Anthology Research Finds Growing Interest Among Alumni to Engage in Recruitment, Mentoring Opportunities
Anthology announced the results of its 2022 nationwide alumni research survey: Opportunities for Institutions to Refine Existing Strategies and Grow Alumni Engagement. The survey revealed that alumni are increasingly interested in connecting with their alma maters, including an expressed interest in supporting recruiting activities and mentoring opportunities with current and prospective students. The study also showed that alumni would like to receive more personalized communication from their institutions, with the majority indicating interest in receiving personalized updates on fellow graduates and information about networking opportunities via tailored email messages.
“As enrollment and retention issues challenge institutions of all types and sizes, this survey shines light on an invaluable and underutilized constituency colleges and universities can deploy – their own alumni,” said Jim Milton, chairman and CEO at Anthology. “Alumni, especially recent graduates, are a potential bridge to prospective students and to current students exploring careers. Our research makes clear a personalized approach to alumni engagement is critical for building impactful, two-way relationships that create value beyond traditional giving and engagement campaigns.”
Alumni Seek Opportunities to Support Current and Prospective Students
The survey revealed a majority of alumni (57%) are interested in supporting current or prospective students, providing institutions the unique opportunity to explore more methods of connecting alumni to these populations. Of those interested, 44% would help mentor current students, while 35% expressed interest in speaking with current or prospective students about their careers or in helping admissions recruit students. These results indicate an opportunity for alumni engagement offices to involve more alumni in career support of current students, whether by encouraging faculty members to invite alumni as guest speakers or cooperating with career services on programming. In the current recruitment environment, alumni are another option available to help raise awareness of the institution and build connections with prospective students and their parents.
Increased Interest in Alumni Networking and Career-Oriented Programming
More than 60% of alumni respondents expressed interest in at least one form of alumni programming, with networking opportunities and career-related programming representing the top two activities. With one-third of respondents interested in virtual programming for events and a slightly higher percentage (39%) preferring in-person events, institutions are best to offer a mix of hybrid programming to cater to alumni expectations.
Social Media Emerges as Key Channel, Personalization is Critical Across Platforms
Social media represented the second most preferred channel for communication among alumni, outpaced only by email, with one in four favoring social media as a method for staying connected. This indicates an opportunity for institutions to broaden how they think about communicating with alumni while also deploying a more personalized approach, such as targeting recent graduates with updates on social media platforms like Instagram. Email communication still plays an important part and is the most favored channel for fundraising, with 41% of donors citing email as the prompt that led to their donation.
When asked about engaging content, alumni were most interested in updates from fellow alumni, followed by information on discounts or promotional offers, in-person alumni events, and then alumni networking opportunities. Regardless of the channel, the desire for more personalization was a unifying theme and the need for institutions to share the right content across the right channel at the right moment.
About the Survey
Anthology conducted the national survey in June 2022. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to indicate that they completed a degree at a higher education institution in the United States. A total of 2,365 responses were considered valid and used in the analysis.
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