Coming to Terms with Alumni Engagement, What to Truly Expect

With the current age of technology and screen time, distractions and multitasking is the norm. As a school, understanding how to engage with alumni meaningfully while setting proper expectations of what that should look like is necessary to reach your advancement goals.

The biggest challenge I see when schools are looking to engage with their constituent base is assuming their community will change their behaviors. Humans are creatures of habit, requiring too much deviation from their day to day may be a barrier to entry for your alumni base.

Two examples include:

  • Requiring an app to be downloaded for users to receive updates and community benefits.

App users spend 77% of their time on 3 apps and 96% on their top 10 apps. The top app usage for mobile users is seen below.

Buildfire’s Report on App Usage
  • Adding a new platform of content delivery for users to check. Vying for attention on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram is tough , distractions abound but this is where your consumers are when they are seeking content.

Sproutsocial dives into the social media platforms and consumer insights for 2020. Bottom line: the largest engagement rate for Higher Ed is on Instagram.

At Wavelength, we believe in providing an alumni network that is there when and where your alumni want one. Your alumni may rely on their school’s network for a variety of reasons- reconnecting with old classmates, finding a favorite teacher, looking for a job, seeing who else lives in their area, scheduling mini reunions, etc. If you look at the list of examples I just provided, none of them are daily alumni needs. That’s ok! You want to provide a tool that will answer their needs when they have them. Providing anything more may go unused, require too many resources for your team to maintain, or overwhelm the user to the point of disengaging further.

If you’re curious about what your alumni are interested in, I always encourage the practice of asking- with a major caveat:

Understand the people you are asking feedback from are most likely closer to “super users” than what a typical alum engagement would be.

The Lean Six Sigma approach of asking the “5 Why’s” is a useful activity any time you are seeking solutions for engagement. It’s simple ask “Why?” 5 times.

When you are seeking new forms of engagement, always consider the resources it would take to maintain that engagement and whether it leads to reaching your development goals.

Wavelength provides a network for your alumni while simplifying your day to day by helping you identify better constituent engagement points, communicate more effectively, collect class notes, and so much more.

Questions? Email katie@searchwavelength.com