Attracting new students is an essential part of any institution’s long-term development strategy. While that might be the key to survival, there are different steps that an institution can take to ensure students will continue to choose to study there.
One of those steps is undoubtedly maintaining a healthy and engaged alumni network. It may not seem evident at first, but graduates leaving the university can contribute significantly to its continued success. However, for your institution to reap the benefits, you must first build the network. Let’s have a look at why institutions need to have an alumni network and how to create one.
Financial Support for the Institution
Their most distinguished alumni often organize plenty of fundraising efforts for an institution. Of course, the more money raised, the better — additional funds can help universities provide scholarships. That way the alumni can help those students who might not have had an opportunity to develop their talent because of financial difficulties.
And it doesn’t stop at scholarships! Various financial donations provided in part by the alumni can help equip the institution’s facilities to offer the most modern teaching and researching tools available. It drives innovation and pioneering, both defining traits of a top university.
Increased Employability for the Students
Alumni can offer career support to the current students of an institution. But, to do that, they first have to be engaged students themselves. The involvement of alumni in providing a competitive edge to the younger students can be invaluable for an institution’s rank when it comes to graduate employability. All this attracts new students, in turn, adding to the institution’s reputation and standing with potential students.
If students become engaged over the course of their studies, they’ll want to give back to the institution that provided them with a quality education. As much as they benefit from it, the university also obtains help from the experience of its graduates and their skills.
Alumni can become an institution’s best ambassadors, championing its causes and trying to ensure that it continues to thrive. They can even promote it to their connections and social networks, as many of them do.
Of course, an engaged alumni network doesn’t only benefit the institution that maintains it. The alumni can benefit from it too, as an encouraging and active environment helps them develop their skills. The more activities they participate in, the better their odds of becoming able to hone their skills further.
It leads to a satisfying career and professional journey, as well as increased experience and knowledge of what makes them who they are. Keeping the alumni informed and engaged ensures that they’ll be able to adjust to the changing market and still represent their institution in the best light possible.
Appealing to a Changing Market
Institutions often face a problem when it’s time to recruit new students. With each generation of alumni that leaves, a new strategy must be thought of, that would attract the latest generation of hopeful students.
Of course, those are currently the Millennials, a demographic force to be reckoned with in every industry. Especially in education, getting their attention matters — and more often than not their attention is on the internet. It is why digital marketing is an excellent choice for attracting millennials, especially on mobile.
Building an Alumni Network
All of these benefits of alumni influence can’t help higher education institutions if there is no alumni network to speak of. It is why universities and colleges need to be proactive when creating and maintaining one.
One of the most critical requirements for having an alumni network is making sure that the student contact data is correct. Without it, you won’t be able to reach the people you need. An alumni network consists of vital information about each student, and higher education institutions need to start with the basics and build up from there.
Engagement and Contact Data
It’s important to note that when a higher education institution has the correct student and alumni data, the involvement of the student body goes up. It is because students expect universities to be able to contact them and keep all the processes going smoothly.
Also, an overwhelming majority of students, 98% of those surveyed, stated that they’d prefer if their schools used their information to provide them post-graduation support. Without accurate data, life on campus becomes much harder, both for the students and the graduates, as well as the higher institution administration workers that might find it difficult to keep track of everything.
Avoiding Data Errors
Campuses face a problem of frequent data errors, which can affect more than engagement. At best, incorrect data essentially means that the institution will lose time and money trying to reach the person they need. At worst, data errors might cause a decrease in student retention, depending on how frequent and severe they are. Considering that most higher education institutions place student retention as one of their primary goals, it’s easy to see how devastating these consequences may be.
Software Solutions for Clean Alumni Contact Data
With the help of data software solutions that integrate with existing data management platforms, you can ensure your data is always correct. One such solution is Runner EDQ’s CLEAN_Alumni, which provides enterprise quality data on your alumni. Its features include formatting, standardization, and verification of addresses, address change updates, as well as enhanced contact information that includes emails, phones and social media handles.
With Runner EDQ, you can rest assured that your lists aren’t full of duplicates, and it offers capabilities you can use in your institution’s marketing efforts. Demographics data, which is extremely valuable, as well as GeoCode locations and social media updates for marketing and engagement, are all available with CLEAN_Alumni. This information makes it much easier to identify different populations within your lists, which is useful for the increased ease of marketing.
Visit our website to learn more about how our student and alumni data quality solutions help higher education institutions. Keeping student and alumni data clean and updated plays an essential role in making sure your network is engaged.