How to Engage Alumni and Get More Donations

Alumni serve as brand ambassadors, giving current students vital networking, career, and information opportunities. Higher education institutions perceive alumni as one of their biggest assets because their generous donations go towards enhancing current students’ experiences through better programs, facilities, and even scholarships. Therefore, alumni should be a top focus of your team when it comes to university fundraising.

Building an engaged alumni base is a key strategy in alumni giving and fundraising. Here’s how to engage alumni and get more donations:

Use social media to share impactful stories

Use your college’s social media presence to maximize the success of your fundraising. Collaborate with the team or person in charge of these accounts to generate promotional posts for your program’s fundraiser. Tap into alumni’s nostalgia and spark memories of the time they spent on campus by sharing stories of student life and university programs. Interview tenured professors that have likely taught many graduating classes. Share video content of new or recently renovated facilities so alumni see how their alma mater has changed.

Most importantly, ensure that you’ve invited your alumni to follow your social media accounts. You can promote your social media profiles through an email marketing campaign. However, a better strategy would be to reach them directly on social media. Employ a service that can get your alumni’s social media handles.

Segment your alumni list

You can create more opportunities by segmenting your alumni lists, such as by year, course, club, or affiliation. With segmented lists, you can target your messaging, ensuring that you’re delivering a message that the recipients will find relevant and engaging. For example, alumni that graduated with degrees in fine art or belonged to a creative arts club may be more responsive to donation appeals for the renovation of the art facilities.

Your approach may also differ depending on the alumni’s potential to become a mid-tier donor or a major donor. Fresh graduates are typically just starting in their careers or still job hunting, making it unlikely that they will respond to appeals for major donations. Those that are established in their careers, however, are more likely to be responsive. Determining who is likely to be a major donor may rely on factors such as the graduation year, obtained degree, and profession. By segmenting your list based on donor potential, you can craft a message that is more likely to invite interest.  

Segmenting your alumni list also helps ensure you’re targeting your engagement efforts. For example, networking events will appeal more to fresh graduates while older alumni will likely be more excited to hear about an alumni Family Fun Day.

The key to successfully segmenting your alumni list starts with having a clean database – one that doesn’t contain duplicates, typos, and incorrect information, which can lead to poor deliverability and high bounce rates and lead to the failure of your marketing campaigns and donor reach out efforts.

Improve your email list segmentation practices with clean data. Allow Runner EDQ to perform a FREE, no obligation CLEAN_Benchmark data analysis of the validity and quality of your current customer contact data and see the true accuracy of your database. RunnerEDQ can also enrich your email list with your alumni’s social media handles.

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