Are education institutions in denial about their alumni engagement and about their alumni strategy in general?
Schools are implementing a variety of activities, yet are they actually making progress towards their stated goal of engaging alumni? Perhaps, they have lost sight of the basics of alumni engagement.
Engaging alumni should not be complicated. Fundamentally it is about providing alumni with a compelling reason to engage with your institution.
Let’s switch roles for a moment, and put yourself into the shoes of your alumni, and ask the most critical question, What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)?
What is my school uniquely providing today that is of significant value to my life?
Uniquely? Providing a value proposition that no one else can.
Today? The provision is real time, today, and not simply a nostalgic reliance on the past.
Value? Something that I tangibly see as a valuable benefit. Maybe quantifiable in monetary terms as something for which I would have even been prepared to pay to have access.
Understanding and articulating your value proposition to alumni lies at the heart of alumni engagement.
It can be daunting to answer the WIIFM question, but it is the first serious step to developing an effective alumni strategy for engagement.
The good news is that every education institution has the potential to provide a meaningful value proposition.
Your school can uniquely give access to an exclusive alumni network that will provide your alumni with both professional and social opportunities.
Professional opportunities can be about providing access to a career community, willing and able to help make introductions, mentor one another, and even provide job opportunities.
Social opportunities that allow your alumni to join an exclusive social network that may well stretch across the world.
Each institution will express this value proposition in their own unique way.
There was media coverage this week of a school understanding and articulating their unique value proposition. Azusa Pacific University’s (APU) has launched a spiritual as well as a professional mentoring platform. APU has given a clear answer to the WIIFM question by providing alumni with access to receive and volunteer for valuable opportunities.
Has your school articulated a value proposition for alumni engagement that you would be able to share?
What was the biggest challenge you faced in answering the WIIFM question?
I would welcome your thoughts.
Also worth reading The Case for Mentoring.