From the moment a student has turned their tassel they have earned the title of alumni. Not only is it a significant moment in the life of a student but it is a significant moment in the life of the institution.
As an administrator in an educational institution, you know that students who have successfully matriculated can provide enormous power in showcasing the impact of the education you provide.
Leveraging that power is another thing entirely. Ensuring that alumni stay connected to their institution can be an overwhelming task. Creating a communication plan with a clear schedule will increase alumni participation. Here are a few things to consider when beginning to draft your alumni communication plan.
Who are they?
Beginning with simple data like graduation year, type of degree, location, gender, job and more will help you craft the messages that will resonate with specific groups. Segmenting groups will ensure that alumni will get information that’s important to them. The risk of sending generic messages to the entire alumni audience will put your communications at risk of being ignored or worse, cause unsubscribes.
What do they want to know?
Most alumni organizations are synonymous with a request for donations. College alumni who have acquired significant student loan debt are less likely to donate financially, but may be more likely to donate other resources. Brainstorm ways for alumni to participate in campus events such as being career advisers or mentors, judges or panelists for on campus events, staff for student retreats and outings, with the goal of allowing alumni to participate in the development and advancement of not only the intuition but of current students. Use the segmented groups that you created to send information to the people that would be most likely to participate in specific events.
When do they want to know?
When creating a communication plan make sure that you are scheduling to communicate at least once every three months. You can send additional invitations to events throughout but make sure that you consistently reach out to alumni. These messages can contain volunteer or fundraising opportunities but should also include a simple thank you and opportunity for the alumni to let you know how to better serve them.
The main things to keep in mind when planning alumni communication are:
1. Get to know your Alumni.
2. Let them know things specific to their needs.
3. Communicate consistently and remember to listen for what they need from your organization.
If you keep these three things in mind your alumni organization will see significant improvement in the level of participation.