As your graduates go on to start their own families and have children, you may notice it becomes more difficult to keep them engaged in your alumni events and activities. In many cases, however, this lack of engagement is not due to a lack of interest in your alumni, but instead due to the challenges associated with attending events when they have kids. They might not wish to take time away from their families to participate in the event, even if it’s one that interests them.
One of the best ways to keep your alumni with children engaged is to host events that are family friendly and invite alumni to bring their partners and children. You may well find that opening up your events to include family members will increase your attendance at events, as well as increase the appeal of your alumni association.
Below are a few tips you might consider to improve engagement among alumni with children:
- Pick the right time: You’ll have much better luck having events during the day on the weekend if you are trying to attract alumni with families than you will by having events during evenings or on weeknights.
- Keep it simple: When planning an event in which children will be in attendance, it’s a good idea to keep it simple and avoid making it an overly planned-out affair. You should make it easy for families to show up or leave at their convenience. This is especially beneficial for families with young children who may not be able to realistically make it through an entire afternoon. It could be something as simple as a picnic.
- Choose the right setting: Not every event venue is going to be ideal for children, so if you’re planning a family-friendly event, you are going to need a family-friendly setting. Think parks, zoos, museums and things of that nature. Avoid halls and ballrooms—while these may be good sites for other types of events your alumni association holds, they are not going to be of much interest to children.
- Hold events on a smaller scale: Not all your alumni events have to be big blowouts. In fact, holding some events on a smaller scale may be attractive to some alumni. Having more intimate, low-key events can also be attractive for alumni with families, who may prefer to avoid more potentially overwhelming environments.
- Have activities for children: When planning activities with families in mind, make sure you have specifically planned activities for the kids. Maybe all children attending get a coloring book or small package of games and activities. Perhaps there’s a playground reserved for them or a scavenger hunt set up. Taking the initiative to give attending children something to do can encourage alumni with kids to come out to the event.
When planning alumni events throughout the year, consider the needs and preferences of your alumni who are at the age when they have children. You may find interest and attendance in your events tick up considerably.
National Alumni Institute members have exclusive access to our Legacy Program Template to engage your multi-generation alumni! Click here to access the template or join today!