Virginia Commonwealth University Texts 35,000+ Alumni

How a large, public university's Office of Development and Alumni Relations leverages Modern Campus Message to reach & engage previously unreachable alumni

About Virginia Commonwealth University




schools & colleges



current students



living alumni

in this case study: Jenna Hart - Senior Director, Constituent Marketing and Parks Smith — Senior Director, Marketing Strategy

Message is very intuitive. We don’t even need to train some of our staff members to get them up and running with it. They'll say, ‘I already popped in and it's easy to use’ when we give them basic admin access.

Parks Smith

The Challenge

The good news: Virginia Commonwealth University has over 200,000 living alumni whom the Office of Development and Alumni Relations can engage in alumni events and gift-giving opportunities.

The discouraging news: The office can only email about 45,000 of these alumni — less than 25 percent. 

The reason: VCU doesn’t have most alumni’s current email addresses. When alumni change their email, they rarely inform VCU. The problem is especially prominent among young alumni who lose access to their addresses upon graduation.

Our biggest audience is Millennials, but they have the highest rates of people we can't email. So, we’ve really prioritized changing our communication strategy to reach them.

Parks Smith

Fortunately, alumni rarely change their phone numbers. The vast majority of VCU’s alumni, including Millennials, keep the numbers they had as students. 

So, VCU realized that text messaging had enormous potential for reaching learners after graduation. With texting, not only would the Office of Development and Alumni Relations be able to deliver their messages to the right people, but alumni would be more likely to read and respond.

The Solution & Result

VCU staff knew that, in order to manage text campaigns smoothly, they needed a platform that would allow for multiple administrative users. They found it in Modern Campus Message which allows for unlimited users who can be granted custom permission levels.

We looked at a million different vendors and loved that Message would give us unlimited users. Our office has a decentralized hybrid model, and many people we work with want a text sent on their behalf. But the person in our office who manages the texting platform, they're not the expert on whatever we're texting about. It makes so much more sense to be able to train different experts to be able to respond to incoming texts.

Jenna Hart

With Message, Jenna Hart and her small team can develop a cohesive texting strategy. They can collaborate with other teams to schedule introductory texts and give topic experts the right permissions to interact directly with targeted alumni. 

Being able to connect with and respond to alumni in real time has been helpful. We've been searching for carrots and sticks for a long time to get alumni to respond to email, but there's really no great answer. So texting is a good way to reach them in lieu of that.

Parks Smith

Onboarding new users has also been a breeze. Little training is needed given that the platform is so intuitive.

Plus, having an accurate record of when, how and why alumni have engaged with the office has proved valuable for adjusting communication strategies and deepening relationships.

Having a communications history on people is super helpful. Knowing how they've responded to things in the past allows us to make smart changes and understand our alumni better.

Parks Smith

Discover additional ways you can use text messaging to connect with alumni—and how doing so fits into the entire learner journey—in our free guide:


How Text Messaging Supports Every Stage of the Higher Education Journey - download now


Virginia Commonwealth University's Favorite Features

User-friendly dashboard

Unlimited users & custom permissions

Message calendar

Modern Campus Message is quick and easy to learn, enabling you to efficiently send texts that are engaging and accessible. Maximize collaboration by inviting your full team to send, review or schedule texts within an approval workflow.  Manage everyday communications, coordinate campaigns and avoid sending recipients too many messages simultaneously.



Connect with your students, prospects and alumni at each stage of their educational journey.

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About Modern Campus

Modern Campus empowers 1,700+ higher education institutions to attract, engage, and retain learners for life with software solutions that enable a modern student experience. 

The Modern Campus learner-to-earner lifecycle platform powers solutions for web content managementconversational text messagingcatalog and curriculum managementcareer pathwaysstudent engagement and development, and non-traditional student management. The result: innovative institutions engage their modern learners for life, while providing modern administrators with the tools needed to streamline workflows and drive high efficiency.  

Learn how Modern Campus is leading the modern learner-to-earner movement at and follow us on LinkedIn. 

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