|11 Aug 2020|
Despite most students having very fond memories of their time at school or university, there is a common perception that most alumni will not engage much after they have walked across the stage at graduation. It doesn’t have to be that way! Many alumni are willing to engage and want to hear from their alma mater, but they aren’t opening the annual correspondence posted through their letterbox, and they don’t want to be asked for money if they haven’t heard from your development office in years. Engaging and mangaging your alumni online not only gives you an instant and regular response, but you can use all the data gathered through these activities to power future fundraising campaigns. Here are 8 ways to develop your alumni relationships online:
1) Develop content around previous gatherings or reunions
Remind people of your upcoming events by posting a few snapshots and quotes from the last event. This is especially effective for events like reunions, where alumni may only meet each other once a decade!
2) Make it shareable
The more you can personalise your content, the higher the chance of it being shared more widely! Sharing photos with your posts is an ideal way to spark fond memories and increases the likelihood of your post being shared between old classmates.
3) Use surveys to find out what your alumni are up to
Surveys are a great way to engage your alumni, and also help to inform your communication strategy as you can tailor your content to their sector, interests and location.
4) Highlight alumni achievements
An effective way to get people to log into your alumni website is to highlight an alumni and their achievements, whether that is charity work or significant contributions to their field, through a news article or even a recorded interview. It is particularly effective to add in the year they graduated - ‘from the Class of 2020’ - to any promotion of the content, as those in the year group will be interested to hear what their peers are up to!
5) Set up consent preference options
Set up different consent options for the different types of content you send to your alumni, for example, allow them to opt out of newsletters, but stay in touch to hear about event invitations. This way, you can avoid people opting out of your communications altogether, and you have a more engaged audience for the comms they want to receive!
6) Show them how their donation has had an impact
Particularly with those who have donated in the past but haven’t engaged for a while, show them what their previous donation has been spent on! Try to tailor this as much as possible to what you know your alumni are interested in: a sports scholar would be thrilled to hear about a new stadium, but an alumni working in the arts sector would be grateful to hear that the next generation will get significant funding for their arts curriculum.
7) Connect alumni to help further career prospects
Alumni will be much more engaged if they feel there is a chance they can benefit too, so connecting them with older alumni can open possibilities of jobs or mentoring will make them appreciate remaining in your alumni network and more likely to interact with future initiatives!
8) Let your alumni generate content for you!
From photo competitions to guest writing an article for your site, alumni are normally honoured to be asked to get involved, and it can provide you with tonnes of brilliant content that will be shared twice - once to your network and once to theirs! How’s that for efficiency?
For more tips on topics such as unusual fundraising, check out our top tips page.
With an estimated £4.3 billion lost in income for UK and Irish charities due to the pandemic, the outlook can seem bleak. Mitigate upcoming challenges by understanding the risks an… More...
Digital postcards, virtual coffees, online groups and human-interest stories have kept community engagement high for the… More...
Data can be overwhelming, sifting through information to find out how your audience are engaging. Read our top tips to f… More...
Berkhamsted used effective email marketing to target their alumni with announcements of their new community site launch,… More...
Find out how to tackle the key challenges facing membership clubs, from handling data to personalising your members' experiences More...
Sam Bellringer has nearly 20 years’ experience managing fundraising and alumni data. This is his advice on how to store and streamline your data to ma… More...