Despite the somewhat provocative title to this blog, I think there is an issue in the alumni relations profession that is rarely spoken about; low self-esteem.
Interestingly I mean low self-esteem not as individuals in a personal capacity, but rather as a profession.
In short I believe there are some education institutions that doubt whether they have something of value to offer their alumni.
To illustrate my point, ask an average alumni relations professional the following question – what is the unique value proposition that you offer your alumni? A unique value proposition that your alumni cannot get from any other place and something that they truly value? I think some would struggle to come up with a compelling answer.
Yet every education institution has the potential to offer a unique value proposition to their alumni; namely access to a life-long network. This life-long alumni network offers both a unique career community and a social alumni community. And almost as critically it is also a network that is willing to help to activate those opportunities.
My company Graduway’s own research of more than 140,000 respondents shows that on average 70% of alumni are willing to help another alum in need. This is an extraordinarily high percentage and shows the value of alumni networking in general and alumni student mentoring in particular.
We live in a world where we are connected to millions of people via social networks, yet how willing is this vast network to help when I need it most? My guess is no where near that magical ‘70%’ number.
Every education institution can provide a unique value proposition by offering access to a network that is willing to help and fill a huge void in the social and professional lives of their alumni.
The new networking dictum in 2016 is not who you know but how willing is your network is to help. Schools and colleges can be the facilitators and enablers of this new networking.
Let me leave you with my favorite ‘self-esteem’ quote from Yogi Bhajan:
“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.”
I would welcome your thoughts.