Often, when thinking about alumni communities, people will conjure an image of a centuries-old boys club with an older demographic. Many development offices spend a large proportion of their time using tried-and-tested methods to engage older alumni, such as focusing on events. This demographic is important as they are more likely to give back in the short-term, but what about your long-term goals? Engaging young alumni is essential to build affinity with prospects who may not give back for many years, but will be fundamental in securing the long-term future of your development strategy.
Your younger alumni will have a different set of priorities and preferred ways to engage with you; while their first reunion might not come for 5 or 10 years, there are plenty of tactics you can use your young alumni in your community. Here are a few ideas to help boost alumni relations with your recent leavers:
Many alumni sites might focus on putting the spotlight on older alumni who are more advanced in their careers; make sure to balance out your content and share what your recent graduates are up to: for example, one recent alumni of Concord College was responsible for founding an organisation to fight misinformation around COVID-19.
In addition to creating relevant content, it’s important to consider how you can promote your news. Most young people still check their email regularly, but might not check LinkedIn or Facebook every day in order to be in with the chance of spotting your updates on social media. Consider sharing a regular newsletter with relevant content to your younger alumni, with a prompt to log-in to read the full story. Another way to ensure that more people will see your content is by tagging anyone who is featured in the story - they will receive a notification for this, and can choose to share this with their own network.
Mentoring is extremely valuable for younger alumni who are taking their first steps into their career or further education. By providing an online community platform which alumni can use to find connections who are working in their dream industry, company, or job, you can demonstrate the tangible value of being part of your community; and hopefully they will repay the favour in years to come!
Joining an online community of over 1,000 members can be daunting for young alumni, and they may not get involved on the open discussion forums. Creating a private sub-group on your community platform for your graduating classes gives them a space to interact with their peers, sign up for group events and receive a regular automated email with a summary of activity within their group.
A jobs board hosted on your site is a great addition for younger alumni who might be seeking out graduate positions, work experience or internships. You may be able to encourage alumni who are entrepreneurs, or with good links to industry, to offer work experience opportunities to younger alumni. In addition, you can advertise jobs within your school (such as summer school jobs).
By balancing a mix of valuable opportunities to advance careers, network with peers and receive insight from older alumni, young alumni are more likely to get involved in your community and maintain that connection throughout their lives. To find out more about how ToucanTech can facilitate engagement in your alumni community, speak to a member of the team.
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