Those little moments of nostalgia bring back the entire duration spent in college, doesn’t it? Being alumni of an institution is the most fortunate thing for a student.
Similarly, collecting the anecdotes of students’ success stories is the most opportune thing for any institution. Their heads can be held high, and their names can forever shine for generations to come.
Having stellar alumni relations is not everyone’s cup of tea. It takes never-ending efforts, passion, and patience to build lifelong alumni relations.
In this piece, we will take a tour of six ideas to elevate your alumni engagement strategy to maintain excellent alumni relations.
But before we hit on the ideas, let’s understand the tidbits of an alumni community and the four traits of alumni members.
What Is An Alumni Community?
A community simply means a group of people sharing a common interest at the base. An alumni community means a group of all the former students who come together to uplift the profile of the university, support it financially, and in turn, seek support from their alma mater when needed.
What Are The Four Different Traits of Alumni?
An alumni community might have hundreds and thousands of members. But, not all the members have similar personalities. Different alumni have a disparate perception towards why s/he wants to become a part of the community. Following are the most common four traits of alumni explained quite well:
1. The Nostalgics
These alumni are the ones who always feel nostalgic about their college life and university days. The nostalgics have a feeling of homesickness when it comes to their alma mater.
Such a kind of alumni finds happiness in relishing memories from the past, meeting their batchmates, and recollecting the times when they had with their dearest professors.
2. The Opportunists
These alumni members are not here to remember only the goodie-goodie from their old college days. They have an aim to enjoy several benefits by leveraging the alumni community at its best.
For example, the opportunists might become a part of the community to find or offer job opportunities. A few opportunists even seek business possibilities while being an alumni community member.
3. The Contributors
These alumni are not benefit-receivers but profit-givers. The contributors help their alma mater either financially, economically, or mentally.
They would donate funds to the university for various campaigns, supply them with any infrastructural help, or support them during tough times.
4. The Advocates
These alumni are not the direct contributors but influencers. They may be senior alumni, industry veterans, or leading experts.
These advocates don’t involve themselves directly with the institution. However, they have a huge following base and can inspire them to contribute to the institute.
Six Ideas To Elevate Your Alumni Engagement Strategy
Now we know what an alumni community means and precisely what are the four major characteristics of alumni members. Let’s move towards exploring six ideas to elevate your alumni engagement strategy.
Idea 1 – Segregating Community Data Based on The Demographics
Segregating the alumni data based on their demographics could play the ace of spades for your alumni engagement strategy. Why?
Dividing data based on demographics allows you;
- To engage alumni based on their current location
- To engage alumni based on their professional occupation
- To engage alumni based on their year of graduation
- To engage alumni based on their preferences
Let’s understand this with a practical scenario. Think of alumni engagement when you launch an event to be held in the Bangalore city across the entire platform. Instead, imagine the alumni engagement when you launch an event in the Bangalore chapter to be held in Bangalore city. In the second scene, you will get a dramatic alumni engagement because you are targeting the correct alumni cluster based on their demographics.
Idea 2 – Understanding The Expectations of Your Alumni
It’s deep. Being an institution, no matter how much effort you pour in, if they aren’t alumni-centric, it won’t cater to alumni engagement. The point is, you should know and learn about the expectations of your alumni from their alma mater and act accordingly.
In current times, the best way to understand alumni expectations is to track their behavior on social media and college websites. Keep an eye on what your alumni are liking, sharing, downloading, viewing, and posting comments on. Based on this, you can generate content to engage your alumni in zillion ways.
Want to build an excellent alumni platform that solves all your alumni engagement strategy issues?
Idea 3 – Communicating And Sharing Your Offerings With Alumni
If your alumni don’t know what you do and offer, how will they develop an interest in the institution and get engaged? It is as simple as it sounds. On your portal or through social media, keep interacting with your alumni members to create a live community environment. Share every new/modified offering that you are giving to your alumni members. While communicating and sharing your offerings, add value to engage more and more alumni.
For example, when you offer free one-month portal membership, you can organize a virtual contest. Make all your alumni participate in it, declare a few winners, and offer them the membership as a reward.
Idea 4 – Celebrating The Success of Your Alumni
As much as you boast about your success, it is equally essential to celebrate alumni’s success as well. Do social media shoutouts to appreciate the accomplishments of your alumni. Congratulate your alumni members who are nailing at their professional workplaces or businesses.
Celebrate your alumni’s social impact moves with them and show your empathy. Doing all these can create a sentiment for you in the hearts of your alumni, and in turn, can double up your engagement.
Idea 5 – Keeping Alumni Up-to-date With The Institute’s Requirements
“One who speaks can sell more fruits.”
This translation of a Gujarati proverb fits our context well. Being an institution, it is your duty to beat the drum loud of your requirements. If you don’t share, how will your alumni know?
In case you need funds for a purpose, share them with your alumni. You need professional assistance from your alumni community, ask them. If you are looking forward to building strategic partnerships, seek your alumni.
To enable alumni to engage more and more with your cause, you have to take the first step and share your requirements. Period.
Idea 6 – Keeping Alumni Up-to-date With The Received Contributions
For a balanced alumni engagement strategy, you need both:
- Keeping alumni up-to-date with the institution’s requirements, and
- Keeping alumni up-to-date with the received contributions
If you don’t share the contributions of alumni members to their alma mater with fellow members, how will they know that other members are really helping the institution by contributing in real life?
The purpose of sharing contributions is not to promote your institution. Rather, it is for inviting those alumni to engage who haven’t contributed yet by any means to the institution.
Maintaining influential alumni relations is no rocket science. Similarly, creating and implementing an alumni engagement strategy isn’t a job of an astronaut. With baby steps, you can develop a strategy to win the hearts of your alumni.
Remember, whatever you do, you have to give a reason to your alumni to engage with your institution. That’s the key to having alumni relations forever. With these six simple ideas, you are going to ace the alumni engagement strategy game for sure!