Learning to engage for better alumni relationships
21 January 2022
Claudia Monteiro looks at some key findings from the new Alumni Matters report which suggests more learning could be key to better engagement.
For those who work in alumni relations, the pandemic has been a game of two halves. If on the one hand the intimacy of face-to-face contact traditionally provided by events has been lost to travel restrictions, on the other hand they’ve reached a far wider range of alumni audiences, thanks to online gatherings.
The possibilities opened up by digital experience, provision of lifelong learning and access to networking are the key themes from this year’s Alumni Matters report published with EFMD.
The upsurge in digital interactions has brought with it increased awareness and connections – the holy grail of alumni relations. Alumni Matters found how many more alumni acknowledge digital newsletters and events when compared to 2020 – up 21% and 40% respectively.
One of the top alumni choices to improve engagement is access to learning opportunities, particularly short course and non-degree executive education (48%), informal learning opportunities with content from guest speakers (48%) and content from departments other than the business school (38%). There is a big piece of work to do here when it comes to raising awareness of the school and the wider university’s offer though, as more than half the respondents are unaware of what is currently available to them to continue learning at their alma matter.
More than anything else, alumni want to network more, and are especially looking for those connections be made easier than their current experience. For younger alumni, who are still building relationships in their business sector or profession, networking is particularly important. Other CarringtonCrisp research has pointed out the increasing number of prospective students wanting to start their own business, and this is no different for alumni. Of those wanting to start their own business, 57% are specifically looking for advice to support their ambitions as part of the alumni offer to them.
Alumni are often willing to give back to their business school, and it’s not always about cash. More than half the respondents would be prepared to engage in a number of activities across research (case study development), teaching (course development), and supporting students in career development.
As ever the opportunities to harness alumni sentiment are plenty (88% of respondents are proud to be associated with their school). Where will your business school start?
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