How to Strengthen Alumni Relations
by Arina Smith Job & Career 18 October 2021
The alumni body is one of the university’s most valuable assets and resources. If utilized correctly they can act as effective recruitment tools and advocates for a lifetime. They’re also important mentors, complimenting student recruitment campaigns and supporting them with career planning. But, how can universities continue to engage alumni to be active advocates of their institutions? Below we’ll name a couple of ways to strengthen alumni relations and continue their engagement.
Virtual alumni networking software
Nowadays almost everything is virtual since a lot of people are working from home, and engaging in activities online. It’s important to find a great platform that allows schools, universities, corporates, and nonprofits to work together and build a powerful virtual network. A good alumni networking software should be easy to set up, launch, build your community, and allow you to go virtual in no time.
Such a platform should be able to engage your alumni anytime and anywhere, giving access to a virtual networking experience with a personalized feed, and a directory to connect with peers and virtual events. Also, it should be a great place for alumni to share job opportunities, and receive updates.
Organize virtual events
Once you’ve set up your alumni with a great working platform, it’s time to engage them in virtual events like organizing virtual races, yoga sessions, and even happy hours. This is also a great way to encourage social interactions among alumni who are constantly working from home. Engaging them in health events can be quite beneficial since most of them are stuck at home, and rarely willing to do some exercise.
When it comes to fun events like organizing happy hours, you can also inspire your attendees to share something about themselves like a short introduction, share photos, give an insight into how they’re dealing with issues, etc. Note that your alumni are a varied bunch of different ages, beliefs, and locations, and engaging them in virtual communication is vital.
Connect with alumni on social media
Almost everyone uses social media either for personal pleasure, or a business venture. But no matter the case, connecting with alumni on social media can take your relationship to another, better level. For example, engaging on Twitter can help a brand develop its personality, even using humor to build relationships with alumni.
Platforms like LinkedIn are important for making sure their education information is accurate for networking purposes and allows institutions to track and connect with their former students. Additionally, universities can share content and help their alumni communicate with each other.
Creative content worth sharing
Before engaging with your alumni on social media make sure you’re creating content that’s worth sharing. There are a few tricks that one must know to be able to create good content. For example, share photos from alumni which will make them feel appreciated and involved. Also, develop content around annual gatherings, and ask questions about certain professors or the history of the campus, turning it into a game of trivia.
Remember that the content you create should be connected with the brand of higher education. If your college is centered on careers then focus more on interview tips and job boards. If it’s a liberal arts college then you might want to highlight an alumni’s new publication.
Maintain your database
Communication between university and alumni is as effective as the quality of their data. Remember to invest in up-to-date contact information for successful outreach. It can be quite discouraging if the communication fails. As Jacob Jenson from the Technical University of Denmark says, we should consider data as a fuel for our database, and keep in mind that too much or wrong data can waste resources.
Although maintaining a good database can be challenging, continue to get updates from alumni whenever possible like over the phone, at events, via email, and so on. Having an online platform encourages alumni to update the records themselves. Remember, effective outreach will not be possible without accurate contact information.
There are many more ways to strengthen alumni engagement to bring tangible benefits for the organization and help current students with course and career advice, as well as job prospects. Be different, and do differently. Support small alumni businesses, encourage non-monetary donations to help struggling students, and urge alumni to be more engaged in the community. Just remember that the most important way to engage with them is to pay attention to communication channels, and create content that will capture their attention.