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Articles > Customer Showcases > IDS achieves 7,000 monthly alumni news readership in lockdown

IDS achieves 7,000 monthly alumni news readership in lockdown

Digital postcards, virtual coffees, online groups and human-interest stories have kept community engagement high for the Institute of Development Studies

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is at the forefront of international development, providing postgraduate courses for more than 50 years to educate 4,000 students and helping to build a world that is sustainable and equitable.

Partnering with the University of Sussex to deliver their world #1 ranking development courses, they deliver to a similarly high standard in their fundraising and alumni activites, and this hasn't faltered during the pandemic.

In 2016 IDS set up an online home - - to stay in touch with their globally dispersed alumni, to share news, academic research and job opportunites and to connect current students with mentors.

Since launching their site, they have amassed a community of over 1,300 online members, hosted 80 events and published regular blog content that garners thousands of views every month. One of the key elements of their success has been the wide range of ways they engage with their alumni, from webinars and resources, to their advisory committee and global ambassador network.

"I wouldn't be able to do my job without ToucanTech - I use the system to send newsletters, track all activities with alumni, capture data through forms, publish news, photos and competitions. I've seen the software evolve over time and love that ToucanTech listens to feedback and provides fantastic webinars, support and ideas sharing amongst their customers. It's a fantastic communications and database tool for any higher education institute."
Michelle Cruickshank, Alumni Relations Officer, IDS

The IDS community site is teeming with content covering everything from impressive alumni profiles (Know Your Network) to thought-provoking research round-ups, including an article on "Gendering pandemics" which attracted nearly 3,000 reads at the onset of the COVID crisis. 

One of their most successful engagement pieces has been their current school newsletter 'Yellow Monday', which is updated every week with staff and student news. As of July 2020, the article had tallied up more than 7,000 views on their alumni network, illustrating a great show of support for their university by alumni, and proof that current news articles from unis/schools really do work to bring former students back to their community portal.

During COVID-19, IDS has used their ToucanTech platform to run more online initiatives - such as sending digital postcards to new students and facilitating virtual coffees - to keep their community spirit strong during these strange times.


An engaged online community has generated huge networking and social benefits, but it's also supported IDS with their fundraising efforts. More than £300,000 has been raised for the current IDS Scholarship Fund, from a mix of alumni, major donors and charitable trusts. 

One of the ways IDS inspires people to donate, is to share the impact of their Scholarship programme . Each year, IDS publish news articles with scholars reflecting how bursary funding has made their aspirations possible, and how they will use their skills learnt at IDS. They also publish interviews with donors, including an article with a major donor who said that every donation makes an impact, and that education is an area where a small amount of money can make a big difference.

ToucanTech customers are creating strong community connections all over the world. Discuss ways to make your community more engaged with an experienced ToucanTech engagement evangelist; organise a time to talk to the team here.

You’ll find more fundraising, alumni and community management success stories here.

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