University Business - February 2009 - (Page 37)

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY Seven ways to survive the budget crunch By Karine Joly More with Less I F LOVE IS IN THE AIR IN FEB ruary, it sure has sour company this year. More and more campus administrators are contemplating—or already living with—budget cuts, hiring freezes, and other tough financial decisions. In the first days of December (at the time of this writing), the train of bad news about the crisis hitting higher education had already started to make its way into the columns of newspapers and trade publications: Harvard University’s endowment loss of $8 billion in just four months, an $8 million budget shortfall at Wayne State University (Mich.), and the $38 million loss of state funds for the University of Tennessee, among others—many others. What do these financial troubles have to do with marketing, communications, and the web? Everything. According to a recent survey conducted by the communication consulting firm MStoner, more than half of 150 senior marketing, communications, and advancement professionals in higher education cited financial constraints or budgetary problems as the top challenges for 2009. “Nearly every respondent included financial concerns among the top three challenges,” wrote Michael Stoner in a November blog post about this survey. “Citing such obstacles as ‘unexpected budget constraints,’ ‘insufficient funding levels,’ and ‘budget cuts,’ respondents described a lack of necessary resources to reach institutional goals in fund raising, printing, web development, and more.” e challenge to do more, or at least as well, with smaller budgets, less time, and maybe even fewer staff members might appear less daunting if you consider the following ideas. communications. After a careful analysis, his team determined that it was possible to convert nearly half of the printed publications to online delivery only. “By moving 160 publications away from printing and to a web-based delivery, we were able to save almost $1 million annually in printing and distribution costs,” reports Hice. The University of Florida saved nearly $1 million by changing 160 print publications to web-based delivery. 1. Look more closely at your print publication budget. For some print publications—especially those targeted to internal audiences such as current students, staff, and faculty members—going paperless might be a very smart move. Printing and mailing costs have dramatically increased over the past few years, so going paperless could result in a substantial savings. Some readers will welcome a digital publication for a number of reasons: convenience, accessibility, the possibility to save trees and also, as expenses are lowered, perhaps jobs down the line. Faced with a decrease in state funds and low tuition levels fi xed by the legislature, the University of Florida audited its print publications two years ago. More than 350 brochures, magazines, newsletters, and other publications were printed by different UF entities. “Many of these were directed to internal audiences only and/or other audiences that were frequent users of a computer workstation or laptop,” recalls Joe Hice, associate vice president for marketing and 2. Embrace (free) social media to reach your audiences. With promotion and PR budgets under attack, now is the perfect time to incorporate social media in your strategy. Why not give a try to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Ning, or even Twitter? is move will only cost staff time and could bring home some amazing results. at’s the road chosen by more and more marketing and communications professionals, including Mark Greenfield, director of the web services office at the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system. Last year, he built a new website for the Undergraduate Academies program to create a sense of community and get students to connect and collaborate. Total cost of this project: $0. Total time spent by his office: half a day. “ anks to the Ning platform, it took me about two hours to create the site, add the features, and brand it to look like the main site for the Academies, and an extra couple of hours to teach the staff at the Academies how Karine Joly is the web editor behind www, a blog about higher ed web marketing, public relations, and technologies. She is also a web editor for an East Coast liberal arts college and a consultant on web projects for other institutions. February 2009 | 37

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - February 2009

University Business - February 2009
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Sense of Place
Independent Outlook
Wireless Windfall
Share and Share Alike
Achieving the Turnaround
Internet Technology
What's New
End Note

University Business - February 2009