Alumni Engagement is like a maze; there’s no shortcut to the final destination.
Few of the misconceptions for alumni engagement are:
- There’s not much effort required to keep the alumni engaged as they are already a part of the institute.
- Once alumni are connected back to the institute, they’re potential donors.
- Single messaging will serve the purpose for all the generations of alumni.
However, over the period of time, institutions have realized the impact of alumni engagement on building a meaningful relationship with its alumni. And it is obvious, the connection that an alumnus has with his alma mater differs at different points of time in his life. The best of alumni engagement strategies has focused on personalized messaging for alumni based on which stage of evolution they’re in. In the article 4 Stages of Alumni Evolution, we reflected on different stages the alumni can be grouped into after they graduate from the college. Grouping of alumni is quintessential part and by far the first step of planning the entire alumni engagement strategy. The success of your strategy will depend upon how accurately the stages have been marked.
Needless to say, for every stage, the messaging, the strategy and the level of mutual dependency differs. In this article, we will reflect upon some alumni engagement strategies for every stage one can rely upon for efficient alumni involvement.
Your Alumni Engagement Strategy is Correct; Just Need to Align It Stage-Wise
All the campaigns you’ve been planning to boost alumni engagement is probably correct, it will fetch you better results if you segregate it for the relevant alumni group (Alumni Stage in this case). For you to better understand this article, go through the previous thread of this article- 4 stages of alumni evolution before reading this and learn the variant characteristics of each alumni stage.
Loyalists are baby boomers who are enthusiastic about giving back to their alma mater but are limited by resources. Some of the alumni engagement campaigns you can plan for alumni at this stage are:
There is so much an alumnus can do to support his alma mater besides contributing financially. Baby Boomers have a soft corner for their college and are willing to give back as much as they can. They would be more than willing to
- support your events
- help you in your admission drive
- become your early-stage spokesperson, etc.
Leverage the power of your alumni in molding the academics of students. Loyalists who have just graduated from the college serve as trusted mentors who can guide based on their academic experience with the institute. Alumni-student relationship also synergize in building strong bond and connections which can be useful further in their professional lives.
Baby Boomers have fresh memories of their college life and long to go back to college and relive those old memorable days. Distributing the institute’s merchandize reminds them of their time with the institute and will feel proud to be a part of. They will also carry your brand with pride wherever they go.
After stepping out of college, Hustlers step into corporate world and seek professional growth. Some of the alumni engagement campaigns for Hustlers are:
Help the hustlers by giving them professional support and they will give it back to your students. Leverage your strong network by bringing companies to the campus and recruiting these capable alumni. It is important to provide guidance to them as they will feel valued and committed to their alma mater. Besides helping them in shaping their careers, you can organize a lot of virtual webinars, seminars, live sessions, exhibitions, etc. and give them exposure to the corporate world.
Experience of Nostalgia:
As a Hustler, alumni struggle in terms of maintaining a work-life balance and are drawn away from their friends by distance and different careers. At this stage, it is very important to remind them of all the good days they had while on campus, all the memories they share with their fellow batch mates. Some of the campaigns you can plan include-
- Celebrating some important college days with alumni. Eg. Teacher’s Day, Sports Day.
- Organizing Quiz and inviting alumni’s response including Best Student of the Batch, The most Favorite Faculty, The Most Memorable Incident, etc.
Hustlers start losing the touch of the college once they step into the professional world and hence it is important to keep them connected.
One common thing that binds all the batchmates together is sports. Invite the alumni at this stage in your sports events or plan a sports weekend. Indulge into all sorts of games in which they can take part and let them reminisce the good old college sports days. Infuse the spirit of belonging in the Hustlers when they come and play game on the campus.
At this stage in alumni’s life, they seek recognition for their professional and personal achievements, are relatively stable career wise and can contribute huge money. They will always be connected with the institute if their expectations were met at the Loyalist and Hustlers Stage. Some of the engagement campaigns that can trigger their feelings and commitment for their alma mater are:
Hall of Fame:
Recognizing the efforts and achievements of senior alumni or contributors is the key factor to be considered here. Tell their outstanding story to the students and other alumni through press, articles and keep them on the wall for some time.
Reunions are by far the most interpersonal alumni engagement practice and a great platform to ask contributors for their support. Celebrating the institution’s golden years with them will not make them feel important but they would also want to give back to their alma mater. Some of the most engaging alumni homecomings and reunions include Golden Jubilee, Silver Jubilee, Alumni Weekend Getaway, etc. Felicitating their outstanding achievements in the reunion is always a hit and should never be missed!
Recognizing their achievements on Digital I-Card:
The digital era has opened up many possibilities for connecting and engaging alumni. Imprint the name and the image of the senior alumni/contributors with outstanding achievements on the digital alumni cards and give them recognition and wide coverage. One good thing about digital alumni card the alumni name is replaceable and you’ll get to feature all these alumni turn by turn.
There are a lot of other ideas that can be adopted to boost alumni engagement, the key being aligning these ideas based on the stage of alumni evolution. With the aligned alumni engagement strategy, you can definitely expect-
- More alumni volunteer
- Alumni evolving to become leaders
- More alumni participation and involvement in your engagement efforts
- More contributions in your fund raisers and giving days
Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your alumni engagement strategy.