You want your alumni to maintain a connection to the institution while allowing them to have an active interest in the school’s future. These engagement opportunities should extend beyond asking for donations. With some help from your alumni, you can boost current student organizations and improve other areas of student life.
Although reunion and homecoming remain vital components of any successful program, these large-scale events are no longer the signal events of the year. In an age of constant contact—and constant distraction—schools are finding new and creative ways to reach out to their alumni and stay connected. Focusing on personalization is very important.
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Connecting the Dots of Engagement
Finding ways to keep alumni connected to their former school requires creativity and continual relationship building. Over time, that once strong relationship often dissipates if you don’t remain in touch with your students.
Related: Ideas for Spring Alumni Engagement
Fortunately, there is some good news. Keeping your primary and secondary school alumni in communication is easier than ever in the digital age. With these methods, you can help fundraise, recruit, and retain those alumni. Think about your alumni engagement plan! With a solid strategy, you can have significant benefits for years to come. Let’s look at a few ways you can connect and engage your alumni in this modern age.
Resonate Your Message With Other Alumni
You could come up with a standardized message, but you might only be reaching out to half of those former students. Think about creating messages that help certain groups relate to your alumni association. For example, a woman-focused alumni meeting might be a great way to reach your female students. No matter the group, you can find a way to specialize your message and respond to them.
The more personalized programming includes gathering like-minded alumni in areas where they are clustered, such as identifying alumni who work in a specific industry and getting them together in a city where they work. For example, hosting an event for alumni in the tech industry in San Francisco, or gathering in New York for those alumni who work in finance. The alumni engagement team also needs to ensure that the school reaches out personally to people at milestone moments, sending individual cards to celebrate everything from new babies to job promotions.
If you are looking to increase your engagement, think about highlighting alumni at the school. You might find members who have a talent for making music. Reach out to them and have them discuss their abilities. Some alumni members might be math whizzes. This is the perfect opportunity to possibly set up guest speakers to share life experiences and knowledge.
With this, you can show that the alumni association is more than an organization looking for a donation. When you personalize your message, they are more likely to engage with your club. The message should have a certain amount of authenticity with current and former students. You can certainly achieve that when you turn the focus away from the organization and towards the alumni. Those high levels of authenticity will make people more likely to participate in your organization. Along with that, it will show that your school helps shape well-rounded graduates for years to come.
Create User-Generated Content
One way to highlight alumni is by having them create content for you. For example, ask alumni to share pictures from their school days. Imagine seeing alumni when they were little ones getting ready for school.
Plus, this type of content also gives an authentic feel to your message. You won’t look like an organization that just wants donations but instead is focused on the stories of your alumni.
Connect on Instagram
While schools can connect to former students on LinkedIn, it might not be the right choice for those younger alumni. Today, many younger people are staying in contact with the help of Instagram or TikTok. These methods are a far cry from the days of sending off all alumni meeting notices in the mail.
Think about dropping them a personalized message, or DM, about your intentions. In many cases, these alumni will want to reconnect with their former schools. Plus, when you use a platform like Instagram, your organization looks ready for the future. In turn, you can have more people engaged with the alumni board.
Remember to keep those posts and videos fresh. With a bit of creativity, you can even make a typical asking for donation post seem relevant. Take some time to create live videos. Everyone in the digital space is turning to videos. While a written post can convey the same message, a video is your chance to make your case for stronger alumni engagement. Along with that, your alma mater can put a face to the name behind the screen.
Use Online Tools
With many alumni groups, it can be hard to get everyone together for a reunion. Think about using modern tools to make a virtual reunion for those alumni. With that, everyone can participate, even those who might not live in the area. You can also use a virtual meeting to keep in touch with alumni or hold monthly discussions about important alumni matters.
Engagement can be complex, but you can have a step up with these tips. Once you have reached out to your primary and secondary alumni, you can keep them connected with social media posts, virtual meetings, and other types of digital content. Move your alumni association into the future of the digital space.
Looking for ways to take your alumni engagement to the next level? Wavelength offers simplified ways to help create a stronger community!