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How to Engage Your Alumni Using Data & Technology in 2021

Alumni engagement is about connecting with your graduates in a meaningful way.

Understanding where they are in life today and being able to use that information can significantly improve the results of any volunteering, fundraising, academic or career objective you are targeting on your next campaign. Here are a few ideas of accomplishing this with data, technology and creativity.

1. Identify your campaign goal

Are you trying to raise money, gain volunteers, build an alumni affinity group or promote a new program? Clearly identifying your goal will ensure you select the right population of alumni to target, because they will only care about what's relevant to them.

For this example our goal is to fundraise for a women's entrepreneurship program.

Our strategy will be to host an award ceremony for the top 40 under 40 female alumni to introduce the new program. The goal of the campaign is to identify all female entrepreneurs with potential to engage with current students, donate to the program and volunteer.

Quick Read: 3 Ways to Target Alumni Like UNLV

2. Identify only the most relevant alumni

Segment your alumni by criteria that will optimize engagement and meet your campaign goals. Tap into geographic, demographic, employment and education data that defines this population for highly personalized outreach.

For the top 40 under 40 example, let's segment by these identifiers:

1. Education: Degree from your university

2. Gender: Female

3. Job titles: Founder, Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Owner, Executive

4. Age: 25-40

Steppingblocks Graduate Outcomes Data for 40 Under 40 FemalesThe Steppingblocks Graduate Explorer dashboard identifies relevant alumni with advanced filtering for any segment. 40 under 40 female targets for University X are displayed here.

3. Use data to launch your campaign

Narrow your search and obtain record-level contact information and detail about each alumni you are targeting. The more you know, the more you can customize your campaign. Serving diverse needs and supporting individual interests in the institutional community is the key to building a lifetime of commitment.

Steppingblocks Record Level Data for 40 Under 40 Females

4. Use technology to design and automate your campaign

Leverage your CRM, email marketing platforms and social media channels to create hyper-focused, automated messages that will capture your audience using data-driven techniques. Here are a few fundraising email templates made for alumni engagement teams to personalize your message, branding, content and format based on your target persona.

Your distribution channel (social, email, direct mail, etc.) needs to quickly capture attention, so a good design will go a long way. If you don't have a designer in-house, user-friendly tools, such as Canva, are made for any skill level. Canva even offers a version for free. Both free and paid accounts are stocked with an overwhelming library of videos, images and templates for any format from flyer to instagram story.

Canva Entrepreneur Engagement Example FlyerAlumni event flyer promoting 40 under 40 awards ceremony, created in Canva.

5. Conclusion

Your fundraising toolkit can mean the difference between an inexpensive and repeatable strategy or a costly and ineffective one. A well-planned strategy powered by data, personalization, automation and technology will significantly increase engagement and generate positive ROI for your campaigns.

Here are examples of ideal alumni populations developed by partner universities that you might want to target for your next campaign:

  • Executives in the computer science industry
  • High income earners from recent graduating classes
  • A 40 under 40 event for female engineering graduates
  • Alumni that work in the medical industry
  • Veteran alumni who live locally

Need to segment your next campaign?

Contact us for an interactive analysis of your alumni data from our database of over 100 million real people. Drive action and inspire giving for a lifetime of alumni support.

What is Steppingblocks for students?

Research your future career with real-world stats about your major, your interests, and your job title. Turn billions of data-points into actionable insights about your future with a few simple clicks. Watch the video to find out how.

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