I haven’t even graduated yet, and I’m already received dozens of e-mail suggesting that I join my school’s alumni network–all of which I regard as spam and send to the trash. As a current student, even I know that alumni donors are extremely important being that they are a huge source of financial support. If some colleges and universities are already out of the loop when it comes to social technology and student relations, it is highly likely that they are struggling with the same thing in alumni relations.
Alumni Futures’ Andy Shaindlin has built an updated matrix of every possible use case for social technology in alumni and donor outreach. Some of the ways he suggests using the matrix are as a management checklist, for brainstorming, and to create a strategy roadmap.
Jeremiah Owyang, who originally put together the matrix, did so to help colleges and universities understand and realize their problem with social networks. When recent grads can connect with each other for free through Facebook or LinkedIn, they do not need to be a part of their school’s fee-based alumni network. With this said, I don’t think Higher Ed should lose hope. I suggest using such social technologies to get in touch with alumni, and lead them back to becoming members of your school’s alumni network.
Here are a few Use Cases from Shaindlin’s matrix that stood out for me:
- Talk to alumni by using tools to connect you like Twitter Lists and LinkedIn Groups where you can respond when necessary and have alumni respond to you.
- Listen to alumni by going through blogs, Twitters, Facebook Pages, etc. to gain info about what they now think of your institution and what describes their resource needs that your school may be able to provide.
- Aggregate alumni and campus voices through something like a blog as an inexpensive way to create ongoing content and uplift existing members. Here is how Stanford has executed it.
- Connect alumni with students through social media groups such as Facebook Groups or a Micromobs Group. Schools should create alumni awareness in current students even before they graduate.
I beleive that these strategies are especially relevant for my upcoming generation of social technology-savvy alumni. With only one year left of my college career, it think it’s a great and natural idea for colleges to reach out to me once I graduate through the technologies I’m already using rather than through less engaging e-mails, phone calls, and letter mail (all of which I do not look forward to).