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For colleges and universities, having alumni that regularly engage with their alma mater is critical for the institution’s continued growth and development.

Since keeping your alumni involved after graduation is often challenging, we’ve compiled a list of helpful alumni engagement strategies that can help. But first, institutions should understand why repeatedly connecting with alumni is so important.

The Importance of Alumni Engagement

Alumni engagement is beneficial for various reasons, including:

  • Alumni can be a valuable source of knowledge and experience for current students, providing mentoring, career advice, and connections to potential employers and internships.
  • Alumni provide financial support through donations or other forms of philanthropy.
  • Strong engagement creates the ultimate sense of community among graduates, which improves overall morale and helps former students remain connected with one another.

Institutions gain an increased reputation for a strong alumni community, which is attractive to prospective students.

How to Engage Alumni in Seven Simple Steps

1. Welcome Them Into the Fold Early

One of the best ways to increase your chances of having engaged alumni is by welcoming students into the alumni association ahead of their graduation. This way, your future grads will already have the impression that your institution is invested in their personal and professional development post-graduation.

Start by showing signs of appreciation with gestures like hand-written notes, an introductory packet of alumni benefits and services, and recorded congratulatory videos from fellow alums.

2. Keep Up With Them After Graduation

At this step, clear communication is critical. Create a comprehensive alumni database that lets you track your grads’ contact information, career progression, and other relevant data points, plus any donations or philanthropic contributions they have made. Contact alums once or twice a year via phone, text, or email.

You should also have a presence on social media channels where alumni can receive updates and connect with each other on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There, alumni can participate in polls, post images from events, share life and career updates, and more.

3. Stay Relevant

Try not to be so stuck on tradition that it alienates a huge group of people. Stay in tune with trends and current events as you engage with your young alumni. Whether it’s a social media topic, in the news, or a popular sporting event, tap into this creative energy for more engagement.

Think of alumni event ideas like a Superbowl-themed trivia competition with a bracket of competing graduating classes, for example.

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4. Ask for Mentorship, Not Money

Most grads can anticipate that your institution will likely contact them and ask for a contribution at some point. While financial contributions are a great indicator of a dedicated alum who’s invested in your institution, remember to remind alums that there are multiple ways to give back to their institution.

Create coordinated efforts to make your alumni feel they’re important stakeholders. Offer mentorship programs for alums to guide and professionally network with current students, create volunteer opportunities, and ask alumni to speak at seminars and virtual events.

5. Host Frequent and Accessible Events

Another great idea is to host regular alumni events such as reunions, career fairs, or club events. These types of events will help create a sense of community among alumni and provide an opportunity for them to reconnect with one another and their alma mater.

Additionally, hosting regular alumni-focused events can be effective in showcasing new initiatives and programs at the institution, potentially sparking interest from former students who may not have considered donating or otherwise engaging with the institution before.

Observe the data you’ve collected about the cities your alumni are working and living in and establish chapters in these sister cities. By meeting them where they are, your alumni can stay connected across the country.

6. Designate a Platform for Your Alumni to Stay Connected

Every higher education institution should have a designated alumni website or portal. This should be a spot where alumni can log on, keep up with university news, visit forums, make contributions, and read up on their alumni benefits. Additionally, institutions should list alumni organizations and events the grad can sign up for and attend.

Consider that everyone doesn’t have the same exposure to tech, so make sure your alumni portal is easily accessible and not buried under several pages. Keep the relevant information front and center. Also, be sure that any programs or services you use to gather alumni data can easily integrate with your system and save you time and effort on data entry.

7. Provide a Service

Show gratitude to your beloved alumni for choosing your institution by providing specialized services, as well as exclusive offers or discounts on products and services. Think of alumni program ideas you may have seen at other institutions, or even come up with something unique to your institution.

Great examples of these benefits are:

  • Career services that offer interviewing prep and resume writing assistance, free professional headshots for LinkedIn profiles, and mock interviews.
  • Discounted tech fees and computer classes
  • Travel discounts
  • Financial service benefits
  • University apparel and bookstore discounts

Maintain Your Engagement Well After Graduation With StageClip’s Alumni Surveys

As a commencement partner that specializes in custom graduation clips, StageClip helps universities jumpstart their alumni engagement process early-on. While your graduates are enjoying their personalized graduation clips of one of their proudest moments, they’ll have no problem answering a few simple alumni survey questions. It’s a win-win situation for both parties—your grads get to relive memories to last a lifetime, and your institution gets instant feedback.

Our platform is extremely user-friendly, so you can complete the sign-up process in three simple steps. Don’t worry about any extra work—our client success team can manage the entire project on your behalf.

Ready to see instant results with your alumni strategy? Book a demo with us today.

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