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6 Virtual Alumni Engagement Ideas
One of the biggest questions when setting up a virtual alumni network are how best to keep your alums engaged. Here are 6 ideas for boosting engagement.
Despite the world returning to a state of normal and people spending more time in the office, virtual meetings still remain a central part of how we run our businesses.
Virtual events and meetings present a fantastic opportunity to boost engagement among alumni, shareholders, and management. It is a chance to build engaged virtual communities that benefit as much from the interactions as organizations do.
And why would they not when 87% of marketers say that the opportunities created by virtual events are a contributing factor in their success?
In this article, we will take a look at some virtual alumni engagement ideas that can help you reach your organisations goals.
6 Virtual Alumni Engagement Ideas
Traditionally, alumni engagement practices such as in-person gatherings, alumni chapter meetups, volunteering and mentoring opportunities, and company and social events.
However, with a robust and innovative corporate alumni platform that is built for alumni management and engagement, you can do all these and more in a virtual format.
Here is a list of all the features you can expect from such a platform:
1. Host Alumni Webinars
Webinars are a practical way to virtually bring the expertise of industry-leading professionals to alumni. Hosted monthly or bi-monthly, the format is geared to provide actionable insights on a variety of topics – from career growth to wellbeing.
During webinars, presenters take live questions which can lead to higher engagement and encourages attendees to prolong their memberships. A Q&A at the end is a further way to drive interactivity and increase the value of the webinar.
Webinars can be delivered as live webinars, pre-recorded streaming, or uploaded as on-demand content. Post-event, attendees can connect and contribute via their profiles and continue to engage with one another on the platform.
2. Conduct Virtual Happy Hours
Virtual happy hours are a great way to connect with alumni members that may be working from home or are scattered across the globe. Taking time zones and cultural differences into consideration, there are many ways to make this a fun event. You can send groups or individuals vouchers or credit to buy drinks and snacks to enjoy during virtual happy hour.
Try to keep a manageable amount of guests (around 20) and decide on a theme or topics of discussion beforehand. Like at a dinner party, too many people will lead to people disconnecting.
To keep conversations flowing, share live content, provide online networking rooms, and even utilize a mobile event app to promote engagement.
Through these sessions, you can set up social walls, Q&As, and live polls to allow alumni to ask questions or provide their views on the topic while displaying feeds with participants’ comments and thoughts.
3. Showcase Career Journeys
Your alumni software is the perfect platform to host podcasts and blog series that showcase former, current, and boomerang employees’ career journeys.
It provides a space for others in the network to learn from those who have worked for the company (and others) and escalate their own career paths.
Salesforce does this brilliantly through their Spotlight Series where Theresa Ludvigson, VP of Onboarding & Employee Connection, talks to current and former Salesforce employees.
These include boomerang employees and current alumni who have gone on to start their own companies.
4. Hold Virtual Training Events
E-Learning has taken off across the globe. This method can be used as an opportunity to engage your alumni on your own platform.
You can also collaborate with academic institutions or expert instructors who can give your employees live interactive training sessions and workshops in a variety of subjects that contribute to your employees’ work-related knowledge.
Micro-courses are especially high in demand. This is useful for busy professionals who are looking for hyper-focused content that builds skills quickly.
Using online platforms such as Zoom, Adobe Connect, or Cisco GoToTraining community managers can deliver these courses to alumni regardless of where they are in the world.
At the same time, the platforms offer alumni the opportunity to ask questions, take tests and discuss the topics with others in the group.
5. Create Virtual Employee Networks
Black Rock’s OneBlackRock Alumni Network is a global network of former employees that includes consultants, contractors, and interns. Through EnterpriseAlumni’s platform, they connect to separately created ‘employee networks’.
These are virtual spaces where employees who share backgrounds and interests can come together for discussions, networking, volunteer opportunities, develop professionally, and celebrate diversity.
Because interest can quickly be lost if engagement isn’t actively promoted, MIT Sloan suggests that alumni community managers strengthen employee virtual network engagement through the following actions:
- Ensure participants have a shared mission
- Be an engaging network broker
- Use a variety of communication channels
- Nurture teams that have long working relationships
6. Host A Virtual Roundtable
A virtual roundtable discussion is a one-on-one digital engagement opportunity for those who would otherwise not be able to come from afar to attend the event.
It’s an effective ideation session that brings alumni and executives or teams together to discuss business challenges and come up with actionable solutions and strategies.
Start your roundtable discussion by making clear what problem you are trying to solve and keep that as a focus point. Because of the diverse nature of alumni and considering that some may no longer be involved in your organization outside of the alumni network, participants can bring valuable insights that your own teams have been missing.
A consumer-centric networking platform will allow moderators to use digital interaction tools to engage in myriad ways. These include content delivery, audio/video conferencing options, meeting schedulers, live polling, Q&As, notifications, chats, reports, and full contact details of all participants.
Whether it’s learning, working better, career growth, or fun, there is a virtual solution for just about any activity to increase the level of alumni engagement.
Using the virtual alumni engagement ideas listed above is a sure way to encourage loyalty and productivity among your alumni while adding tons of value to your organization.