According to a recent VAESE survey, 90% of organizations don’t offer their alumni benefits or see little enthusiasm or results with the benefits they do offer. If your organization does not yet have an alumni strategy, or you too are struggling with engagement, this article is for you.

In the academic sector, an alumni association is a network of former students and graduates. In the corporate sector, it is a network of former employees and executives.

An alumni association does offer many benefits. But whether you are in the academic or corporate world, the first step in building an alumni association is creating a strong alumni strategy that is mutually beneficial to both parties involved. Read on to learn what this strategy is, why it is so important, and what to consider when creating an alumni strategy of your own.

What is an alumni strategy and why is it important?

Whether you are launching an alumni network from scratch or enhancing an existing one, you need two things. You need a good foundation to build on, like Aluminati’s community platform software, and a good strategy.

Your alumni strategy is the plan of action to establish an alumni association for your organization. It will determine the stakeholders, both internal and external, and the benefits you hope to offer and receive from your alumni network.

In higher education institutions

Why is a strong alumni strategy for a higher education institution important? It maximizes alumni’s achievements both during their studies and since they left, enhancing your institution’s public image. Your alumni not only serve as brand ambassadors for your institution, but they can also offer benefits such as mentoring your current students, knowledge sharing, and fundraising.

Students who graduated Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and especially Summa Cum Laude may have gone on to attain significant corporate or political influence. This makes them most suitable for representing your institution.

However, remember to include stakeholders from all walks of life in your alumni strategy. Diversity not only enhances your university or college’s reputation, it builds a more relevant and robust alumni network.

creating an alumni strategy

In a corporate organization 

Why is a strong alumni strategy for a corporate institution important? It maximizes the many skills and vast expertise your ex-executives bring to the table, to help you build a better business.

Alumni can help with future talent acquisition, sometimes filling roles themselves. Your corporate alumni are the first place you should look during succession planning. They are also personally acquainted with your workplace culture and business goals, which helps them to further your interests.

That said, ensure that your alumni are kept abreast of your current business goals. Much may have changed since your alumni left the corporation. You need an alumni network strategy that best reflects your current situation, and it should be updated regularly to keep in step with your progress.

5 things to consider when creating an alumni strategy

A strong alumni strategy is important, but when you’re creating one from the ground up there are some important considerations.

1. Defining objectives

What do you want to achieve with your alumni association? What do you, as their alma mater or former employer, expect your alumni to do for you and what can you offer in return?

Do you expect them to offer mentoring and guidance to new or prospective students or employees? The Aluminati platforms’ mentor-matching feature will make it a reality. Can you assist them in navigating their career paths? Our platform can house a digital repository of learning materials.

Creating your mission statement

All large enterprises and higher educational institutions have a mission statement. It outlines your purpose and goals for the university or company. Your alumni association also needs a mission statement, which outlines its purpose, values, and objectives.

2. Stakeholder involvement

Consider other stakeholders. These may be internal, active within your university, or employed at your company. Or they may be external, with vested interests in your institution or organization.

Who are the best candidates for inclusion in your alumni association strategy? How do you intend to engage them, and what do you wish to collaborate with them on? If you wish to revamp an existing alumni association, your existing alumni can help with this.

Your alumni may know of potential external stakeholders you are as yet unaware of, which is vital to expanding your fundraising community.

creating an alumni strategy

Involving current students/employees

Get current students and employees involved with the planning or admin of your alumni organization. Encourage them to interact with alumni for mentorship and career advice. They will be more likely to join it after graduating or leaving your company if they have first-hand knowledge of how it operates.

3. Reciprocal benefits for more engaged alumni

Many alumni feel like their alumni programs are constantly looking for handouts, yet not offering anything in return. This can turn alumni relations sour, fast. Any relationships, including those with your alumni, will be stronger when they are mutually beneficial.

Offer them value to encourage alumni to participate:

  • In the education sector, you might consider offering your alumni career support, further learning resources, and networking opportunities with others in their chosen field.
  • In the corporate sector, you could make new job opportunities available to them, as well as professional development opportunities, and networking events with others in their industry.

Ensuring alumni engagement

Make engaging alumni a top priority. When you engage alumni and keep them interested, you will build stronger bonds with them. The best way to do this is with a community platform where they can communicate and stay up-to-date with current events in your university community or workplace.

There are several alumni engagement strategies.

Keep alumni informed about upcoming alumni events through Aluminati’s digital dashboard, where every user sees posts that best meet their interests. Ensure alumni engagement through activities, events, and networking sessions. Also, assign them to groups where they can interact with like-minded peers.

creating an alumni strategy

4. Resource allocation

No matter the size or scope, an alumni association needs an adequate budget and resources. Different aspects of the program will need different resources and funds, so ensure that you have allocated the right amounts for each.

Designate dedicated staff members for this role, preferably someone with good financial and budgeting skills. They should also be someone you know you can trust to handle finances for the organization. You’ll also need someone to help you with the initial fundraising to get started.

Funding your alumni community

To ensure a robust alumni network, you need to start strong. You need a plan and a platform, but most of all, you need funding. This is what will allow you to set up the first few alumni events, where you can invite alumni to officially join your association.

5. Delegation and empowerment

Like any other association, an alumni association will have a hierarchy of sorts, with specific roles for its members to fill. Some will be your official ambassadors, others will be designated to do volunteer work on behalf of the alumni network when needed.

You must keep your database up-to-date, so you never lose contact with your alumni. Use Aluminati’s social data sync to keep your alumni community data accurate.

Matching alumni to roles

Once you have established a rough draft for your alumni database, you can start matching alumni to their prospective roles. Choose individuals who have the skill sets that best meet those roles. For example, a marketing graduate for fundraising, an accounting graduate for budgeting, and so on.

Watch your alumni strategy come to life with Aluminate

Creating an alumni strategy will help you realize your objectives for the alumni network. But first, you need to make joining the association appealing. And your alumni engagement strategic plan starts with the right platform.

This is where your alumni community can interact with the institution/organization, and each other.

Aluminati is the community platform service that leading academic institutions and corporate enterprises can rely on. For academic alumni, choose Aluminate for Education. For corporate alumni, choose Aluminate for Enterprise.

Still undecided? Request a free demo.