Investing resources into alumni outreach is a great way way for both public and private schools, districts, and education foundations to develop a network of support. But this can be easier said than done. In an era of declining resources for education, it can be difficult to find the time and funds to embark on a cohesive alumni engagement strategy.
The good news is that it is possible to create an effective alumni outreach strategy, even with limited resources. Below are a few of the key characteristics of a high-performing alumni outreach office:
1. Connection to institution leaders
An effective alumni outreach office must have the support of school, district, and education foundation leaders. Regular communication and interfacing with leaders gives staff members the opportunity to demonstrate the value alumni outreach adds to an institution.
2. Willingness to adapt
Although educational institutions have been leveraging alumni outreach for a long time, the strategies, methods and resources they use have changed dramatically over the years. The highest-performing alumni outreach offices can adapt to change to get the best results possible. Staff members must be open to using new technology and platforms for connecting with alumni in the interest of generating greater engagement in a digital age.
3. Engaged alumni partners
The most effective resources an alumni outreach office has are existing alumni partners. These partners should be willing to volunteer their time and invest their energy into bringing together their fellow alumni for social gatherings and fundraising events. They can relate to other alumni on a personal level and make your message far more impactful.
4. Strategic planning and goal setting
An alumni outreach office must have a clear direction. It should have have defined goals and a strategic plan to achieve them. Bring together staff to outline goals that align with the broader goals of the institution.
Once these goals are in place, the team can brainstorm initiatives and strategies that will get them there. It’s important to have big goals to reach, as well as smaller goals along the way. These smaller goals are a good benchmark for progress and can help keep the team motivated and on the right track.
5. Effective use of resources
Regardless of the amount of resources to which an alumni outreach office has access, it’s essential they leverage those resources effectively. Make the most of staff, volunteers, funding, technology and communication channels.
Ultimately, the success of an alumni outreach office is not defined by its access to resources, but rather by how it uses the resources it has available. To promote truly effective outreach strategies and alumni engagement efforts, keep your team focused on leveraging resources to pursue your goals.