Building meaningful, long-lasting connections and community is at the heart of an alumni engagement strategic plan. And when “85 percent of alumni agree they would donate more often if they knew their money was funding organizations or initiatives with which they had been involved as a student,” it becomes increasingly clear why personalized alumni experiences (and alumni apps!) are quickly becoming the future of alumni relations.
With that in mind, there are several aspects to consider when your alumni relations team devises and executes an engagement strategy, from appealing to multigenerational members to their dispersed locations around the world.
A robust alumni app can unite members of the alumni community no matter their location and depending on the platform, it can be easy and engaging to utilize contrary to the users varying technical skills. An alumni app focused on community-building and insights can provide administrators with real-time, in-house user analytics to tap into valuable knowledge around what content and information matter most to your members. From there, you can build your app and the content on it based on the wealth of engagement data you can now access.
So, when determining the best alumni app to keep your alumni engaged and compliment your alumni strategic plan, make sure it has these five app features:
1) Chat and Group Messaging for Class Reconnection and Member Networking
One way to help your alumni network foster camaraderie and an ingrained sense of belonging with their alma mater is to equip them with various connectivity tools to interact with their former classmates and friends. Whether they were a part of the same graduating class, members of the same University club, or Greek Life organization, they can outreach and connect through chat and group messaging. With extensive discovery capabilities, they can search for chat channels based on similar interests or locations and virtually connect to fellow alumni.
Rather than leveraging a 3rd party social media platform, an authenticated alumni platform gives alumni a secure network exclusive to former students to talk and reconnect with verified members.
2) Automated News Feed for Latest Alumni University Updates
With an alumni app, streamline how you distribute the latest alumni university news and updates with a consolidated news feed. Pull in sources from your dedicated blog, varying social media platforms, website sources, and more. Instead of having one of your team spending administrative time inputting and organizing all the disparate updates.
3) Robust Alumni Event Management Calendar View of Upcoming Alumni Events
Similar to news, upcoming events can be time-consuming trying to compile what various activities and events you want to invite your alumni to. Within your dynamic alumni app, instantly aggregate future activities and events into one centralized section. Members should have a personalized view to save events and export them to their go-to external calendar. This app feature can be a gamechanger when it comes to driving engagement. Plan upcoming events based on alumni interest levels, and remind alumni to attend events through mobile push notifications and emails via the app.
4) Dedicated Pages for Alumni Donations and Social Giving Opportunities
Encourage members to support their former university through dedicated donation pages and social giving opportunities. Provide additional resources about annual fundraising goals, latest milestones, FAQ, and alumni donor spotlights. Alumni can refer back to these dedicated pages when they want to learn more about your various causes and donate.
5) Alumni Engagement Metrics and Insights to Continuously Evolve Outreach and Community
As part of community-building, metrics of member app engagement will give your administration team valuable insight into outreaching your community. What information are they seeing and consuming? What pages are performing the best and have the most members and engagement? Which members are most active and can make ideal community partners? Good alumni apps will allow you to utilize this in-house data to strategize and adjust your efforts to inform the best techniques to maximize engagement and demonstrate ROI.