When you have truly engaged alumni, you can benefit from a group of passionate supporters who drive your school district's goals and fundraising efforts. One of the ways you can get your former students more involved in your district is to hold one or more alumni engagement events throughout the year.
If you have not planned these types of events before, or the events you've held have not generated the results you were seeking, consider these ideas and tips:
- Create goals: Before you can start the hard work of event planning, create reasonable goals. Consider the events you've held in the past, the size of your alumni pool and the amount of money you have to spend on your event to help quantify some clear goals. Think about the amount of money you want to generate through fundraising, the number of alumni you want to sign up as volunteers or the number of followers and subscribers you want for your social media and email marketing campaigns.
- Brainstorm ideas with your alumni in mind: Consider the kind of event your alumni would be interested in attending. Use whatever information you have about your alumni—including their age, career paths, family status and interests—to help you brainstorm event ideas that will appeal to them.
- Market your event: Do as much as you can to ensure your alumni know about your event. Do both direct mail and email invitations, share information on social media and make calls to some influential alumni to generate greater attendance.
- Blend fun and purpose: If you don’t have anything fun or interesting to offer alumni who attend your events, they are unlikely to show up. Look to plan an an event at which people can have fun and communicate the goals and mission of your school district to generate support. You can do this with powerful videos, images or testimonials that are woven into the event, along with fun activities that your alumni can enjoy.
Planning an alumni engagement event can be challenging, but the outcomes for your school district are immeasurable when they go well. Take these tips and ideas into account as you work on your next event.