An alumni network is an invaluable asset, both for organisations (fundraising, branding, placement) and for their Alumni (opportunities, mentoring, knowledge). However, keeping alumni engaged over time can be hard: one needs to find the right strategy and tools for it.
After years of collaboration with top institutions, we’ve learnt some key principles that we have used to design Hivebrite. Here are some best practices to have in mind when building and managing your Alumni network.
Stories over news
While writing news about your alumni (like nominations, prizes,...) is a good way to add some content for the network, it is very unlikely to drive significant engagement within your alumni community.
Success stories about your alumni, on the other hand, can bring a significantly higher level of commitment. Whether these are stories on how 2 co-founders met at an alumni drink or how a couple met at an alumni reunion, alumni love alumni stories!
Branded over generic
Branding is a key part of engaging your alumni. Your alumni trust and feel strong about your institution. Your brand is core to this trust and their sense of pride and belonging.
You therefore need to leverage this brand as much as possible to create maximum engagement.
A branded platform therefore allows you to connect better with your alumni and reinforce their commitment to their institution and community. It reinforces your brand and allows you to take full control over your community and how you communicate about it.
Benefits over costs
Alumni need to feel that they are getting value out of their network. In the case of members needing to pay a fee to access the network, this cost in their mind needs to be clearly outweighed by the benefits provided.
These benefits can be in the form of special offers; but more importantly will come in the form of enhanced networking and career opportunities or access to specific value added content (e.g. targeted events, access to media, webinars, e-learning...).
Targeted opportunities over generic lists
Social networks are a great source of information about your alumni. The strong penetration and high level of engagement on platforms like Linkedin can be a very valuable source of up-to-date information and a good way to relay information for higher visibility.
However, these social networks don't always do a great job at providing targeted opportunities. The information is usually pushed and then gets lost over time. A lot of people are likely to miss the information and more importantly, those who see it may not be the ones interested in it.
With a platform like Hivebrite, you can leverage the power of popular social networks and let your members map your alumni network, effectively acting as a pool of opportunities for your alumni. This helps you bring out the value of your network for each of your alumni who can access the exact information they need at the exact time they need it.
When all your alumni can clearly see the value in being part of a dedicated alumni platform, they are much more likely to remain engaged and to be life long givers to their school.
Hivebrite is a leading provider of branded community management platforms and helps all size institutions grow and engage their community - Feel free to request a demo if you would like to know more.