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Is It Possible To Prove The Value of Alumni Relations?

Is It Possible To Prove The Value of Alumni Relations?

Let me paint the scene for you.

You are an alumni relations professional sitting in a cross-departmental meeting.  You are having a discussion about the 2016 budgets.

All your colleagues, one by one, are making Return on Investment (ROI) arguments to justify the budget for their respective departments.

Your turn arrives.  But you have a problem.  How do you present an ROI argument?

How do you prove the value of alumni relations?

So what are you going to do?

The answer is not about Return on Investment (ROI), but rather Return on Engagement (ROE)

The only way to truly make an argument for justifying alumni relations is to provide data to support your case. You must make a ‘Return on Engagement’ argument, and to do this you need to start measuring the value of alumni engagement.

Chris Marshall, President of North America at Graduway, pointed out in the recent Global Leaders Summit, that there are three things every alumni professional needs to measure periodically:

  1. How many alumni have attended at least one event?
  2. How many alumni have volunteered?
  3. How many alumni have donated?

And then critically, how many of your alumni have done at least one of these three things stated above?

Obviously, benchmarking against peer institutions is great but if nothing else, you can at least benchmark yourself over time.

This is the first basic step in preparing an ROE case.

Once this is in place you can get more sophisticated by providing different weightings to different activities so you get a ‘depth’ as well as a ‘frequency of engagement’.  This can include regression analysis so that you can segment different levels of engagement and only then work out how best to leverage this ROE into more traditional ROI routes.  Net Promoter Score and other similar techniques may also be a route that you can explore.

To conclude, it may be harsh, but if you have no data, it is very difficult to justify your value.

If you want to truly show your value, then start measuring your ROE and people will start to take notice.

Do you agree it is possible to prove your value?

What tips can you share on how you have successfully done this?

What do you think is critical to measure?

I would welcome your thoughts.

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