engagement metrics, initiatives & other programs, technology

3 Things Your Alumni Engagement Strategy Needs NOW

Last week our CEO, Melissa Schipke took some time to recap the major themes from Alumni Professionals conferences through the year.

Some of the main take-aways included:

  • Use data & analytics to be more strategic
  • Reach and interest young alumni
  • Give to your alumni before you ask of them

So the question I will be looking to answer today is, “Where do we go from here?”

After some thought and discussion between our Engagement Specialists here at Tassl, we’ve determined these three things that your alumni engagement strategy needs NOW:

Instruments for Measurement (for "Use data & analytics to be more strategic")
  • Goal Setting: If you don't know where you're looking to go, you'll never get there. Set goals for your engagement strategy, based on metrics you can currently track (email opens, social media shares, etc.)

  • Understanding Unique Touches vs. Repeats: as a subset to Setting Goals, try to be as specific as you can with your goals by including "unique" reach. Does interacting with the same alumni over and over again provide value to the entire network, or does getting more alumni involved that weren't previously active bring more value? The former is easier, the latter more impactful!

  • Repeatability: Make your measurements easy to collect, either via software, or a process that is consistent and streamlined. This may involve getting some interns or work study students involved in order to ensure these measurements don't fade off of your to-do list.

  • Ask for Help: If you know schools that have implemented similar programs, don’t be afraid to reach out to them for advice! Reaching out to organizations like CAMMP or CASE is a great first step!

Focus on Mini-Engagements (for Reach and interest young alumni")
  • Align with Your Audience's Availability: People are short on time. Engagement opportunities have often been large time commitments (such as committees, boards, mentor programs etc.) that require advanced planning on everyone's part.

  • Make it Short and Easy: Younger generations are now accustomed to immediate and even last-minute decisions on how they're going to spend their weekend or current evening (like selecting a date by “swiping right” after 2-3 seconds of analyzing a picture, for example!). You will have a much better chance of getting commitments on smaller requests.

Planned Recognition (for "Give to your alumni before you ask of them")
  • Keep it Small: Look for little ways to recognize your alumni without breaking the bank nor taking too much time. Leverage your Alumni Association's Facebook page to "feature" alumni and their achievements. You can do this through Google Alerts, and receive daily emails when your alumni are featured in news across the internet. You can make it an event, by selecting a certain day of the week for which these posts will be shared (this also gives more time to find the content you're going to share).

  • Thank alumni for their participation: If you have regional groups, make plans to send out "Thank You" emails or snail mail cards after events from the Alumni Association. This also helps your Alumni Network become a more cohesive system, rather than a fragmented matrix.