The alumni database of a college or university is loosely referred to as the alumni community. There’s a far deeper connotation to this reference. Many institutions have a alumni database and even do occasional outreach through email or phone to invite their alumni to an event for fundraising purposes, etc. But an alumni community finds it’s true meaning when actual alumni participate in online or virtual alumni community or communities created for the purpose of continuous networking, knowledge-sharing, mentoring, etc.
Needless to say, alumni are the most valuable constituents of any higher education institution. It is so important for the institution to track them meticulously, stay in close touch with them, engage them, and give them enough opportunities to partake in campus initiatives for the well-being of current students.
Several alumni communities these days are outside the purview of the institution being run on social media websites like Facebook, etc. The shortcoming here is that the institution does not have any insights into alumni participation and perhaps has no access to any data from those websites. As a result, while the alumni participating in those communities may derive some networking benefits, the institution cannot leverage those valuable relationships and encourage participation.
The incredible power of social networks-human ones, to disseminate valuable information, especially the kind of information that flows through the alumni networks, could be most effective. This is mainly because alumni from the same undergraduate and graduate programmes naturally have closely aligned interests, generating both a higher level of interaction and longer-lived relationships.
The alumni database usually has a directory of every graduate’s career, residence, and contact information collected each year over the years. A robust Alumni CRM is needed to use that basic alumni data and create an assortment of communities on the platform beyond just plain communities for each graduation year. These communities can be either learning or leisure communities, often created by alumni community members or the advancement staff on their behalf. The alumni members who create communities usually continue to champion the community, rally around to invite members into the community who have shared interests.
By actively staying in touch with your network, you can build professional connections, take part in the reunion activities, or simply maintain connections with people who have successfully completed the same educational journey that you have and embarked on similar careers at different points in time. You’ll know the skills and strengths of someone who holds your degree, and your fellow alumni will know to credit you with similar attributes. The subject-matter expertise and shared experiences you all have in common create a strong sense of purpose and a trusted bond, even if some of you have not yet met.
On the Alumni CRM platform, online alumni communities play a crucial role in fostering collaboration among individuals who function as a unified entity. These communities engage in various activities, such as disseminating campus news, making announcements, conducting polls, handling enquiries, and organising events exclusively for community members.
Active participation in these communities not only enhances an individual alum’s visibility and network but also enables them to reconnect with alumni who have been out of the network, which modern digital technologies are making so easily possible.
In the e2s Connect Alumni CRM platform, communities can be categorised into various groups, offering a useful mechanism to restrict the visibility of specific community networks to defined alumni groups. By associating roles and permission sets for the advancement staff and alumni community champions, useful categories of communities may be effectively created and accessed by the right alumni. Categories primarily serve the purpose of grouping communities. For instance, if you have an alumni community of only those who have gone into research (category) in a specific subject (community), you can conduct an event for that community and follow it up with a poll or survey.
e2s Connect Alumni CRM also provides ‘Privacy settings’ on communities to determine whether they are public or private, granting control over their accessibility within the platform. Public communities are open to all, while private communities need an invitation to join. The membership of a community can be managed through the “Manage Community” option, which allows you to invite new members as well as block or reject membership requests. It also allows the advancement or alumni staff administrator to designate one or more community members as the administrator or champion.
Communities serve as a platform for sharing posts, engaging in forum discussions, organising exclusive events, and conducting polls or surveys to gather valuable feedback from community members.
To gain a comprehensive overview of community engagement, including the number of events, polls, campus news, and notifications published, the platform provides a real-time Community 360 View and that serves as the unified view of each community’s activities, status, progress etc. You can also easily access the individual alumni 360 view to access the alum’s profile information.
The alumni community feature is very powerful for creating categories and communities on the fly and create a buzz in the alumni community through physical or virtual events and shared posts of invaluable industry experience. As the e2s platform comes with a versatile mobile app and a portal for the alumni, the alum can access information on the move anytime, anywhere, adding excitement and value to their busy careers and lives.
Engage2Serve Inc. is the creator of transformational cloud-based, mobile-first Student Lifecycle CRM products for student recruitment, retention, and alumni engagement.