An engaged alumni community is a huge asset for a university. Alumni are, after all, ambassadors of your institution. Enthusiastic and active alumni may be willing to spread the word on your university’s behalf and encourage applications. Alumni who have met success since graduation can act as role models for ambitious young students eager to follow in their footsteps.
To make the most of your alumni community, you’ll need to ensure they’re as engaged as possible. Here are four things your university can do to achieve this.
Use social media
Social media is an invaluable way to keep in regular contact with your alumni network. It gives you a chance to start conversations, share inspiring content and showcase your alumni’s achievements to the wider world.
For instance, you could:
Share photos of notable alumni on Instagram to inspire potential and current students
Post messages on Twitter that encourage a response from former students. For instance, encourage alumni to send their graduation memories and images and retweet the best
Post careers resources and relevant jobs to social media platforms. Make sure you use resources that would be genuinely useful for alumni who have recently graduated or are changing careers work
Create alumni groups on LinkedIn. These groups can be broken down by department or individual programme; graduation year; location of alumni residence; university societies or other extracurricular interests
Develop an ambassador programme
If an alumna or alumnus enjoyed studying at your university, they may appreciate the opportunity to help other students have a similar experience. Former students can have a lot of impact by acting as an alumni contact during the recruitment process and speaking to prospective applicants.
Other time-effective activities include providing testimonials for the university’s website and attending recruitment events and fairs to promote your institution based on their first-hand experience.
Although some of your alumni community will provide assistance without any incentive, it’s a good idea to reward their efforts in whatever way you can.
Alumni events provide a great way for former students to reconnect. Some universities provide continued learning programmes where alumni take one to two courses with your university for continued exposure and training. Other institutions offer hotel discounts in regions where a large group of alumni are located.
Listen to your alumni
The way you communicate with your alumni should encourage two-way conversations. As professionals who have graduated from your university and have embarked on their career, your alumni are a very useful source of knowledge.
Design surveys to gauge their opinions about aspects of the student experience you’re looking to improve. Remember that they have first-hand experience of using your services, and while their perspective may be different to that of current students, their opinions are no less valuable.