Tips from the Business World to Better Engage Your Alumni

Having a difficult time getting your alumni engaged in your organization? You might consider taking a few lessons from the world of private sector business.

Yes, there are many significant differences between the fields of private business and public education. However, there are also many similarities between engaging leads in a business or corporation and engaging alumni in an alumni association. In each case, the goal is to keep people coming back and make them lifelong customers (or, in your case, members and supporters).

Here are three quick lessons that you can take away from general business operations that will be of assistance to you as you seek greater alumni engagement.

Always focus on providing value

People are much more likely to be engaged supporters if they feel like your organization offers them something of value.

Businesses will frequently offer coupons, webinars, and various giveaways to “sweeten the pot” for their current and prospective customers. In a similar way, school alumni associations can focus on what alumni want, beyond just an opportunity for nostalgia. What events and initiatives can the organization focus on that will enrich alumni’s lives, beyond just the opportunities to donate? 

Don’t ask for too much

Businesses will frequently send out monthly or quarterly newsletters with interesting stories and event listings, though there are retail companies that might engage more frequently with customers to share deals and specials. In general, though, most corporations will try to avoid flooding their customers with messages.

Alumni associations should remember that alumni have busy personal and professional lives and should maintain a focus on effective communication. Quality over quantity is always a good rule to follow.

Accept that you can’t always win

There are going to be marketing strategies and initiatives that occasionally do not work. In addition to that, you’ll never hit with everyone. Businesses will regularly find success focusing on specific segments of their consumers or by trying new things to see what sticks.

The same should be true for alumni associations. Don’t worry about getting the best possible results for everyone. Instead, focus on outreach efforts that seem to be working for a good portion of your membership base and are driving results.

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