Higher educational institutions have started focusing on Alumni Management which has mutual benefits as the Alumni Networks have become the gateways for a successful and thriving Institution. This involves connecting a large Alumni network, data control, maintenance, and also, providing opportunities for Alumni to reconnect, engage, raise funds, and stay in touch.
While the importance of Alumni Management is being highlighted, technological advancement has helped Institutions to unlock the ultimate way to penetrate the wider segments of Alumni and maintain relations with an Accessible Alumni Platform. What exactly is this and how to choose one?
A dedicated Alumni Management Platform is an online tool that helps Institutions organize Alumni data and boost efforts for Engagement, powering institution-alumni relations. The best-in-class Alumni Platform should be able to exhibit the helpfulness it creates, the reasons for Alumni to come back, and act as a pull factor for Alumni to engage. While the features vary according to the diverse needs and expectations of the Alumni or the Institution, let’s take a closer look at a few essential features that are not to be missed while determining one such platform for you.
Exclusive domain with easy Sign-Up
The Alumni platform domain should be exclusive as the institutions like alumni.institution.edu and is to be in line with brand requests imbibing the familiarity and trust factor among Alumni. Easy signup ensuring a simple process for initial registration with mobile-friendly access would provide a seamless experience for Alumni encouraging them to get registered. Social media login options for signing up along with progressive profiling would maintain a smooth signup workflow and encourage Alumni to complete and update their profiles gradually.
Accommodative, Intuitive, and User-Friendly
An Alumni platform should cater to all kinds of Alumni personas and their different preferences, requirements, and challenges. Eg: Recent graduates would opt for a mobile app, and real-time updates whereas the senior ones may prefer a web version and newsletters/emails. A responsive and simple interface allowing easy navigation with an optimized, consistent layout would create a stickiness for Alumni to come, and stay on to the platform to achieve a purpose and will thus enhance user engagement and overall usability.
As more alumni join with each passing year, the database calls for handling an increasing amount of data and efficient data retrieval. A searchable directory with advanced filters for Alumni data based on various criteria such as name, graduation year, industry, location, or interests is a must-have for targeted communication of events like chapter meets would be focused for Alumni of a particular location or the silver jubilee celebrations would be for Alumni graduated in a specific year. The provision for dynamic updates to the Alumni Profiles is needed to improve the personalized experience for Alumni by tailoring recommendations and notifications based on individual alumni preferences/interests enhancing Alumni Engagement.
This encompasses various tasks aimed at maintaining an informative and interactive website. Structured processes for content management like Alumni Data updation, News, Emails, Events/announcements, and easy navigation on top of prompt technical sustenance with ticketing systems, less downtime/maintenance form integral features to be considered in an Alumni Platform.
Special admin capabilities
To control data by approvals/moderation and manage events, automatic Birthday wishes, monthly digest updates, mass emails, browse/export/import alumni data, and view engagement stats help you to manage Alumni networks effectively and should be preferred.
Customization and Personalization
The best Alumni Platform facilitates data customization and targeted communication boosting Alumni Engagement. Alumni expectations vary – students would look for mentoring programs/jobs and Alumni would be interested in similar interest/batch groups. Allowing Alumni to create, and customize their profiles, choose the types of notifications/updates they wish to receive, and easily switch on/off of certain features would be greatly beneficial. A personalized experience, whenever they log in with options to refine platform features as per the preferences or interests of Alumni, would draw them the next time as well.
Community building and Engagement
The success of your Alumni community depends ultimately on the level of their engagement. An Alumni Platform should be able to demonstrate value to the Alumni to come back. Offering tools to help Alumni in professional development through exclusive Alumni Job boards with direct apply access, partnerships/collaborations with the help of mentoring opportunities and special interest groups is imperative and boosts community building.
Creating an interactive platform that allows alumni to contribute content, connect with like-minded individuals, collaborate on projects, research, entrepreneurial endeavors, and build a business directory enhances networking opportunities and fosters overall alumni engagement, giving it a competitive edge.
Alumni would always want to give back to their Alma mater. They’re just looking for ways. Fundraising access on an alumni platform enhances the platform’s value proposition by providing a channel for alumni to understand and support causes they are interested in, thus creating a shared experience. Access to multiple channels, easy give-back options, or fundraising strategies, should be looked for in an Alumni Platform.
Integration and Analytics
The Alumni Platform should be a comprehensive hub for your Alumni and that’s where all the Alumni activities should take place enabling single-place interaction for Alumni. To accomplish the same, your platform should have all the integration of tools to support robust membership like social media handles, payment gateways, etc., upgrading the platform’s functionality. Also, it should be able to generate reports of user engagement like no of reunions/Sessions, event participation (RSVP), funds raised, and value analytics like no. of jobs posted, no. of students placed, mentee/mentor count, etc., and analyze trends to derive a data-driven strategy to boost engagement.
Scalable and Secure
Alumni count tends to increase with each passing year and an Alumni Platform should be able to handle networks of any size, without concerns about data storage, bandwidth, or the anticipated increased costs for institutions. Also, since the platform would be storing important information about your Alumni, it has to be safe, free from SQL injections/hackers, secure as per OWASP standards, and adhering to security norms ensuring the privacy of data integrated.
An alumni platform is as important as the brand of the Institution as it often serves as the face of the community, representing its values, and is to be well managed to build up credibility among alumni. It’s a dedicated space where alumni can stay connected with each other, as well as with their alma mater supporting lifelong relationships and mutual growth. Well-managed and engaged Alumni Networks are giving a competitive edge with their multitudinous benefits and they need careful and consistent relationship-building over time. With the best-chosen platform, your journey toward meaningful Alumni engagement can be made seamless and stress-free.