Inevitably, once graduated, former students either move cities domestically, change their contact details or take up the opportunity to live overseas. If not prepared, schools and alumni associations run the risk of losing contact with their greatest intangible assets...their alumni.
Here are a few of the more simple (and mostly free) ways through which to find them:
Through LinkedIn and Facebook
Just about everybody has at least one of these networking tools (or both) and visit it frequently. So much so that social media has become omnipresent in society. Schools and alumni associations can use these interfaces in order to find their Alumni.
LinkedIn provides a really simple 'Find Alumni' tool. It does the job of allowing you to painstakingly extract contact details but it doesn't go much further than that.
Facebook is a interesting one because it traditionally has low functionality for finding alumni but it has high traffic and it is a good (and casual) forum through which organizations can communicate to their communities. Features such as "Like", "Share", "#Name' mean that people can easily transfer communications to others that they have befriended. Schools can use this by circulating communication campaigns that aim to spread the word about respective Alumni associations and joining dedicated online communities.
A good community management platform will integrate (share data) with both LinkedIn and Facebook and then will allow users to easily update their data into the platform with just one click.
Through online tools
There are plenty of online tools available to help you out. Google of course is a logical place to start, but there are many others that are more targeted and specialized in finding people. Here are some of the better ones that we have come across:
- AlumniFinder - http://www.alumnifinder.com/
- Email hunter - https://emailhunter.co/
- PeopleFinder - http://www.peoplefinder.com/
- Pipl - https://pipl.com/
But there are plenty of others out there...
There are plenty of standard tools out there but there is no reason why you have to just stick to those. The important thing in the whole process (as is the case in most of life) is to have fun. Be creative in your approach.
If you create an Alumni search campaign or initiative that is fun and different, then not only will you get great results...but your Alumni will engage with it and will re-connect themselves.
Here are some of the more interesting ideas that our clients have had:
- Send out a communication campaign to each year group attaching class photos and set up a competition asking who can identify (and supply the contact details) for the greatest number of their former peers.
- Set up Alumni events and advertise door prizes for those that bring an Alumni friend.
- Get your Alumni community into a dedicated and trusted online platform where they can easily reach out to each other to share opportunities. This will get them engaged and interacting.
- Get mobile through your own branded app. That way, people can be sure to access, update and share wherever they are.
Be creative and it will reward you.
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.