Alumni events are the anchors that tether the alumni to their memorable past while savoring the privileges of the present. Events reminisce about the good old days of the alumni when they fostered life-long friendships, experienced the taste of camaraderie, learned skills, and persevered through the rollercoaster ride of college individually. Events that remind the alumni of all this play a vital role in maintaining relationships with them for longer periods of time. Orchestrating events that reflect the shared interests of the alumni diaspora is not an easy task. It requires a unique blend of timing, strategy, technology, and a deep understanding of alumni preferences. In this article, let’s explore the tactics, suggestions, and pointers that will iron out the wrinkles in your event management system and propel you to build and maintain alumni relationships that transcend the spheres of time and distance.
Seamless Event Infrastructure
As an institution, you aspire to host wonderful events your alumni will remember for years. To conduct such an event, you must have infrastructure that optimizes every aspect and saves time. Your alumni portal is the perfect medium for this. From signups to RSVPs and event summaries to reminder emails, the alumni portal brings everything under its roof. Here, you can publish events, create attractive banners that match the theme of the events, create custom questions to learn about alumni preferences, integrate payment gateways with your alumni portal, and many more such facilities. Create and share a QR code for registration across all your social media platforms. This reduces the regular process of registering on the website.
To make the process of creating more engaging for the alumni, appoint a student organizing committee, which would supervise all aspects of events happening in the institution. This way, the students can interact with the alumni and get all the necessary information and preferences. The committee can dole out reminder emails, personalized invitations, etc. Create an FAQ section on the events page that answers all the standard questions about an upcoming event. Put out a helpline headed by students on the committee for all the doubts alumni have about the events.
Venue Matters a Lot!
There are a plethora of alumni events that you can organize as an institution. Ranging from reunion meets to upskilling workshops, each event requires a separate approach. For instance, you can host a workshop in the college. Still, if you opt for a much bigger event like alumni homecoming/global reunion, the attendees will be diverse. The need for a much bigger, grander venue will be imminent. The venue is pivotal to events like these. Distinguished alumni of your institution would want to meet their long-lost friends in a decent if not a good, place. If you feel the venue is eating out a significant chunk of the expenses, put an entry fee for the alumni. Don’t be awkward about this; a token amount is never a barrier for the overachieving pioneers your institution produces.
While we are at it, inviting old faculties, deans, and VCs to the events is suggested. Alumni take pride in meeting their mentors, who played an essential part in their student lives. This helps you score brownie points, as a talk with their mentors is something they will never forget.
Batch Meets are a Must!
Batch reunions are one of the most frequently organized alumni events. Every batch graduates each year. If you are a college with 2 or 3 major educational streams, you will have 2 to 3 batches graduating each year. Imagine yourself at a university with many academic degrees and post-graduations; the outflow would be massive each passing year. Generally, class/batch reunions are held at silver and diamond jubilees of the institution. Who says you have to restrict yourselves for that? Try hosting batch reunions at every 5th or 10th anniversary! Batch meets are a great way to entice and engage your alumni. Let your alumni feel that you value them more now than ever. Since batches can be particularly old and relatively new, ensure the liaisons you employ are the right fit for the alumni.
For instance, use student and faculty coordinators to invite millennials (21-25-year-old alumni) as they generally would be in touch with them. To invite more seasoned alumni such as captains (35-54-year-old alumni) and patriarchs ( 55 and above-year-old alumni), employ HODs, directors, and deans. Also, create invitations that suit the tastes of the alumni.
Branding the Events
Let’s say you are organizing a chapter meeting. You booked a great venue, created online and offline registration facilities, mailed personal invitations, and pulled all mandatory stops. On the D-day, the turnout was significantly lower than what you expected. What do you think might be the reason for this? Branding or promotions are necessary in the dynamic world that we are living in. If you want to take something into the people, campaigning and promoting it has become mandatory. It applies to the events you are hosting as well. If you are organizing an alumni meet, invite at least 3 alumni who are the big guns of their industries, such as Presidents, Vice presidents, and top dogs in their companies, to promote the same from their social media handles, corporate alumni portals, etc. Use testimonials of the patriarchs in branding the events during promotions. For networking events such as Executive Hiring Programs, invite alumni HRs and alumni Talent Acquisition Specialists. Sharing their profiles beforehand as a part of promotions is an excellent way to gather traction.
Also, inviting alumni artists such as guitarists, stand-up comedians, renowned writers, and media persons can provide impetus to the events you are organizing. Encourage the artists to perform a gig at the event to increase the footfall. Make sure the blend is balanced; it should be entertaining and professional at the same time.
Maximizing event participation requires a strategic approach with a hint of personal touch. There are many events an institution can organize to engage its alumni, and each event can be tailored by keeping the alumni satisfaction as the priority. The success of the events goes beyond that day, etching into the minds of the alumni forever. This may encourage relatively strong bonds with your alumni. By understanding the alumni demographics, their preferences, creating personalized invitations, and many more tactics mentioned above and suggestions, you can host alumni events that can define and alter the course of the institution’s journey and forge bonds that will stand tall, defeating the challenges posed by time and age.
We at Vaave pride ourselves in facilitating the smooth organization of events by providing a dedicated events module on the alumni portal. The module gives all the necessary features, such as mass emailing options, creating custom questions for the attendees, providing RSVP options and many more!