Want to know how to increase alumni engagement for your university, there are plenty of alumni engagement ideas out there via an online community.
What is alumni? It is your ex-university participants; and for a university, providing fantastic ‘aftercare’ to alumni is only part of the responsibility.
There’s no guaranteed uptake from graduates if they don’t know there are ways for them to keep in contact with their fellow alumni, or if they simply aren’t interested.
Alumni engagement is something that will have to be earned, and it may not come easily.
Figuring out how to engage alumni might be a challenge, but it’s one that has the potential to pay off greatly if you manage to tap into the right channels and initiate conversations with your alumni.
Take a look at a few alumni event ideas.
What does alumni engagement mean?
Alumni engagement encompasses the ways in which a university maintains its connections with graduates.
‘Engagement’ can cover different conversations between the university and alumni, from social media interactions to attendance at events and alumni functions like reunions.
Alumni engagement ideas should ideally come willingly, stemming from a desire for alumni to keep their university as a part of their lives. Feedback is great for many things and for improving as a continuous process, but it isn’t the same as genuine engagement from alumni.
The reason for this is anybody who graduated can leave their feedback behind and never think about their alma mater again.
Engagement, on the other hand, shows a desire to keep in touch with staff, fellow alumni, and the university as an institution.
What is the best way for alumni engagement?
The best way for alumni engagement is to start strong, mainly by ensuring the process isn’t started too late.
Alumni will have many new avenues to focus their attention once they’ve graduated, and sitting too long on initiatives to engage them may see them too involved with career choices, or simply too uninterested after such a gap, to care.
Alumni are likely to feel more engaged if you make use of their strengths and experiences, offering them the chance to be speakers or join in with networking events.
Think about the best ways to make use of them and what value they can offer to the university having been through a course and finding success afterwards.
Your undergraduates may be able to offer insight here and generate engagement ideas by informing you of what they want most from conversations with alumni, whether that’s guidance in module choices or first-hand advice on the job market awaiting them after their studies.
Your alumni are far more likely to feel engaged and appreciated if they’re made to be useful and valuable resources for the university.
How would you increase alumni participation and interaction?
The work to increase alumni participation and interaction actually begins before the end of their studies—or, at least, it should.
Universities should pay attention to their students, their goals and aspirations, and their values.
This will inform the voices used to talk to students when they become graduates, allowing the university to pitch their communications correctly and give alumni what they need, be that routes to their careers or chances to mentor other students.
Additionally, graduation ceremonies are more than simply showy events. They’re the biggest chance for a university to engage with its students as alumni for the first time. As well as commemorating their achievements and helping them memorialise the day, you can gauge their intentions to continue their relationships with the university and register their interests to return as mentors, speakers, and function in other roles that benefit undergraduates and the university.
Give these alumni platforms through which they can interact with the university—or with other alumni in a network—and feel as though they can impart their worth.
How to keep alumni engagement
Alumni might express initial interest, but the challenge is then ensuring they stay engaged with the university. One way in which this can be helped is by following through with intentions to involve your alumni in the university moving forwards.
If their interest is never put to use in any meaningful way, they will likely become disillusioned and withdraw. So, alumni who are drawn in by the idea of lending their experience and knowledge should most definitely be given the opportunity to use these.
Outside of speaking and networking events, there should be regular communication maintained between alumni and the university. This could be in the form of a newsletter, regular discussions through social media platforms or events specifically made for alumni to network or just mingle within.
How to engage alumni virtually
Virtual engagement can be much more challenging to secure than face-to-face engagement, but it can also be simpler and perhaps even more effective for the right alumni. With many roles now working in hybrid and fully remote contexts, video communication and webinars are much more commonplace for workers and students.
Organising a webinar can eliminate the demands of a face-to-face event—choosing a venue, ensuring there’s room for everyone, and ensuring instructions and timings are clear to everybody attending—whilst still imparting the value provided by speakers.
Tools like Zoom and Teams may be suitable for smaller-scale events, but universities may want to invest in larger-scale third-party solutions (or even develop their own first-party solution).
Between alumni engagement activities, a bespoke alumni management platform can keep alumni able to communicate and interact when outside of specific events, as well as keep alumni informed of said events.
Aluminati and alumni engagement ideas
Engaging alumni in a way that benefits both them and their university is something we’re constantly striving to facilitate and improve.
Aluminate for Education is a platform built from the ground up specifically for these purposes and more, placing alumni in the ideal environment to network whilst cutting through the noise of social media platforms.
To find out more about our solutions, contact us today.