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Alumni Relations Best Practices in 2020. Are You Ready?

Alumni Relations Best Practices in 2020. Are You Ready?

I had the privilege of hearing an insightful panel discussion on the future of alumni relations best practices at the Graduway Global Leaders Summit, held at the Said Business School, Oxford University.

The panel was chaired by Rob Curtis, Vice President of Graduway and focused on the biggest alumni trends and alumni relations best practices. 

The distinguished panel included:

  • Charles Hardy, Higher Education Evangelist at LinkedIn
  • James Stofan, Vice President, Alumni Relations at Tulane University
  • Christine Fairchild, Director of Alumni Relations at Oxford University
  • Daniel Porter-Jones, Alumni Relations and Development Manager, University of South Wales
  • Dan Keyworth, Head of Customer Engagement, Blackbaud
  • Della Bradshaw, Business Education Editor, Financial Times

Please see below the panel discussion in full.



Probably for the first time in one of my blogs, I am not going to propose any answers and instead will leave that for the experts in this panel.

I do however believe that when talking about the future, most of the value is derived from asking the right questions.

What are the major questions facing both education and corporate institutions in planning their future alumni relations and their alumni relations best practices strategy? I would suggest the following:

  • Emerging markets:- what is the impact from the change in size and mix of alumni towards emerging markets like China?
  • Big data:- which data do institutions need to have in the future that they do not capture today?
  • MOOCs – what challenges and opportunities does this provide to the world of alumni relations?
  • Career outcomes – given LinkedIn and the Financial Times’ focus on career outcomes in their school rankings, how important will alumni relations be when compiling school rankings in the future?  How big is the opportunity for alumni career services?
  • Skills – which skills and knowledge will we need to be developing, training and recruiting in our alumni relations teams to deal with the alumni relations of the future?
  • Value – what is the unique value proposition that your institution is going to provide its alumni? (See my blog on my interview with Sean Brown from McKinsey)
  • Culture – how are you going to build the right culture of giving and engagement now that will bear fruit in the future? (Click here to see great case study from University of Pennsylvania on alumni relations best practice.)

The world of education and in particular its alumni relations is at a number of exciting cross roads.

What do you think are the most important trends?

Which are the biggest threats and opportunities facing your your institution?

What alumni relations best practices are you implementing now for 2020?


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