As years pass after graduation, alumni distance themselves from their prior stomping grounds. They’re launching careers, starting families, and socializing with new colleagues. If you want them to return for a football game or make a donation, you have to give them a compelling reason to give you their time. Here are few ways to increase alumni engagement:
Provide Unique Alumni Benefits
Alumni engagement can’t exist as a one-way street. If you’re always extending your hand, palm-up, for a donation, your past graduates will get sick of the ceaseless requests for money — and they’ll disengage. That’s not the reaction you want.
Consider creating new, unique alumni services to show that the giving and sharing work both ways. You can make benefits even more special by targeting them to a specific demographic. For instance, Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management offers B-school graduates their own set of perks, from networking events to career management counseling.
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The aforementioned two-way street can produce valuable feedback from alumni — but only if you ask for it. Hanover Research recommends reaching out to alumni to ask about their desires, expectations, and experiences. What perks would they like to enjoy as members of your alumni association? How do they feel about your prior communications? Would they change anything?
Once you compile this data, you can analyze it for common threads. If numerous alumni mention an interest in networking events, for instance, you might want to facilitate them. Take an active role in learning what your prospects want and delivering on their expectations. You’ll see alumni engagement skyrocket.
Invest in Alumni-Specific Content
Many universities and colleges focus their content marketing efforts primarily on prospective students. However, you don’t want to neglect the people who have already graduated. In fact, you might want to set up separate channels specifically for alumni.
Create a blog or social media channel just for graduates. Use an alumni-centered Facebook account, for instance, to help graduates keep in touch and to lend a hand in each individual’s job search. Make sure you have a website or page for your alumni association, and consider adding a blog with regularly updated content.
Guide: How to Use Blogging to Engage Alumni – Download our guide and learn how to create and curate blog content for your school, create blog ideas, optimize blog posts to get found by prospective students and how to engage alumni.
Invite Alumni to Events
Another way to strategically increase alumni engagement is to invite your graduates back to school. Don’t make a generic plea to return for just any event, however. Instead, make it all about them.
For instance, professionals who graduated from your school can make excellent speakers for current students. You’ll stroke egos while you increase your chances for future communication.
Keep track of your alumni so you can celebrate their accomplishments. If a former student makes a scientific discovery or lands a book deal, for instance, you can organize an awards ceremony.
Increasing alumni engagement means making your communication all about your prior students. If you focus on them, you’ll see an increase in response. If you’re still not getting the results you need, contact us. We’ll share our expert-level advice and strategies for effective higher education marketing.