Universities are in most cases, stable, risk adverse institutions designed to last for millennia.
With increasing uncertainty about secure funding and changing political climate, ever more universities are viewing their alumni network as an essential component of their continued longevity.
Despite the challenges, advancements in communications and technology present new opportunities to dramatically increase engagement.
Reasons why universities are investing in in alumni relations:
1 Philanthropic income
In 2017, Annual donations to UK universities exceeded £1bn. The Ross-Case survey of higher education, conducted by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (Case) Europe, showed that the total amount of philanthropic income secured in new funds by 110 participating universities had risen by 23%.
2 Adding value
Providing value to students and alumni means offering an education that will lead to successful careers for their graduates.
Mentoring oportunities and executive programs can support students and alumni throughout their life journey, making them feel valued and more likely to engage or give back.
3 Securing the future
Attracting new cohorts of students and growing capacity is key to the future success of any institution. A large and engaged community increases the standing of your university,and engaged alumni act as ambassadors, keeping the life blood of your institution flowing.
Today’s cohort of students are young, tech savvy, and have often paid high tuition fees. They expect to get great value from the institution they whilst they attend and beyond.
With this in mind, how can careers and AR professionals build on the relationships started in freshers week, continue to provide value, and stay relevant?
The university experience holds a special place in the hearts of graduates. It is often the first time many have felt true independence from home. It also marks the point where they embark on their career paths and take ownership of their own goals.
When new students enter an institution, they enjoy the full experience, knowing they are following in the footsteps of countless generations before them. The longstanding traditions, close friendships, inspirational role models, and even charming inefficiencies play a role in creating the emotional hooks that that immortalise your institution in their hearts.
It is also the final phase of their formal education before taking embarking on their journey in the real world and leaving the ‘protective bubble’ they have grown accustomed to.
Once graduated, from a alma mater perspective, they are a less pressing and more difficult to engage prospect. Meanwhile, alumni in the real world face a world of distraction, leading busy lives, with other organisations and businesses aggressively competing for their attention.
Staying in touch
There is a small percentage of your alumni that will always stay in touch, those who you will never hear from again, and the vast majority that make up the middle. It is this majority that need to have the relationships nurtured most… and that is the challenge for institutions today.
Adapting to the changing environment
From the outset, your institution already has a distinct advantage over others vying for attention, and that is trust. High performing alumni programmes build on this trusted relationship using modern technologies and communications to manage, scale and extract value from their engagement programmes.
I’d like to share the CASE International Alumni Relations Report with you. It contains key findings that sit very well with my personal passion for leveraging online technologies to create meaningful connections between people and to build communities.