What strategies have you implemented to “save big” – or small – at your institution?

January 12th, 2009 Karine Joly 5 Comments

I’ll be hosting a 2-webinar series for Higher Ed Experts about this topic early next month presented by Joe Hice, AVP at the University of Florida and Rachel Reuben, Director of Web Communications at SUNY – New Paltz:

Saving Big: Winning strategies to get better results even with a crunched budget: February 4 & 5, 2009

“Saving Big” is a 2-webinar series that will show you how embracing the right digital approach can help you dramatically cut costs while still meeting the needs of your target audiences. It will show you why and how social media can become a very budget-friendly asset in the battle to attract, engage and win over the brightest, but also why and how to save on any publication budgets without alienating readers and compromising editorial quality.


February 4, 2009 1PM-2PM ET – Rain date: February 11, 2009 1PM-2PM ET
Recruiting on a budget 101: Master plan to win the social media jackpot with prospective students
Rachel Reuben, Director of Web Communication and Strategic Projects at SUNY New Paltz, will explain how to make the most of social media to upgrade your recruitment strategy and differentiate your institution. She will also share a road map to help your admissions office catch up with the latest recruiting techniques at a fraction of the more traditional approach’s cost.

February 5, 2009 1PM-2PM ET – Rain date: February 12, 2009 1PM-2PM ET
Taming the print beast: How to stretch the publication dollars of your institution
Joe Hice, AVP for Marketing and Public Relations at the University of Florida, will help you understand why you should give a closer look at your publication budget in these tough economic times. He will also share the winning strategy (as well as some practical tips) that led UF to save more than a million dollars on its publication budget.

I’m looking for some extra practical examples to flesh out the planned Q&A of both webinars.

Please share – by posting a comment – something you’ve implemented in the past few months to save money while making the most of your marketing and communications initiatives.

5 Responses

  1. Mike Rivera says:

    While the following idea has not been approved, we’re moving forward with it anyway. I think any hesitation on the part of upper management will evaporate as budgets get squeezed and the utility and efficiency of the idea makes good business sense.

    So what’s the idea? Centralize web operations. It’s simple and powerful (and obvious to me), but never and has never happened. I write about this topic a lot at my site, but the jist is to stop making a different website for every department and group on campus. Instead, build a single web experience that all departments can tap into and leverage. That means you plan/strategize a single site, architect a single structure, design a single visual language, and code a single set of tools and functionality.

    Once that’s done, all departments stop spending time and effort on re-creating the wheel (i.e. developing a custom site complete with discovery, IA, design and code phases). Instead, all of those phases are essentially done and only minor variations occur, if at all. The timeline for projects shortens immensely, the cost of development falls off a cliff and the people involved can concentrate on content matters and delighting audiences.

    To be perfectly honest (and sorry if this sounds patronizing or like I have a huge ego), the idea is so simple, I sometimes feel I’ve missed something really big, but so far so good.

    The beginnings of this idea will launch, according to our timeline, this month, so we’ll see how well the idea holds soon enough.

  2. Jake Daniel says:

    At Ithaca College we did this 2.5 years ago, and for my money it has been the smartest decision we ever made.

    Before, individual schools and departments simply weren’t sufficiently equipped or web-savvy to create the sort of online presence easily integrated into a collective whole.

    So we built a series of tiered templates (main site, schools, departments) and applied them across the board. One or two of the more clever offices felt a bit put out, because they’d put some quality work into their web presence, but overall the project has been very well received and has made institution-wide branding, design, and tech updates exponentially easier.

    Good luck!

  3. Mike Rivera says:

    @Jake: That’s great to hear. My background is spread across agencies, in-house marketing departments, for profit and non-profit and I’ve never, in any of these situations, found a centralized management and maintenance program not work. There were problems and issues, no doubt, but none that were traced to this model or, in fact, helped by this model.

    I’ll check out Ithica’s site as I’ve yet to see this idea at any higher ed sites so far (I’ve been doing this for a year now). Most .edus don’t come close and I don’t say that in a condescending manner as I know the hurdles and challenges to the idea are huge. Places like bu.edu are beautifully done, but even they end up being a loose confederation of sites once you get into the school, college and department levels. If they can get so far in created a stellar visitor experience only to see it unravel a couple of clicks in is frustrating.

  4. […] Joly has a blog post this week asking for suggestions on how colleges and universities can save big in this time of […]

  5. Claire Moller says:

    At UBC Okanagan, Project GROW, a fundraising program for women in northern Ghana, has enjoyed enormous success on a small budget.

    We’ve written a blog post exploring the project and what we’ve learned from it.

Got a question or comment?