As a follow-up to Part 1 of this article, FundFive offers the following insight for creating a baseline and addressing the data concerns in the college alumni office.
Steps for Building a Baseline (All Free)
- Create a Facebook Fan Page for the alumni office. Hang this page off the main university Fan Page if one exists. Be sure that navigation is intentional (cross reference the university athletics website, the admissions office, the main university website, etc.) and that others are aware that you are interested in helping drive traffic to their websites. Ask for each area to add links back to your new Fan Page. Also request that they promote on occasion your presence as a partner page.
- Reach out across the university and identify other individuals that are collecting information about alumni (community relations, admissions, and registrar’s office, for starters). University employees often fail to recognize that they have a role as part of a greater entity to collaborate and work across departments and disciplines for the betterment of the school’s student, parent and alumni population. (Sorry, but we've seen this time and time again on scores of campuses across the country.)
- Place an individual in the alumni office in charge of collecting the information that each member freely shares on their profile pages. Put together a spreadsheet with basic demographic columns (first name, last name, city, state, job title, industry, married status, number of children), and then set goals for collection. For example, if the college graduated 1,000 students between 1990 and 1992, make it a priority to obtain information on at least 40-50% of the graduates.
Other ideas for getting a hold of data:
- Form a data standards committee and agree on the types of data being collected, and define a process for sharing. Map out a work flow for collection and identify a central data storage and owner.
- Define a communications strategy for marketing to your audience. Be sure that the timings of mailings, emails, etc. are consistent and do not overlap. Also be sure that messages are personalized. Do not ask for information without first checking that the data doesn't exist elsewhere on campus, and do not collect information without sharing it back to the other offices across the business.
- Be sure that there is a consistency in the messages that are sent. (There’s nothing worse as an alumnus than receiving multiple mailings asking for the same data. It reflects poorly on the brand and demonstrates that communication is broken internally.)
Have other suggestions that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear how you are approaching this need at your institution. Please comment below or contact FundFive for other suggestions on how to address these types of concerns on your campus.