Just having the same Almamater serves as a powerful connection for Alumni and they have become the epitome of the Institution’s greatness for branding. However, with the changing scenarios, the perception of Alumni is no longer confined to just reunions or fundraisings. The awareness of benefits has got Alumni dynamics evolving and strengthened. The digital shift has brought forth more ways of Alumni Engagement and it is crucial for the Institutions to clued up.
Broadening of understanding, the playbook of Alumni engagement has not been limited as in old times. Institutions have started to explore multiple effective and efficient ways to engage their Alumni meaningfully. Unless the institutions educate the value of being connected with the alumni, they are not coming back. While the reunions are still a great way to bring Alumni together, we can no longer rely on just them.
Here are a few Advanced Ways to look at Alumni Engagement –
Lifelong Learning Opportunities and Services
There’s no doubt that Alumni associations offer unique and lasting worth to the graduates and by broadening the understanding of support in a holistic way including both professional and personal benefits, Institutions can make Alumni stay connected for longer periods. Offering and communicating value through targeted membership programs, access to alumni discounts/Services, Job boards with lateral hiring opportunities, entrepreneurship exhibitions, workshops/webinars that strengthen the chances of overall development will be much appreciated by Alumni.
Prioritize Digital Presence
Traditionally, Alumni associations have kept delivering value through physical events and programs and the pandemic has made it possible to rethink strategies leading to virtual reunions or events enabling Alumni to attend from all over the world without compromising their own schedules. These online gatherings have shown to be effective in boosting membership growth and engagement. Owing to the digitally native generation, hybrid approach to events, Digital marketing, Mobile mobile-centric platforms have proven to cut costs and save time. Prioritizing digital presence is definitely a new way to look at, to improve Alumni Engagement, because of the growing and wider appeal in the masses. Learn how digital presence helps in better Alumni Engagement HERE
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
As the world moves away from transactional relationships, better Alumni Engagement demands more emphasis on connection, and thus, personalization is likely to grow in importance for Institutions. In order to cater to today’s attention-driven world, institutions will need to invent methods of personalized communication and targeted outreach depending on the preferences of Alumni. Facilitating one-on-one interactions, and access to make groups based on the Alumni’s interests help to strengthen institutional relationships.
Also known as reciprocal mentoring, this refers to a scenario where recent graduates or younger alumni take on the role of mentors for older Alumni. They can help enhance technological proficiency, and stay updated on relevant platforms, and digital spaces effectively. Younger alumni bring a fresh perspective to the table with different approaches to problem-solving, innovative ideas, and unique insights inspiring senior alumni to think creatively and consider new possibilities. Giving an opportunity for alumni from different generations to connect, collaborate, and build networks, offers a two-way street allowing both parties to learn from each other improving participation and engagement.
These days, Alumni are also looking for opportunities or possibilities to contribute to the community, be it as philanthropy or to improve their brand. Encourage Alumni to contribute to philanthropic causes by organizing fundraisers and charity events customized to their interests. Establish a scholarship fund to support current students and show where the Alumni donations go to induce a sense of pride. Celebrate alumni who have made significant contributions to society through their work. By highlighting these alumni as role models and ambassadors, others can be inspired as well.
Looking at new ways of Alumni Engagement has a wider scope of getting benefits from the Alumni community. Here are a few potential outcomes apart from the traditional ones –
Many rankings and accreditation methodologies like NIRF, NAAC, etc. consider alumni-related metrics, such as alumni giving rates, employment outcomes, and graduate satisfaction, and strong Alumni engagement would help perform well in these indicators, thereby boosting their rankings. Experienced/Successful Alumni can be reached out for Research collaborations, fundraisings and also contribute to the institution’s reputation.
Admissions and Retention
Engaged alumni serve as powerful advocates for the institution during the admissions process, Prospective students often find alumni testimonials influential in their decision-making process. Also, when alumni actively participate in institutional activities, it creates a strong sense of community, fostering a positive campus culture and contributing to student satisfaction and retention. Seeing alumni who have excelled in their fields can motivate students to set ambitious goals, and persist in their education, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.
Alumni can help students and recent graduates with Industry insights, job opportunities, Internship/co-op programs, career guidance, mock interview sessions, resume review workshops, referrals, and recommendations. By encouraging strong alumni relationships and leveraging their expertise, institutions can enhance placement outcomes for their graduates and strengthen their reputation as a provider of successful career pathways. This also helps to achieve quality over quantity and long-term betterment.
Alumni engagement, when strategically planned and executed, can significantly contribute to improving an institution’s brand visibility through word-of-mouth marketing. Highlighting the achievements of notable alumni through various communication channels is a compelling way to improve brand value. Harnessing the power of alumni advocacy, online presence, success stories, events, and collaborations, institutions can strengthen their brand identity and increase their visibility.
An Institution can ensure that its legacy, values, and traditions continue to be cherished and passed on by encouraging Alumni engagement. Alumni can contribute to maintaining the legacy by sharing their stories, and fundraising to preserve its heritage. Their insights and expertise can provide valuable perspectives and help uncover lesser-known aspects of the institution’s legacy.
The list of benefits that Alumni engagement brings with it is not exhaustive and thus, thriving institutions can never take the same for granted. While the above suggestions are the contemporary ways to think about Alumni Engagement, Institutions can tailor them according to the needs and expectations of the Alumni.