A university’s alumni are one of its most valuable resources. They represent the university and its community, providing current students with their valuable experiences, career advice, and networking opportunities. Furthermore, the most engaged alumni want to ensure their beloved alma mater not only upholds its values and traditions but also continues to grow and improve. Alumni demonstrate this financial support, donating funds towards the institution’s operating budget, scholarships, resources, renovations, facilities, and so on.
Many alumni quickly recognize that their donations go a long way and don’t hesitate to make regular contributions; however, some alumni need more motivation. For alumni to be motivated to donate, they need to care and feel connected enough. They need to feel that their donations are valuable. Here are five tips to encourage more alumni donations:
1. Engage with alumni on social media
Most alumni contact information forms only ask for the graduate’s full name, graduation year, email, address, and phone number. Fortunately, these details are often all you need to discover the alumni’s social media handles, links, and most used methods to communicate. A good strategy would be to have a social media profile dedicated specifically for alumni on your top 3 social media channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Post content that sparks nostalgia and deepens their personal connection to the institution. Encourage members to contribute user-generated content. Create a branded hashtag especially for alumni to use. Invite alumni members to share posts about networking opportunities, such as job openings or internships at their companies. Some may have even launched their own business and offer special discounts for fellow alumni.
2. Make donating easy
Many people are quick to abandon a purchase when navigating a website or checkout turns out too frustrating or confusing. The same can happen when someone who initially wanted to contribute to their alumni is met with a poor donation process. Alumni may be more motivated to donate if they’re given fixed amounts or levels, allowing them to choose a tier rather than think of an amount themselves. Provide them with the ability to easily make wire transfers or credit card payments online. You can also invite them to visit the institution’s alumni department personally.
3. Keep your contact list up-to-date
According to a 2019 survey, 50% of millennials plan to move back home with their parents after they graduate from college, with 31% planning to only stay at their parent’s house for at least two years. So when you collect alumni information from recent graduates, about half of those will likely provide their parent’s residential address. But with most of them planning to eventually move out in a few short years, this means that in just two years, you won’t have an updated contact list. This is why much of alumni-related direct mail ends up in the parents’ hands rather than the alumni you’re trying to engage. And if graduates don’t receive alumni mail or communications, the connection to their alma mater will ultimately fade with time.