Planning and conducting a triumphant alumni meet is no joke. It takes innumerable hours, teamwork, and a lot of patience to organize an alumni meet. With technology, resources, and a student-professor team, institutions are now capable of organizing successful alumni events.
However, the biggest challenge for the institutions these days is to receive boasting alumni participation in their meetings. Well, our alumni relations wizards have considered this issue for quite some time now.
Based on their research and findings, we have come up with three chief challenges institutions face in terms of getting the desired alumni participation. In the latter part, we have shared the five top-notch ideas to overcome these difficulties and get a flood of alumni participation.
Stay tuned till the end!
Three Chief Challenges Institutions Face in Hosting a Successful Alumni Meet
COVID-19 shifted industry verticals to digital presence dramatically. Like all, the alumni relations management industry has been impacted, too. Between the campus shutdowns, cancelled events, and prohibited social gatherings, institutions are jam-packed with the current pandemic situation. Lately, they are facing big trouble convincing alumni to come together to have a virtual alumni meet. The following are the chief challenges alumni-meet-wise:
1. Low Attention
Only a handful of alumni members know and understand the significance of virtual alumni meets. Rest all are unaware of the virtual alumni meet ideas and hence don’t show their interest in any of the college events. As a result, when institutions launch a virtual alumni meet, they get a low rate of alumni attention.
2. Low Participation
Low participation in the alumni meet is the second biggest problem for most of the alumni offices across the globe. Either they lack in doing influential event promotion or alumni are unable to grasp the event purpose deeply, whatsoever the reason be, institutions are tired of getting low participation in alumni meet. Ultimately, due to inferior participation, institutions get demotivated and drop the plans for conducting any alumni events further.
3. Low Retention
Even if colleges successfully get alumni attention and ensure whopping alumni participation, they fail in retaining alumni in the event till the end. Why? Some alumni meets are dull where only the chief guest or professors speak. Whereas a few alumni meetings are really monotonous and sound similar to a classroom lecture to the alumni participants. Because of incompetent content delivery in the alumni meet, institutions only enjoy low retention of the alumni participants mostly.
What to do then?
Perhaps, you can take a look at these five ideas mentioned below and try some hands-on any one or all of them.
5 Virtual Alumni Meet Ideas to Boost Alumni Participation
1. Facilitate Peer-to-peer Networking
Gone are those days when alumni want to sit together and know each other’s names and favourite colours. If you want to make them participate in your event, facilitate networking opportunities for your alumni members. Host happy hours, ask your alumni to bring their favourite booze to the virtual meet, and network with each other. If you offer a chance to have their favourite drinks while interacting with like-minded people, then who would not want to come to your stellar alumni meet?
2. Conduct Online Contests
Just the thought of online contests can excite anyone. So think, how greatly will your alumni take it when you declare to conduct online contests during an alumni meet! For starters, you can go for a colouring contest where alumni and their family members can add colours to college logos and images using an app. Second, you can orchestrate a karaoke dancing stage for your star alumni singers. Also, arranging a photo caption contest is a spectacular way to invite more alumni to write captions and stories related to their college days photographs.
3. Host Interest-based Chat Rooms
No alumni would come to an alumni meet to listen to a solo speaker. But what if you create interest-based chat rooms for your alumni? The entire scenario would be different. No alumni would leave this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reconnect with his batchmates over virtual alumni meet. For a sorted environment in the alumni meet, you can create chat rooms based on the following alumni demographics:
- Education field
- Occupational industry
- Current location
- Current working domain
- Year of graduation
4. Offer Exhibition Opportunities
Besides networking and communicating, how about organizing an alumni meet that also enables the participants to exhibit their businesses. You can create a business expo like a virtual meet where you provide a platform to your alumni to showcase their startups. Doing this will bring you a whopping count of participants and give a chance to your alumni for gaining elevated business visibility from the community itself.
5. Create an Alumni Memory Lane
It is one of the most effective virtual alumni meet ideas that you might have heard of before today. Creating a memory lane is nothing but bringing your alumni back to college nostalgia. You can announce a Pictionary event where alumni can recreate the humorous incidents from their college life.
Moreover, you can ask the participants to pin their most memorable pictures from college days and share the story behind them. Plus, you can boost participation by inviting retired professors of the institution and giving your alumni a chance to have a quick chat with them.
Alumni Feedback is the Key to a Successful Alumni Meet
Nothing comes above interacting with alumni pre and post-alumni meets to receive their precious feedback. It might be possible that where the thinking capacity of an alumni association ends, the same starts for alumni. Before planning a virtual alumni meet, an institution should involve alumni members, get to know their ideas and ask for their input.
Similarly, once virtual alumni meet finishes, institutions can ask participants to fill a feedback form. Institutes can refer to these alumni feedback forms later. They can improvise in those directions that alumni find them lacking in terms of organizing virtual meetings.
By offering your alumni what they want in virtual meets, you can guarantee remarkable alumni virtual meet. However, doing only those things which most colleges do as a standard practice will help you nowhere in boosting alumni participation. Next time when you plan a reunion for your institution, try implementing these virtual alumni meet ideas and see the magic happening!