Engagement 101: What should you be tracking?
Does jumping into the world of alumni engagement metrics and data seem too daunting? Do excel spreadsheets scare you? No worries, we’re here to help and let you know that it’s easier than you think to start tracking your alumni and using actionable intelligence to shape your goals, initiatives, and events.
Welcome to Engagement 101, where we’ll go over the basics of building an alumni engagement and metrics program.
Part 1: What should we track?
Part 2: How should we be recording our data?
Part 3: What do use our data to build strategy and make decisions?
Do you need to start better tracking the engagement of your alumni? Do you even want to start to develop an engagement score? I promise it’s not as daunting or scary as it seems. Any department can measure their alumni engagement, no matter if you’re starting from the ground up or an established, large university.
So where do we start? How about with just a simple discussion of what we should be tracking and what’s important. This may differ from school to school as there are plenty of different initiatives out there and alumni relations departments come in all shapes and sizes.
On the most basic level, think about what your alumni are doing to express affinity for your institutions. If you have to ask “should we be tracking this” then you probably should be tracking it.
Event Registration AND Attendance: Your biggest color bleeders are usually one that will do anything to make it one of your events. Whether it’s on-campus, regionally, or digitally, every event registration is a strong action by your alumni. Many universities will just track event registrations, but attendance is equally important in creating actionable intelligence for future initiatives and conversations.
Donors: This one is pretty simple. The correlation between affinity and one’s willingness to give is undeniable.
Online Communities: Do you have an online network that your alumni base is participating in? Make sure to keep track of who has joined and who is active within the community.
Volunteerism: Keep track of who is raising their hand and helping you out whether it’s physically at an event or digitally.
Outside the Box
Email Clicks: If you’re using a solid email platform like Emma, MailChimp, or others then it’s pretty easy to track who is taking an action with your emails. Open rates are great, but they aren’t that meaningful. Dig a little deeper and track who is clicking, what they are clicking on, and their frequencies. It will pay dividends in the long run.
Social Media: Tracking social media seems daunting, but we’ll show you some ways to do it in Part 2. Like email clicks, social media is going to give you insight on your alumni, but it’s also going to let you identify your color bleeders and what they are passionate about.
Sports Fandom: Who are your season ticket holders? Who is coming back to campus most often? Your athletics department has a treasure trove of information about a huge portion of your alumni who may not be that involved outside the playing fields.
Career Services: Does your institution provide career services to alumni or opportunities for them to get involved with current students. Who is participating in your career fairs? Who is bringing on interns from your university? All of this is immensely valuable to your office.
Departmental Data: Chances are there are departments all around your campus having events of their own and probably not keeping great track of those events. We’ll talk about some tools to bring everyone together, but, just like athletics, this is very valuable data.
Join us for a free digital workshop on October 31st to learn how to build a metric system custom to your strategy and explore more of the “outside the box” engagement metrics touchpoints. We will also share with you some of the most common pitfalls that lead to data overload and ways to simply metrics in your every day.