A functional Alumni Association benefits both Alma Mater and the Alumnus.
In Nigeria, a large number of schools have not benefited from their alumni association. Reason could be that they don’t know the benefits or they don’t know how to go about it. In this blog, we explain the benefits to schools and to the alumni members.
Records has shown that alumni association is a big asset to schools and members of the association. The benefits are enormous, but we will mention few that we can in this write-up.
Call it Barewa Old Boys Association alumni or King’s College Old Boys Association alumni, it was not a co-incident. It was a calculated effort. The interesting thing about this is, the work is mostly done alumnus and not school administrators.
What Is an Alumnus?
It is important for your institution to decide how it defines an alumnus and to document this to avoid any confusion.
The classic definition of alumnus is a graduate or former student of a specific school, college or university. Different institutions develop their own definitions of what alumnus means
- Some restrict the term to graduates.
- Others widen the definition to include all former students (even those who failed to finish), retired staff and other associates.
Why Is Alumni Relations Important?
In the past, alumni relations, or engagement, tended to be treated as a stand-alone activity divorced from fundraising and other advancement activities. Indeed, some alumni associations were entirely independent of their parent institutions, and whilst their members interacted with each other, they had very little interaction with the institution.
Today, alumni relations is an important part of an institution’s advancement activities for many reasons:
- Alumni are an institution’s most loyal supporters.
- Alumni are fundraising prospects.
- Alumni generate invaluable word-of-mouth marketing among their social and professional networks.
- By engaging alumni, an institution can continue to benefit from their skills and experience.
- Alumni are great role models for current students and are often well placed to offer practical support to students as they start their careers.
- Alumni are often in the position to engage the expertise of the institution in their professional lives.
- Your alumni are your international ambassadors. They take their knowledge of your institution to their hometowns and countries and into their professional and social networks.
Maintaining a positive relationship with your alumni means that the messages they share about your institution will also be positive – and current.
Here are few reasons why Alumni relations are essential to your School.
This is: Offer a top quality education > Students become UHNW Alumni & become ambassadors > Increase your institution reputation > Recruit new students
Where did ultra high-net-worth individuals (UHNW) study? According to Wealth-X “World Ultra Wealth Report” from 2014, 5% of the world’s educated UHNW individuals have attended the top ten universities.
“Many UHNW Alumni of these schools and universities are born outside the school, indicating that these institutions, based on their solid reputations, are able to attract students from around the world. These institutions also continue to attract the next generation of UHNW individuals.”
Your students have a hard time finding their first position as Alumni?
Get senior Alumni involved in the professional integration of students. They share common values and education, why not hire them instead of unknown applicants? It also applies to senior Alumni willing to retrain or change career!
You could also implement a mentor/mentee relationship management tool to help junior Alumni get in touch with experienced Alumni willing to share their expertise and best practices in a given field. Senior Alumni might as well be willing to learn new skills from junior Alumni.
A good example: Hakeem Belo-Osagie-led EXCO of King’s College Old Boys Association alumni promise and have created employment opportunities for young Old Boys, the Association announces the launch of the KCOBA Jobs Fair.
Presently, the KCOBA has taken up the challenge of restoring, preserving and developing the physical, intellectual, moral and social fabric of the institution. The Association has consistently raised colossal sums of money which have been prudently deployed towards this end.
Again, it speaks for itself! If not several millions, you could still gather a few thousands from you Alumni if they are grateful for the services you have provided and if they feel involved in their institution’s development.
Are you Alumni proud to have graduated from your institution? They should! Developing strong Alumni relations and offering services they need will help.
Be available, give them professional and business opportunities, grant access to a updated data base of contact, etc. You have a great role to play in bringing your community together and in feeling them involved!
- Define alumnus for your institution – and document that definition.
- Outline a few key ways in which you are maintaining positive relationships with your alumni (in partnership with other departments).
- For schools that have senior alumnus, Outline in your fundraising strategy how you would like to focus the support of your alumni (in partnership with other departments).
If the relationship between your alumni and your institution stalls when they leave campus, their knowledge of your activities and achievements will no longer evolve. The messages they will share with people will be out-of-date and could reflect poorly on the progress your institution has since achieved.
Maintaining communication channels with alumni means you can keep them informed of your achievements and make them part of your institution’s future, not just its past.
Good alumni relations benefits alumni as well as the institution. If you support your alumni in their professional and personal lives through activities such as the facilitation of social and professional networks, preferential access to on-campus expertise and facilities and negotiated benefits with third-party suppliers, they are likely to be your loyal life-long supporters. Your support may also help your alumni achieve positions of success and influence, which will in turn benefit your institution as they begin to give back.
By helping the institution become bigger, stronger and more successful, alumni are also enhancing the value of their own result or qualification.
A strong link between alumni relations and fundraising will enable you to spot alumni who have the capacity and inclination to make significant gifts. It will also enable you to effectively segment the majority of alumni who might only give smaller amounts so that you can match them to the ask that has the highest likelihood of success.