Are all Alumni networks an incredible asset? Yes. Are all alumni equal? Yes. Are all alumni platforms and functions the same? Absolutely not. University Alumni have different values than Corporate Alumni.
University Alumni engagement is a concept we are all familiar with. Many of us receive letters and magazines from our former alma maters, encouraging us to stay in touch and attend events. Why do educational institutions endeavor to stay in touch with former students? Typically, the sole goal of this network is fundraising.
At many colleges, this starts even before students graduate, with requests for giving delivered to students to emphasize as early as possible the importance of alumni giving back to their school. The Top 10 US schools in alumni donations between 2008 and 2011 saw at least half of alumni giving back – an incredibly strong and rich pool of financial support -demonstrating why alumni relations are critical in the educational world.
Whilst corporate alumni share the basic premise of staying in touch with a purpose, their goals are broader. Corporate alumni platforms and goals are multi-functional and valuable, not only on a financial level but also on a human level too. Whether looking to access a contingent labour pool, drive referrals or boomerang hires, accelerate business development, drive sales, connect mentors and mentees, CSR …. or just create a positive evangelist community, there’s something value add in there for everyone.
Educational alumni relations efforts are generally limited to email and basic website outreach, with data typically held on spreadsheets and with no method to maintain up-to-date information unless alumni notify the department of a change of details. Again it is here that corporate alumni differs and has taken the concept one step further with platforms like EnterpriseAlumni offering best in class technology to ensure data is up to date and relevant information is put in front of the right people using data science combined with AI.
Alumni provide their alma maters with a competitive advantage – educational alumni by ensuring these establishments are well funded and can continue to provide the highest level of education and enterprise alumni by providing their former employees with a platform that serves their needs and in turn helps their former employers maintain a competitive advantage.
Same name. Different goals. Different technology. Designed to both support success. Be wary of vendors who try to cross over between the educational/corporate. Success in serving university rarely carries over.
Hear from Dan Klamm, VP, Alumni Relations at Nielsen on the difference between educational and corporate Alumni.