This blog will discuss my golden rules of ‘getting through’ to your alumni.
I sometimes feel we are over-complicating this whole alumni thing and it doesn’t have to be.
We are getting very sophisticated – accumulating lots of data, investing in hiring people, new IT systems, working extremely hard. In short we are throwing lots of resources at alumni.
But are we actually making progress in ‘getting through’ to our alumni?
I am not even talking here about why you want to get through to your alumni.
Institutions have different reasons as to why they want to get through to alumni – whether it’s fundraising, gaining volunteers and ambassadors, building a career community or simply providing mentors to students.
The reason why you as an institution want to get through to your alumni does not actually change the methodology of how best to achieve alumni engagement.
So let’s get back to basics.
There are only two golden rules for getting through to alumni:
- Physically Getting Through e.g. Do you have their correct phone number? For what percentage of your alumni do you have contactable information? My rule of thumb is that on average institutions are missing an accurate phone number or email address for around 70% of their alumni. Without fixing this basic first step, it is literally impossible to ‘get through’ to your alumni.
- Emotionally Getting Through e.g. When you do get through to them on the phone physically, does the alum know why you are important to them? The reason cannot be just nostalgic that they studied at your institution 20 years ago. Rather the emotional connection comes from your institution playing a daily role in the lives of your alumni both socially and professionally. It’s an emotional connection based upon the past, present and future. It’s real alumni engagement.
There is a simple litmus test I would challenge any Alumni Relations professional to ask themselves when looking at their initiatives – will this help you get through to your alumni better, either physically or emotionally or ideally both?
If the answer is ‘no’ – maybe it’s time to question whether there could be a better place to invest your resources to deliver alumni engagement.
I would welcome your thoughts.