Zipwhip for education

Multnomah University

Multnomah University is a private non-denominational Christian university in Portland, Oregon. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements.

They use Zipwhip across multiple departments, leverage the Salesforce integration to record all student communication to their system of record, and have also built an in-house solution using the Zipwhip API to alert campus safety to specific security concerns.



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Prior to Zipwhip, Multnomah University primarily used email and phone calls to reach students. They began to see how hard it was to get a hold of students, because of the low response rates associated with phone calls and emails. Whether it was the admissions team trying to schedule visits with prospective students, student success team trying to come alongside at-risk students, or the library staff trying to get a hold of students about past due books, emailing or calling just didn’t work anymore.

This lack of responsiveness to existing communication channels led to faculty and staff using their personal cell phones to text students. While this led to higher response rates, it also created security and compliance concerns for the university’s IT department. This led the team to Zipwhip. They were looking for a tool that helped their students respond quickly, provided administrative oversight and was flexible enough for the diverse communication needs of their various departments.

“We were using email and phone to get a hold of students, and the response rate we saw for a phone call was as low as sending an email. It literally does not work! Now it’s rare we don’t get a student to respond back when we send them a text with Zipwhip.”
Christy Martin
Associate Dean of Student Success


While Multnomah faculty and staff still routinely email students and also call if necessary, they text those students via Zipwhip as well. This has helped them dramatically increase responses rates. Ten out of 10 times when they text a student they get a response back.

Zipwhip has helped faculty and staff move away from texting students from their personal cell phones. Christy Martin, Multnomah’s associate dean of student success, says, “Zipwhip has given us a communication channel that is fast and convenient for students, and at the same time separate from our personal cell phones.”

Multnomah now uses Zipwhip across a variety of departments including admissions, student success, athletics, student life, library, campus security and the president’s office. Admissions uses Zipwhip to communicate with prospective students, including sending website links for applications, forms for event registrations, application follow-ups and visit reminders. Student success uses Zipwhip to proactively stay in touch with at-risk students they work with. Athletics uses Zipwhip for player recruiting and to remind players about practice or games.

Zipwhip’s Salesforce integration was especially compelling for Multnomah. Every text conversation with a student is now synced back to their system of record, and their teams are able to better manage student conversations at scale.

Brenda Gibson, Multnomah’s director of IT, says, “Seeing the response rate uptick with admissions, the integration with Salesforce and how convenient it was for students, it’s made Zipwhip an integral part of our software stack.”

Zipwhip API Solution

Campus Security Desktop App

Multnomah’s IT Department built an app that’s installed on every faculty and staff member’s laptop. If there is a suspicious person or serious situation that comes up, faculty/staff can click the app-icon in their desktop notification tray to text-alert a campus security officer with details and location information. This is made possible with the use of the Zipwhip API.

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