An alumni network is essential for a school, a sport club or a company. He makes the link between the school, alumni and new students. This association type is very useful: thanks to an online platform or a website, the new students are allowed to contact the elder students and ask for advices, internships, jobs and business opportunities. But to be effective, your alumni network has to be dynamic. Here are a few advices to involve your members and dynamize your alumni network!
#1 Organize some events
- Something I have observed during my research, is that most of the alumni networks, not to say all, are only operating through a website or a CD-ROM which role is to be the actual directory of alumni. A CD-ROM, seriously?
- Although in the 21st century a website is essential for any alumni network, it hasn’t to be the keystone of your association. Especially if this one is not updated regularly. Nobody will visit it, nor the director of your school. And even less the students. But we will see a little bit further how to make sure that your website / platform is useful and used by the students.
- Your alumni network won’t work in an optimal way if you don’t organize events. I am not talking about virtual events in World of Warcraft no, but physical events, where the alumni can reunite et meet the new ones, building relationships, share contacts or business opportunities (jobs, internships…).
- Organize events isn’t complicated. Particularly, they can take any form: afterwork in a bar, conference, networking nights… even a video games night. The important is that they meet. We have to break through the virtual to get into the real life.
Keep in mind: What the members of your alumni network want is to build a useful contacts network. They need to get access to this network in a pertinent way.
#2 Create a blog
- Wait, not so fast, the virtual will need a place in the smooth running of your alumni network. And a very big place.
- These last years, Internet has taken a significant value in people’s life. The members of your alumni network have nos escaped from this movement. Everyday, they are going online to consult their favorite websites, in order to follow the news, watch videos, look for a job, meet new people…
- As an alumni network, your mission is to inform your members through actualities, events, conferences or workshops organized by your association. You can do it through a blog. The platforms are getting successful nowadays. And you can post what you want: articles, pictures, videos…
Keep in mind: a blog is essential for every alumni network. You will be able to inform your members about your activity in a constant and permanent way.
#3 Communicate more often
- Nobody likes spam. Me the first. When i’m getting too much emails, or when I see too much articles, I just want to shut my browser down. In the best case. Sometimes I just break it against the wall (it’s the 4th in 2017).
- The fact is that even if nobody likes spam, we all like getting informed and receive pertinent informations. News which are bringing us something that we will be able to use efficiently.
- It is the same for the alumni members. They like that we send them an email talking about an upcoming event, job opportunities or the publication of the last video of the webinar (the one they couldn’t assit).
- Previously, I was talking about the creation of a blog. It is a good way to regularly communicate about your actuality. Bonus? The members couldn’t tell you that you are doing some spam, because they will have to go on your blog to get the info. It’s up to you! A monthly / trimestrial newsletter can make sense in order to inform your members about the news of your association.
Keep in mind: Communicate with your members about relevant topics. But only relevant. Otherwise, they could boycott you.
#4 Involve your members
- Despite what we say, once we have left our school for the world of work, we are often put aside of our alumni network. And that’s too bad. The main motivation of people joining alumni network is to make a living for it, so we can have opportunities (jobs, internships).
- The best way to involve the alumni is to force them to participate to your network. We won’t lie, if your network is not as dynamic as you want, it’s because your are lacking of time and ideas. Clearly, you haven’t the means to fulfil your ambitions.
- By calling the alumni, who will be happy to meet new people and to develop the alumni network, you have the opportunity to dynamize your network and to create a synergy between the members.
- How to involve the alumni? Encourage them to share their knowledge by writing articles on your brand new blog or by giving conferences. Motivate them to organize networking nights. Propose them to meet new students to share some advices. It will always be better than a CD-ROM.
Keep in mind: your members are able to dynamize your alumni network to make it effective. Don’t hesitate to suggest them to implicate themselves.
#5 Create a platform dedicated to trade
- As I told you before, the members of your alumni network need to access to this network in a relevant way.
- Your alumni network could be the most precious treasure for your members. An incredible source of contacts. But how to use this source to get opportunities?
- It is important to create a group dedicated to your previous students. Why a dedicated group? To avoid spam. Your members need interesting topics. Which tool should you use to create and animate those groups?
- With Swabbl, you can create for free a business team for your alumni network, and allow members to share opportunities. Jobs, business opportunities, internships… The possibilities are unlimited. Each member of the group will be able to publish needs and to answer to already published needs. The meaning of this is to get contacts who could answer to these needs.
- Imagine: a group member of your alumni network is looking for a new job or for an investor for his new start-up. He published a business need and the members of your network can answer anytime. Isn’t it beautiful?