Silos to Bridges: Building Campus Unity for Advancing Community Engagement

Implementing a comprehensive community engagement platform for your campus can seem daunting. It can be beneficial to understand what other campuses have done to streamline communications and walk the line of ensuring staff, faculty, and students understand the platform while establishing use of the platform. 

GivePulse recently hosted a webinar with Courtney Lefebvre, Assistant Director of the Center for Campus & Community Engagement at Ohio University, who helped the campus adopt GivePulse in March 2020. They faced some challenges, including implementing GivePulse across multiple campuses, the pandemic, and connecting with partners (watch the recording here).

Today they have broad adoption by multiple campus departments and are tracking more community engagement outputs than ever before. Their journey with GivePulse offers insight to institutions just starting with a community engagement platform or those looking to scale their use to build bridges across units and streamline institutional processes.

Here are the top 5 key areas Ohio University focused on while implementing GivePulse across their campus that led to their success and widespread use.



Take it Slow

Introducing GivePulse campus-wide is not only an investment in time across units but a financial investment. Therefore, you want to ensure your students, faculty, staff, and community partners are ready and excited to use the platform to ensure the greatest return on that investment. 

Taking the time to have conversations with different units and identifying how GivePulse can help with administrative tasks, from data collection and reports to assisting students in connecting with mandatory volunteer opportunities will help your institution plan how you’re going to roll out GivePulse.

Ensuring stakeholders have had the opportunity to take the time to be trained in the platform and provide input in configuring the platform is key to establishing use among stakeholders, faculty, and staff. 

Additionally, timing your roll-out of GivePulse with new student orientation leads to greater campus adoption overall, and sets your institution up for community engagement success. 

Evaluate Pain Points

Check in with your community partners, students, faculty, and staff to understand what is and isn’t working with your current structure or system. With each unit and community partner, their pain points can vary. 

Centering your department as a knowledge base to support them through the process will help your units and partners feel confident about transitioning and allow you a deeper understanding of the structure at your institution. 

For example, the Ohio University’s  Center for Campus and Community Engagement helped community partners who were short on volunteers with recruitment and engagement while assisting other partners with volunteer organization and management. 

Understanding how GivePulse works for partners and units with different needs and wants is critical for getting key stakeholders on board.

Listen and Learn

Having ongoing conversations across departments, units, and outside community partners is essential for success. Use your understanding of GivePulse, to ask questions you know your solution could help with. 

Institutions of Higher Education are large moving machines. Your department may not work closely with other departments or regional campuses. Taking the time to have conversations with departments you may not work with as frequently can give you a unique point of view and help to build a “constellation,” as Courtney puts it, of where GivePulse can streamline communication and institutional processes. 

Learning from other departments can uncover new uses and solutions beyond what you envision. Therefore, including cross-department conversations as one of your earliest steps before rolling out GivePulse is key.

Work Inside-Out

Before rolling out GivePulse, it is recommended that key functional administrators be identified and trained on the platform. Working from the inside out is a great way to gauge where different departments, users, or community partners need assistance when using GivePulse. Getting that feedback is extremely valuable and allows you and your unit to create documentation helping users through challenging processes. 

Additionally, introducing GivePulse with this inside-out method allows ample time for individuals to understand how to navigate the platform and starts the process of ingraining the platform into your campus network. 

Engage Leaders, Departments, and Units

As Courtney reflected on her journey implementing GivePulse at Ohio University, she noted the most important thing you can do as a unit or department introducing GivePulse on campus is to work with and engage leaders. Getting leaders and department heads on board gives your process more backing to ensure it is used appropriately across campus. 

Engage leaders by showing them the solution you have that will not only solve their administrative pain points but position your campus as a leader in community engagement leading to long-term success in your campus, community, and beyond. Understanding your network and creating a “constellation” is instrumental in the success of implementing GivePulse.

Establishing new technology on campus can be tricky, but we hope these key tips and tricks to get started help you and your institution take that step forward. Community engagement is the future, and it is proven to build not only bridges interdepartmentally but throughout your community. 

About GivePulse

GivePulse's mission is to enable everyone in the world to participate and engage in lifting their community to new heights. We do so by providing a platform to list, find, organize and measure the impact of service-learning, community engagement, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility and volunteerism.

Founded in 2012 in Austin, Texas, GivePulse works with 650,000+ groups, including colleges and universities, nonprofits, businesses, K-12/school districts and cities and municipalities. Together, we connect millions of people in an effort to create positive social change.

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