Formerly exclusive to academic institutions, alumni associations are now expanding in the corporate sector.

Everyone, it seems, is excited about alumni. But what is an alumni association, whose interest does it serve, and how do you start one? This guide gets to the core of the matter, covering not only the raison d’etre and benefits of alumni networks but also how to create them.

You’ll also discover why Aluminati, the world’s most customizable community platform, is the best way to build your alumni association, whether you’re in the education or enterprise sphere.

What is an alumni association?

In the academic sphere, an alumni association is a network of your graduates or former students. However, the enterprise sphere also has its version of alumni. These are called corporate alumni, and they are your former executives or employees.

The primary purposes of an alumni association

At first glance, academic and corporate alumni associations seem very different. However, they have much in common, as they share the themes of continued connection, contribution, and opportunity.

Connection to the institution or corporation 

An alumni association keeps alumni connected to their alma mater or previous employer, long after their studies are completed or employment ends.

Sense of purpose through contribution

The institution or enterprise benefits from brand awareness, fundraising, or mentorship of current students or employees. Yet this is just as important for the alumni, who feel a deeper sense of purpose through contributing to alumni association activities.

Connection with fellow alumni 

An alumni network offers membership to a group and a sense of belonging. Alumni continue friendships forged while studying and working together and build new relationships based on experience and expertise.

Opportunities for growth

Both academic alumni and corporate alumni benefit from networking with peers and exchanging ideas with fellow graduates and former colleagues. This leads to job referrals, partnerships, and other growth opportunities.

what is an alumni association

Benefits of alumni associations

With a strong alumni association in place, your alumni become your brand ambassadors, whether you are an institute of higher learning or a corporate enterprise. However, this is not the only benefit to establishing an alumni association.

In educational institutions

These are the top benefits of alumni associations in educational institutions.

1. Fundraising and donations

Every educational institution needs to do a fair amount of fundraising, relying mostly on private or corporate donations to further their various projects.

An academic institution is also a brand, and your alumni are brand ambassadors, representing your institution and quality of education. Your alumni community, because of their connection with the educational institution, are ideal candidates to ask for financial donations.

However, only adopt this strategy if you are offering them something equally beneficial in return, like mentoring, career development, or networking opportunities.

2. Networking opportunities

Your academic alumni will have gone on to pursue their unique career paths. During this time, they have learned new skills, and gained deeper insights, into their respective fields.

Networking with other graduates allows them to establish professional contacts that can help them enhance their careers. They can also connect with fellow alums to give something back to the university through donations, advice, or brainstorming on student community projects.

3. Career/mentorship services

One of the biggest advantages of an alumni association in an educational institution is the potential for mentorship and career services.

Many alumni associations are actively involved in planning career fairs for prospective students and mentoring current students. Aluminati’s mentor-matching feature makes this even easier. Those who are newly graduated can access career support while building their careers.

In an enterprise

These are the top benefits of alumni associations in corporate enterprises.

1. Talent recruitment

Talent acquisition is a top priority in the business world. Your corporate alumni can help with this. Former employees, colleagues, and executives have two things in common.

  1. They are familiar with how things work in your organization.
  2. They have gone on to form other business connections after leaving your company.

They are ideally suited to recruit new staff for you. Some of them may be the ideal candidates themselves. There are several benefits to offering job opportunities to boomerang employees, including a saving of up to $50,000 in recruitment costs.

what is an alumni association

2. Corporate culture and community

Corporate alumni are useful for building your corporate culture and community. Through networking events, mentorship, and knowledge sharing, your alumni help strengthen your company culture. They can serve as advocates for maintaining and evolving your company culture through sharing stories and traditions.

This is much easier with a dedicated community platform like Aluminate for Enterprise. Our platform can be used to build an enterprise social network where your corporate community can learn, share, and grow together. It is the perfect combination of workplace culture and social engagement.

3. Knowledge sharing

Networking events and social events allow your corporate alumni to share knowledge. They can also share their knowledge by mentoring your current employees. Every time they attend any public event, they serve as brand ambassadors, sharing their knowledge about your brand to attract a wider audience.

How to create an alumni association

An alumni association is your ticket to a professional network that can offer mentorship, solidify partnerships, promote your brand, and raise funds. Each graduate alumnus is an asset to their former university. Each ex-employee is an asset to their former company. But how do you create one?

1. Identify stakeholders

Your ex-employees and graduates are not the only people who will be involved with your alumni association. You’ll need help with the planning and admin behind building the network.

Consider which of your institution’s staff may be best suited to these roles, but don’t overlook the importance of external stakeholders. They, too, add value to the platform and can be of immense help with awareness and fundraising.

Reach out to former students or graduates. Build your membership database and regularly update it, so you never lose contact with your valuable alumni. Aluminati’s social data sync feature makes this much easier.

2. Invest in a community platform

Invest in a community platform to facilitate communication. This is where your alumni network connects with one another and with your organization. The Aluminati platform is ideally suited for this, as it is versatile enough for both academic and corporate use.

what is an alumni association

3. Share news and updates regularly

Share news and update posts on the platform regularly. This is what will keep alumni engaged and more willing to participate on the platform. Every time they sign on and view the digital dashboard they will see news specifically tailored to their interests.

4. Plan events and activities

Plan appealing events and activities. Of course, not everyone shares the same interests. That’s why the Groups module is so popular. This allows you to cater to differing demographics, tastes, and skill sets.

5. Forge lasting partnerships

Keep these partnerships with your alumni mutually beneficial, and they’re more likely to stay active in the association. An example would be to offer discounts on your products or services in return for social media mentions.

Build your ideal alumni association with Aluminate’s platform

An alumni association offers significant benefits to both alumni and the academic institution or enterprise hoping to retain these relationships. But to start reaping the rewards, you need the community platform as diverse and dynamic as your alumni group: Aluminati.

We offer community platforms for everyone’s needs. Choose Aluminate for Enterprise for your corporate alumni, or Aluminate for Education for your academic alumni.

Eager to get started? Request a free demo today.