A thriving and engaged alumni community can be majorly beneficial to any organization/institution.
The problem comes in when associations take the wrong approach when engaging with their alumni. This results in a small and uninterested alumni community.
Before you start to panic, keeping your alumni happy and engaged is a lot easier than you might think. With just a few simple strategies, you can develop a prominent alumni community that helps your institution achieve its goals.
In this guide, we’ll cover some of the main reasons why your alumni community isn’t working properly and what you can do to avoid this from reoccurring.
What Is An Alumni Community And Why Are They Important?
An alumni community is a group of former members of an organization that the organization stays in touch with. This typically refers to academic alumni, such as college graduates. Although, you can also get corporate alumni communities, which consist of people who used to work at a company.
Instead of letting these people disappear, creating an engaged alumni community has many benefits. Basically, it provides your organization with a wider pool of people to help it achieve its goals. For example, an alumni community could help a college with fundraising and events, or a corporate alumni community could help a business with new hires.
Whatever the case, the important aspect to consider when it comes to your alumni community is that it needs to be interactive and adequately engaged.
This means that the members of the community (your alumni) should interact with your organization and with other alumni members on a regular basis, and should participate in events or seminars.
This will result in stronger alumni relationships and an alumni community that does more to support your organization.
6 Common Alumni Community Mistakes
There are a few important strategies you should follow to develop an engaged and active alumni community.
Let’s look at the potential mistakes and how to avoid them.
First and foremost, your alumni community needs a home. Far too many organizations simply communicate with their alumni via email or set up a social media group.
Yes, this can help you stay in touch with alumni, but it doesn’t result in an actively engaged alumni network. Instead, you need to create a space for your alumni community, where they can join, interact with each other, and engage with your brand.
Using a dedicated alumni network platform is the best solution. This makes it easier to share the right content and connect with your alumni. It also provides a better experience for your alumni, which helps keep them more engaged.
There’s not much point in developing an alumni community if you don’t have clear goals and objectives of what you are aiming to achieve.
Some common alumni community goals include:
- Increasing awareness about your organization
- Boosting alumni fundraising
- Increasing event attendance
- Establishing mentorship programs for your alumni
- Improving the quality of future hires
- Improve employment prospects for future graduates
- Enhance pride, tradition, and general positivity around your organization
By establishing what you want to achieve first, you will be able to create alumni content, run events, and engage with your alumni in a way that helps you achieve your objectives and KPIs.
Many organizations try to build an alumni community without giving alumni a clear idea of why they should be part of this community. This kind of one-way approach won’t give alumni any inspiration to join your community, which is likely to result in an uninterested alumni community.
To avoid making this mistake, be sure to highlight the value for your alumni. Don’t make out as if the alumni community is there to benefit your organization – it also needs to be clear that the main aim is to benefit your members.
Some possible areas of value could be to expand members’ career prospects, connect them with mentors, improve networking opportunities, access exclusive content, organize events, and more.
If you give your alumni reason to join and remain engaged, you will end up with a far more successful and enthused alumni community.
It’s essential that you don’t overlook your alumni’s user experience, which is something that far too many organizations compromise on.
Make sure that the user experience for your platform is quick and easy for alumni to create a profile.
This should contain all of the important information that they want to share, and find out from other members of the network. It’s also important to include features like an easy-to-search member directory or convenient messaging and communication tools.
Your alumni don’t just want to hear news from your organization. They also want to engage with each other and be active members of a community.
The platform you use should support networking, instant chat, and any other features that enhance this kind of community experience and nurture networking opportunities.
Offering alumni a satisfactory user experience will improve retention and enhance the long-term success of your alumni community.
A common mistake that organizations make is only sharing content or news when they need something from their alumni network. This doesn’t motivate your alumni to stay interested in the community.
Instead, you should be actively involved in sharing content to keep your alumni community interested and engaged. Share events, news, articles, videos, newsletters, and anything else that could add value to your alumni’s lives.
Ideally, your alumni engagement platform should have features that make sharing content easy. Key features like a knowledge centre, events board, and opportunities board will improve content sharing and the user experience.
When establishing and managing an alumni network, one of the key factors to keep in mind is to have a good understanding of the different demographics of your alumni. Your network may cover a wide range of ages, interests, specializations, and locations.
The best approach is to segment your alumni into lists or create various sub-communities within your larger alumni community.
This will allow you to share more targeted, personalized content and experiences with each different alumni segment.
This method of targeting specific groups with greatly assist in piquing the interest of your members with pertinent content that is of value to them. This will ultimately assist in broadening your scope and expanding your alumni community.
Building and maintaining an alumni community the right way can be highly rewarding for an institution or organization.
The most important factors to keep in mind are to create a positive experience for your alumni, provide immense value to them through content and resources, use a community platform tool that makes their lives easier, and create an outstanding user experience.
As a result, you should see a more supportive and engaged alumni community.
Aluminate is a dedicated alumni platform that provides solutions tailored to a range of alumni communities. Your alumni will be able to access a seamless online experience, easily communicate and network with other alumni members, and access the right content from your organization.