Managing an alumni network

Being A Great Corporate Alumni Manager

To maintain a relationship with your corporate alumni for sales & recruitment, having the right team in place to drive your engagement is critical.


With the increasing emphasis on maintaining relationships with corporate alumni for sales, recruitment, evangelism and other purposes, what’s the difference between an average and an A-game alumni manager? What distinguishes the efficient alumni leader from the exceptional?

We set out the top ten traits to look out for when considering who's on your Alumni Community team.

  1. Putting Alumni First: We all remember about the first (and second) rule of Fight Club. And equally set in stone are the rules of a corporate alumni community: What is the first rule when considering the goals and values of an alumni community? The alumni come first. What is the second rule of a corporate alumni community? The alumni come first!


  2. Embraces Technology: Great technology enhances, optimizes and catalyzes. It takes manual processes and automates them, freeing up team time to focus on value-add areas. A good manager embraces the incredible tools available to turn a 'pretty good' community into an incredibly powerful competitive advantage.


  3. Inclusive: An alumni community serves men and women of all ages, genders, geographies, interests, specialisms, needs, wants and experience. A great alumni manager recognizes that all demographics matter and indeed contemplates ways to bring them together – whether that be a way to engage retirees as mentors to graduates; connect alumni moving to new geographies so they have a community to welcome them; or ensure their site is compliant with standards serving the blind and visually impaired.


  4. Open Minded, Open Spirited: Building an alumni community is a learning experience. A great alumni manager is open to learning from others who have built communities, irrespective of whether they be competitors or allies. They also share their experience with those a few steps behind - those in the early stages of building a network, so that all alumni communities can learn best practices.


  5. Finds the Value Add: A great manager recognizes that the community members being engaged will have left the company, but may still want to benefit from the resources their former employer can offer. Whether that be online learning or opportunities to participate in charity and Corporate Social Responsibility programs that reflect their interests, ensuring those assets are readily available is essential.


  6. Ideation: The creative process of generating, creating and developing innovative ideas is not limited to the certain departments. A great alumni manager seeks out colleagues in other departments, thinking outside the box to find new and interesting ways in which the alumni community, employees and company can generate new and helpful ideas.


  7. Keeps it Relevant: Technology allows the distribution of information to be relevant. No longer does an entire alumni community have to receive the same single message, wherever they are and whatever they do. Sharing relevant, context-specific and engaging content is essential in a world where inboxes are overwhelmed: ensuring your messages and the insights that count can reach the right person at the right time is no longer optional.


  8. Practical and Realistic: A great community manager recognizes what’s interesting and what’s not! While corporate news is important, alumni need more than a news feed with economic statistics, new office openings and changes in management! A great alumni manager surprises and delights by asking alumni to share their stories, curates offers, event discounts, recruitment opportunities and is keen to receive feedback about what works and what doesn’t.


  9. Future Proofing: If software doesn’t integrate, there is simply no place for it. A good manager knows that working in a silo, with spreadsheets and systems that don’t speak to each other, need manual updating, or that cannot grow and evolve, should be confined to the past. For companies and alumni to get the best from a community, they need and deserve the best tools.


  10. Thinking Outside the Box: An alumni community is never static. Rather, it’s a living entity. There are no rules and regulations; no boundaries, no limitations and no conditions. A great alumni manager knows that their enterprise is full of talented, interesting people with bright ideas and the more business units that are involved in the architecture of the community, the more vibrant it promises to be.

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