What are some innovations in the way that universities are handling their alumni relations?
My answers might be "trends" instead of "innovations," but it's clear that these changes are underway or well-established.
We've seen the following in the last decade or so:
- Increased connections between the alumni office and fundraising (e.g., combining alumni staff with annual fund staff; including the alumni association in campaign plans).
- More emphasis on career services, networking help, and professional success for alumni. More coordination with the campus career center.
- Educating students more intentionally about their future as alumni, well before they graduate and become alumni themselves.
- Steadily evolving regional structures. The traditional "chapter" or "club" with a board, a newsletter, regular meetings, and bylaws is evolving into a less structured, adaptable and responsive "network."
- Using social media and other digital channels as "listening posts" to learn what alumni care about and what they need. Less of the old fashioned broadcasting of institutional news.
- Increasing reliance on third-party digital tools to deliver content and services online. More companies with apps and platforms designed to drive alumni engagement.
These trends are not universal, nor are they growing uniformly. However, they represent the overall shift that alumni programs must make as alumni themselves do more things on their own that had been the sole province of the alumni office or association (e.g., broadcast communication; event planning; fundraising; finding former classmates).
What other innovations do you see, and how are you incorporating them? Leave a comment.
Related link: My original answer on the Quora site.
Photo by Sarah McGee Via Creative Commons