When you join a sorority or fraternity, you join a community built on the bonds of a family. However, when your members graduate and move off campus to pursue their academic or career goals, they’ll have fewer opportunities to engage themselves in your chapter’s activities.
That means it’s up to your leadership team to keep your familial connection strong even after your members become alumni and build their lives outside of your chapter.
One of the best ways to reignite your alumni members’ passion for your chapter is by gathering them for events. Not only will they have fun connecting with their classmates from college, but they’ll also get to meet and forge bonds with your chapter’s current members and leadership team.
Running an alumni event, while exciting, can be daunting for even the most seasoned fraternity and sorority leaders. Let’s explore how you can simplify the event planning, execution, and follow-up stages to engage your alumni members better than ever before.
Before we dive into our tips, it’s important to understand why connecting with alumni should always be a priority. Alumni engagement can improve:
Now that you know the potential benefits of alumni engagement, let’s review the top strategies to invigorate your events.
While sending a simple event email to your alumni is a standard event outreach strategy, it’s more likely to get lost in their inboxes. However, using these unique outreach media, you can add some pizzazz and visibility to your messages:
While these two ideas are a great place to start, you should try unique outreach strategies that align with your alumni community’s communication preferences. For instance, if you have a significant senior alumni population, you might adapt these digital materials to be accessible via direct mail so you can meet them where they are.
It goes without saying that your alumni are more likely to attend events that intrigue them or offer them value. Rather than playing a guessing game with your alumni, just ask them directly which types of events they’d like to attend via surveys or other feedback mechanisms. Some popular options include:
Once you know which events your alumni want to attend, aim to surpass their expectations with a truly unforgettable event experience. Consider leveling up your event by incorporating:
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when brainstorming ideas. As long as they’re within your budget and align with the event’s theme, try it out and see what your alumni think!
Even after the event ends, you still have work to do! Send feedback surveys to your attendees to gauge what could be improved and kept for future gatherings and (if applicable) thank donors or volunteers. Double the Donation recommends sending multiple messages to maximize authenticity and retention; first, send an automatic thank-you receipt, followed by a personalized thank-you card.
Also, track attendance data for each attendee and monitor how their engagement changes over time. If a significant amount of attendees engage more with your chapter after the event, plan more iterations of the idea. That said, as long as you plan with your alumni in mind, you can connect with brothers or sisters throughout the generations!