Creating and implementing an alumni program has a wealth of benefits for an organization. Running a successful alumni program can boost your bottom line, employer value proposition, ultimately securing a healthy ROI.
That said, designing and deploying an alumni program– while potentially very beneficial– entails navigating moving parts while having a deep understanding of what a successful program entails. Here are some concepts to consider before implementing an alumni program.
- Human Communication: A successful alumni program hinges on the engagement of its users. Your program should be built on empathy driven to provide value to its members. Remember, no robotic emails, but rather strategic communication that builds relationships in addition to increasing user engagement.
- Benefits: Alumni programs are more than an address book– it has to be a mutually beneficial experience for the user. Add a suite of relevant benefits, deals, and values that will engage users to keep them coming back.
- Tailored News: Your alumni program news cycle needs to be specific to your alumni audience. Simply copying and pasting company news will not engage our alumni. The purpose of alumni news is to capture the attention of your users while communicating important information. Recycled company news will not cut it.
- Actively Engage Alumni: It’s rare to find global alumni teams who engage their alumni on a regular basis. Continuity is critical to building a successful pipeline. Be proactive in your approach by creating a schedule that makes sense for your organization.
- Your Appeal Isn’t Enough: A company’s brand is not solely strong enough to sustain an alumni program. The program has to give incentive to the user. Build a program that truly benefits your alumni and they will use your program.
- Size Doesn’t Matter: Volume of use may seem awesome, but it’s often a vanity metric that provides little use on the data front. Company attrition is inevitable, so the size of your alumni will surely grow.
- Know Your Churn: Most organizations are not actively monitoring their churn rate or alumni opt-out rates, which means they are missing out on a critical measurement. Keeping tabs on churn rates allows us to understand why people are leaving and how to improve the program.
- Monitoring the Wrong Measurements: Alumni are not going to be frequent users in the traditional sense, so measurements like daily active and monthly active users are null and void. Functional engagement– measuring if users find solutions when logged on– is the true hallmark organizations need to be measuring.
- Progression is key: The talent market is evolving, as are the expectations alumni have on an alumni program. What worked yesterday is not going to work today. Organizations have to adopt a progressive mindset, keeping up with refreshing offerings to entice users.
- Annual Review: Alumni programs require annual maintenance. Things like membership count, functional usage, and alumni breadth are things that need to be checked and evaluated on a yearly basis– at a minimum. These checks help organizations understand what’s working, what’s not, and how to achieve the best results by implementing new features.
The tip of the iceberg
Alumni programs are all-encompassing but effective when executed well. To scratch the surface, we have to consider the outliers– disengaged users– and the cause for disengagement. Understanding these users are the keys to deep insights on why the program didn’t work for some, what their expectations were, and how the program can evolve to meet those needs.
Does running an effective alumni program sound labor intensive? It’s not as long as an organization can understand what delivers success and create a plan to execute. The reward for a well-executed Alumni engagement plan far outweighs the risk and partnering with a competent Alumni Program Management software company is the difference between success and failure.
Optimal results require optimal people and tools. Investing in those things will put you on the path to a thriving alumni program.