10 Alumni Engagement Ideas to Try

alumni engagement ideas header photo

Once a student finishes their education, it is important to keep them involved with their alma mater.

An active alumni base helps keep the school’s tradition alive and motivates current students by showing what they can accomplish by becoming successful graduates.

If you are in charge of organizing alumni engagement events, you may be struggling to think of innovative ways for your school to stay connected to its former attendees. Even recent graduates can find it difficult to keep involved.

In this blog, we will go through ten alumni engagement ideas that you can try to implement or use as inspiration for your next event.

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Importance of Alumni Engagement for Universities

Alumni engagement is a crucial aspect of university advancement, as it helps maintain a meaningful relationship with former students. Engaged alumni can contribute to the university in various ways, including financial support, career services, volunteer opportunities, and career opportunities for current students. By creating strong alumni networks, universities can improve their reputation, attract prospective students, and provide current students with valuable resources and connections.

10 Alumni Engagement Activities

alumni engagement infographic

1. Follow Alumni on Social Media

One of the easiest ways your school can directly engage with your alumni is by following them on social media. And having social media accounts specifically dedicated to alumni helps build a vibrant community.

Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter can help you keep track of alumni achievements and share success stories with the broader alumni community. Showing pride in the accomplishments of the people who attended your university will make them feel appreciated and more strongly connected to their alma mater. 

These platforms serve as a large forum for people to talk about their experiences, learn about school-related events, and connect with their former classmates.

Additionally, social media can be used to promote alumni events, share updates about the university, and facilitate communication between alumni and current students.

2. Wish Alumni a Happy Birthday

A simple yet effective way to show alumni that they are valued is by wishing them a happy birthday.

Personalized birthday messages can be sent via email or social media, making alumni feel appreciated and remembered. Opting for a more personalized approach shows the alumni that your school puts some effort into remembering them, thereby emphasizing their continuing value to the school.

This small gesture can go a long way in strengthening the bond between alumni and their alma mater, encouraging them to stay engaged and involved with the university.

Wishing your alumni a happy birthday every year can make them feel special and drive their engagement with your school.

3. Have an Alumni Appreciation Week

Organizing an Alumni Appreciation Week is a great way to celebrate and recognize the contributions of alumni.

During this week, universities can host fun events and activities, such as networking mixers, panel discussions, and award ceremonies, to honor alumni achievements.

You can also arrange to give out gifts and awards, publicly recognize your alumni’s accomplishments, and share appreciation messages from the current student body.

This not only boosts alumni engagement but also provides an opportunity for alumni to reconnect with their peers and the university.

And don’t be afraid to get creative.

For their 2022 Alumni Appreciation Week, students of the Yale School of Management made over 200 handwritten letters, the majority of which were mailed to select fellow alumni.

Others were made public to express gratitude to the entire alumni community, like in this example:

Source: Yale School of Management

Putting together a memorable alumni appreciation week will stay with your school’s former and current students alike, and the lead-up and aftermath to the event are a great opportunity to increase interest in the school.

4. Invite Alumni as Guest Speakers

Inviting alumni to speak at university events, such as graduation ceremonies, career fairs, and workshops, is an excellent way to keep them involved.

Guest speakers can share their experiences, offer career advice, and provide valuable insights to current students and other young alumni. 

It is a great way to motivate and inspire new generations, while also making previous ones feel proud and valued for their contribution.

5. Organize a Reunion

Another alumni engagement idea that brings graduates back to school grounds is a reunion event. Reunions are a classic way to bring alumni together and strengthen their connection to the university.

By organizing class reunions, universities can provide alumni with an opportunity to reconnect with their former classmates, teachers, and mentors.

Additionally, incorporating fun activities, such as campus tours, sports events, and social gatherings, can make reunions more enjoyable and memorable.

To rekindle memories and positive feelings for the school, the event could include a university campus tour, sports event, or a social gathering to make the reunion more enjoyable and memorable.

For example, Columbia College organized a three-day reunion, starting with a tour of New York City and catching up with their class at the welcome reception.

Source: Columbia College Alumni Association

The following two days were reserved for mini-core lectures, luncheons, and tours, both ending with a party in different locations.

Devoting more time to reunion events and activities makes it more likely that some of them will stay in your alumni’s memories and incentivize them to return for more.

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6. Develop a Mentorship Program

A mentorship program is a valuable initiative that can benefit both alumni and current students.

By pairing alumni with students or recent graduates, universities can facilitate knowledge sharing, career guidance, and professional development.

Mentorship programs can be conducted in person or through online platforms, making it accessible to alumni from different time zones.

This not only helps students graduate with a clear career path but allows alumni to stay connected and give back to their alma mater in a meaningful way.

7. Encourage Volunteer Opportunities

Encouraging alumni to participate in volunteer opportunities is a great way to keep them engaged and involved with the university.

Alumni can volunteer for various activities, such as mentoring students, organizing events, participating in community service projects, or serving on advisory boards.

Volunteer opportunities provide alumni with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, while also benefiting the university and its students.

Additionally, recognizing and appreciating the efforts of alumni volunteers with a hand-written letter can further boost their engagement and commitment to the institution.

8. Plan a Family Fun Day

Planning a Family Fun Day is an excellent way to engage alumni and their families.

This event can include activities such as games, sports, picnics, and entertainment, providing a fun and relaxed environment for alumni to reconnect with their peers and the university.

Your school can also offer a tour of the campus.

It’s a unique opportunity for alumni to tell their kids and spouses stories about the good times they had studying at your school.

This will strengthen their bond with your institution and potentially inspire future generations of students to enroll.

Parents could take pictures with their children, have lunch together, or take a breather by doing Yoga on the Lawn, which makes for a picnic-like, relaxed atmosphere for them to enjoy.

9. Organize a Charity Event

Organizing a charity event is a meaningful way to engage alumni while giving back to the community.

There are many ways to approach this, depending on your goal and audience.

Your school can throw a fundraising gala dinner, a luncheon with a guest speaker, a walking or running challenge, or a golf tournament.

In most cases, your school’s former students will participate as the target audience.

This is especially true if you are targeting older, more accomplished alumni who have the means to give something back to the community.

On the other hand, schools can also involve alumni as volunteers who help with the organizing.

This way, they will feel helpful and involved with a good cause, even if they don’t have enough money to contribute directly.

10. Host Virtual Events

Virtual events are a powerful tool for engaging alumni across different time zones who are unable to attend in-person events.

These events can include webinars, virtual reunions, live-streamed lectures, and online workshops, providing a unique opportunity for alumni to connect with their alma mater and fellow alumni from anywhere in the world.

Additionally, virtual events can be recorded and shared on the university’s online platforms, allowing alumni to access the content at their convenience.

How Regpack Can Simplify Registration for Alumni Events

Regpack is an online registration software platform that can simplify the process of organizing and managing alumni events.

With Regpack, universities can easily register attendees, collect contact information, manage event logistics, and send personalized messages through communication channels.

Our platform offers tools for payment processing and data management, ensuring a seamless experience for both the university and its alumni.

Regpack helps universities boost engagement and ensure successful alumni events.

Engage More Alumni Today!

Engaging alumni is essential for the long-term success and advancement of universities.

By using these ten alumni engagement ideas, educational institutions can create a strong and active alumni community.

By prioritizing alumni engagement, universities can create meaningful relationships with their graduates, ultimately benefiting both the institution and its alumni.

These ten alumni engagement ideas will help you figure out what your school can do for its next alumni-oriented event.

Whatever you choose to do, you must make the alumni feel a sense of belonging and show them that your school values their involvement!

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