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Increasing Alumni Engagement When Your Numbers Are Low
Alumni are an important asset for colleges. They most often will enthusiastically represent and support their college in a positive way. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and alumni can be the best spokespeople. However, when alumni are not engaged, that valuable word of mouth may no longer exist. Low alumni engagement numbers are very discouraging, but there are ways to increase those numbers and see alumni that are excited and willing to share their experiences with the world.
One of the first ways a college can increase alumni engagement will be in the development of social media groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Once the groups are established, the college can invite alumni to join them on Facebook and send invitations on LinkedIn to become members. Alumni will be able to post discussions, comments, and jobs; reply to each other’s posts; and share information that they otherwise would not have been able to do. Some effective ways to increase engagement on social media are: posting job opportunities, posting event highlights with photos of alumni speakers and/or volunteers, and setting up Google alerts about alumni and highlighting their achievements on social media groups.
It is also important to have an updated alumni database with current contact information (last names before and after graduation, phone numbers, email, and physical addresses, and spouse and/or family names). Creating a contact information sheet and putting it on the college’s website can encourage alumni to update their information. It is also important to post the website link to the contact sheet in the college’s social media groups to encourage usage. Once you know where your alumni are, it will be easier to reach out to them via email and telephone.
If the college encourages engaged alumni to reach out to missing graduates to re-connect, having some valuable services to offer as incentive for coming back can be helpful. Some services to provide are: public speaking opportunities; free marketing of their business and/or professional success on the college website; job opportunities, event invites, and mentor opportunities; continuing education, program, and services discounts; and more.
Whether you have a full-fledged alumni association or are building a new one, the key to increasing alumni engagement is to create more opportunities for alumni to connect with the college and each other. Seeing increased engagement is an exciting feat and is mutually beneficial for both the college and alumni alike.