Building the Foundation for Alumni Engagement
What makes the education industry unique and amazing, is its ability to share best practice with so called ‘competitors’. At the end of the day, we are all on the same side of wanting to improve the quality of and access to education everywhere and to create a foundation for alumni engagement post studies.
The Penn Example – creating a foundation for alumni
A wonderful example of this collaborative approach is Elise Betz. Elise is the Executive Director for Alumni Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, whose keynote speech at the Global Leaders Summit at UCLA in April 2016 was rapturously received. Elise’s aim was simple – to help all education institutions improve life-long engagement with their alumni.
I strongly urge you to take the 40 minutes to watch Elise’s inspiring and yet highly practical guide to building life-long alumni engagement.
Elise explains that participation rates are low primarily because of a lack of education. In short, schools start to think about engaging their alumni way too late. We are not educating students to take responsibility for the success and progress of their alma mater. That education needs to start on the first day of their student experience.
Elise’s guide to developing a culture of life-long alumni engagement is so practical and fits every institution, irrespective of their size and available resources.
So what is stopping us investing in programs and education that will develop a life-long engagement with our alumni?
I think the answer is that we are simply too short-term focused. We want to see the ‘return’ on our alumni relations in a far too short a time period.
Developing alumni relationships takes time, and pays out big time, but over the long-term.
I want to conclude by sharing a one-minute movie of the first day of the ‘Class of 2017’ from the University of Pennsylvania. I am not an alum, but I get those goose-bumps every time I watch this.
In 30 years from now, don’t you want to be the one who your successors in your your institution credit for initiating the ‘traditions’ program for your school?
It’s time to start building the foundations for life-long Alumni engagement.
That work needs to start today.
I would welcome your thoughts.