during individual meetings with parents on his or her next development trip, your Head can pull up photos of those parents’ son or daughter, tag them on the spot, and send those parents a notification on their phone – allowing them to immediately see the story.
Vidigami is a great tool for engaging families from around the world. The more photos you post and share, the better. The Campbell & Company study showed that, “Among the academic institutions surveyed, those that saw the most success—receiving more than 5 percent of their fundraising revenues from international donors—reached out regularly (more than once a month) to their constituents”. With Vidigami, reaching out is as easy as snapping a photo on your smartphone!
About Drew Millikin: Having spent 15 years working in admissions and advancement in both higher education and independent schools, Drew spent countless hours searching for photos on various servers and archives. Now, he’s thrilled to join the Vidigami Pros and and help schools successfully organize and share their content in a safe and secure manner, for marketing and communications, advancement efforts, and more.