Engaging and retaining alumni has always been a top priority for universities. However, this has notoriously been a difficult task, and as alumni engagement rates continue to drop, universities must start to think outside the box.1
To make things more challenging, Institutions are starting to realize that attracting young alumni requires a different approach than older alumni.
With differences in desires, needs, and interests, institutions must come up with separate alumni engagement ideas for each group.2
Financial wellness programs are one of the best ways to increase young alumni engagement and encourage them to stay connected with their alma mater.
These programs provide a variety of resources and opportunities that can help alumni manage their finances and build financial security, while also fostering a sense of loyalty and philanthropy towards their alma mater.
There are so many reasons it’s important to target young alumni, and there are several key strategies on how to engage alumni, with financial wellness programs being the most important.
Why Young Alumni are Important
Universities and colleges need to understand that young alumni, who are just starting their careers, are a different audience than their older cohorts. Young alumni have other goals, and may not be able to respond to fundraising asks for the next few years.
These alumni are likely facing personal financial challenges such as paying off student loans or relocating to a new city for a job. These financial burdens may take priority over donating to or engaging with their alma mater.
However, this does not mean that young alumni are not valuable to the school's community.
They can be of great help to the institution by offering their valuable time, through volunteer work and internships. These opportunities can help young alumni to stay connected to the school, while also providing them with valuable skills and experience.
Providing young alumni with opportunities to network with other alumni can be a valuable resource for them as they start their careers. This can also help young alumni to stay connected to the school and its community.
These young alumni will eventually grow in their careers and become more successful, and will then be in a financial situation where they can respond to fundraising asks.
It’s important to keep these alumni engaged until this time comes, or else the fundraising response rate drops significantly.1
Benefits of Financial Wellness Programs for Young Alumni
One of the key ways that financial wellness programs can attract young alumni and increase their engagement is by improving their financial knowledge through valuable resources and services.
Financial wellness programs attract young alumni because they can offer a huge benefit to them. A good program can help young alumni manage their finances more effectively.
For example, by offering financial counseling, budgeting tools, and investment advice, universities and colleges can help young alumni understand and manage their financial situation.
Additionally, offering resources such as career counseling, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs can also be beneficial to young alumni as they navigate the early stages of their careers.3
By providing these resources, universities and colleges can help young alumni make more informed financial decisions and build a strong foundation for their future.
Another way that financial wellness programs can increase young alumni engagement is by fostering a sense of community and connection.
By providing opportunities for young alumni to connect with each other and with more experienced alumni, universities and colleges can help them feel more connected to their alma mater and more likely to stay involved in the institution's community.
In addition, financial wellness programs can also help to increase young alumni engagement by promoting a culture of philanthropy.
By providing young alumni with the resources and tools they need to manage their finances and build financial security, universities and colleges can help them feel more financially stable, more supported, and more connected to the community.
This can lead to increased engagement and philanthropy, as alumni are more likely to give back to their alma mater if they feel a strong connection to it.
Tips for Young Alumni Engagement Strategies
When it comes to developing effective young alumni engagement strategies, there are a few key things that universities and colleges should keep in mind:
- Be Relevant: To engage alumni, it is important to provide resources and opportunities that are relevant to their interests and needs. This means understanding what alumni are looking for and tailoring your programs and services to meet those needs.
- Segment Your Audience: Not all alumni are the same, so it is important to segment your audience and tailor your engagement strategies to different groups of alumni. This can include differentiating based on age, career stage, or interests.
- Give Them a Designated Place On Your Website: Make sure alumni have a dedicated place on your website where they can find information about programs, services, and opportunities specifically designed for them.
- Stay True to Your Brand: Even when you are reaching out to alumni, it is important to stay true to your brand and communicate your institution's values and mission.
- Be Nimble and Globalize: Today's alumni are more mobile and globally connected than ever before, so it is important to be nimble in your approach and to be able to engage alumni no matter where they are in the world.
- Focus on More Than Just Money: While financial wellness programs are an important tool for engaging alumni, it is also important to focus on other areas of engagement such as volunteering, mentoring, or networking.
Use Effective Tools to Reach Young Alumni
One of the most effective ways for organizations to reach young alumni is by utilizing the right tools. Financial literacy and wellness can be complex and overwhelming, and it can be difficult for organizations to navigate on their own.
This is where expert support comes in.
iGrad specializes in financial education and increasing financial wellness, and offers a range of award-winning financial literacy solutions.
The solutions are tailored to meet the specific needs of each organization. They can help to provide students with the tools and resources they need to make informed financial decisions and build financial security, which will help to reach and increase engagement with young alumni.
The tools are in your hands. Now let’s get them into the hands of the students.
1 - https://webfiles.blackbaud.com/files/resources/downloads/10128_Analytics_donorCentrics_Report_FINAL.pdf
2 - https://rdw.rowan.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3796&context=etd
3 - https://cssl.osu.edu/posts/documents/nsfws-key-findings-report.pdf