May 11, 2023
4 Ways to Keep Alumni Engaged After Graduation
When it comes to school fundraising, the biggest constituents are the families of current students. And rightfully so, but let’s not forget about the school’s alumni! You can always reach beyond the families of current students when fundraising, and alumni are a great place to start within your community.
You can build on exceptional student experiences to bring the same energy and engagement to alumni. When alumni are engaged, they’re more likely to become lifetime supporters of your institution, contributing to your community across various needs. These include:
- Committee and board service
- Peer-to-peer fundraising activities
- Volunteerism at occasions like sporting events and career fairs
Their future financial giving potential also represents a boon to your institution since alumni donations comprised almost 25% of voluntary support in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Now that the benefits are clear, here’s how to get alumni to donate by keeping them engaged after graduation:
1. Keep Alumni in the Loop
Developing consistent communications with them is the first step in creating effective alumni engagement. To do so, you have to understand their messaging preferences and adjust to meet their expectations. Consider offering incentives that encourage responses and communications subscriptions.
Leverage your analytics to determine which content and channels resonate best with them. Their engagement level clearly tells you what they’re interested in hearing from you and where. You can then devote resources to the best-performing channels and messaging. You can also use this data to personalize their communications and foster a more meaningful connection.
Newsletters and social media are great places to start when connecting with your alumni base. Keep them updated on current happenings at the school, achievements of current and past students, and any other school-wide or community news.
Additionally, give alumni a designated place on your website to make navigation easy and space separate from current students to avoid confusion. This space can include calendars of events, alumni connection portals, profiles of past students, and a place to make donations.
2. Acknowledge Success After Graduation
When students graduate, it’s good to keep in touch so that you can continue to acknowledge their success beyond school. Not only does it feel good for alumni to get recognition from their community, but it also builds a network of role models for current students. It’s a great way to show students what they, too, can accomplish when they graduate.
3. Actively Seek and Listen
It’s important to be timely and relevant when you’re engaging alumni. Keep recent graduates involved in things like tailgates, homecoming games, and other social and professional gatherings.
Soliciting donations from this group immediately following graduation is a less-than-ideal approach. Many individuals are in entry-level jobs and may have student debt, leaving them financially unable to give. Instead, your goal should be to nurture and deepen connections with them. Seek participation in events and projects, or offer opportunities for them to volunteer their time and skills. You can cement a bond with them while paving the way for future monetary support.
When you do connect with them, listen. Reply to emails, comment back on social media, and send out surveys. This shows alumni that their opinions are being considered, with or without donating dollars.
4. Invite Alumni to FUN-raisers
No one likes to only be asked for money all the time, so consider throwing events for alumni that are fun and also raise money. These types of events can be:
- Tailgates for a big game
- Cocktail hour before a show
- Running clubs
- Battle of the bands
- Legacy brick laying festival
- Themed golf tournaments
- Wine and craft beer tastings with charcuterie
These interactions help you stay connected to alumni and provide opportunities for them to build their skills or professional networks. For example, your alumni can try a mentoring role when you pair them with current students during a gaming event. Other engagements let them network with peers and employers, potentially leading to better job prospects.
Keep Alums Engaged with GiveSmart
We’ve got more on alumni (and elementary school alumni, at that) in this short school jam session, Episode 4 – Engagement After Graduation, the ultimate study guide for school fundraising.
GiveSmart is your complete fundraising and constituent management solution in a unified, simple-to-use software platform. Our full-featured program includes comprehensive fundraising and event tools, from digital donations to ticket management. We’ve combined those with a powerful constituent relationship management module in a secure and scalable platform.