Asking classmates if they prefer an email with a link to the online questionnaire or a paper questionnaire doesn't make sense to me:
If the class wants to hire someone to chase down email addresses and then chase people down, I can't (and won't try to) block this, but it will be someone else's task.
Bearing in mind the old saw that "When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail," we could indeed track individual information, but we would need a different tool and tool operator:
- Did they open the email?
- Did they clieck through to the Questionnaire or anywhere else?
- Was it Undelivered?
- By default from above, was it received but either not read or acted on?
I know a person who employs the widely used commercial e-marketing program Constant Contact in his job and would do this for us if we pay for a year's Constant Contact account and something to him. Is it worth it to us in order to maximize Reunion attendance and/or Book submissions? If it were just me, it would be a no-brainer because I see both of these as The Grandaddy of all Classmate convergences - so totally shoot the wad and go all in. I recognize that not everybody feels that way, and/or we are Ivy-leaguers who should be able to do this ourselves, by Gawd.
As a Marketing Man by traiing and heart, I believe in targeting, repetition, options and alternatives, follow-ups, back-up plans, and culling out the virtually hopeless causes. "Finance" is, as a consultant once told me, the natural enemy of Marketing. In the name of efficiency, Finance wants to cut and hold down costs...and then lead the charge to fire the Sales and Marketing guys who didn't reach projections. Been there!
Most of you know the rules for writing an academic paper: 1) Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, 2) tell 'em, 3) tell 'em what you told 'em. Maybe the words "test email" is creating the problem here. Put another way, I'm asking for consideration of a SHORT advisory email telling classmates what we're going to be asking them to do...before sending them a ginormous email containing links to the Questionnaire, detailed instructions, and (maybe) examples to help guide them. Emails cost us nothing. "Time and energy" to predominately retired classmates is in long, not short, supply.
Because I am a complex human being, I can also live with the "Ready, Fire, Aim" approach, which dictates we just send out said ginormous email, see what happens, and then adjust our sights and efforts.
Constant contact approach advantages:
Constant contact disadvantages:
This has been suggested before (along with the suggestion that we hire a firm that specializes in finding addresses) but never formally discussed by the Executive Committee. It would seem that the next step would be to make a proposal to the Executive Committee describing how this would work, what it would cost, and who wold do it.
Dudley - In the actual questionaire instructions, under Step 1, please add: "Don't feel obligated to answer all of the questions. Answers the ones you want and skip those that might involve long answers. You can always address those in the Essay."
If a fellow Luddite wants to submit the questionnaire on paper, I volunteer to transcribe it in digital format as long as it doesn’t mean having to deal with some complex program.
I think that we really want to avoid transcribing. Some of the guys are still attached to the Green cards in the newsletter, and a lot of the handwriting is terrible. Just a heads-up.
Also, yeah, the four page letter is a little involved, but we need to get it right. I agree with David's suggestion to stew over it all a bit. It's a whole life, at least this far.
I'd venture to guess that most of the guys who don't have email addresses on file (with us, I mean) are still computer literate and would either use the online Questionnaire like everybody else or else fill in their anwers on a Word file we can provide. Yeah, Bill Lind is an exception, but that's deep within his DNA. Even he uses a typewriter!
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