Using Online Forms to Engage with New Alumni

Written by Abby Nieten on May 12, 2014

Posted in Education

Cue the Pomp and Circumstance, it’s graduation season! That means it’s also get-your-new-alumni-engaged season. Your graduating seniors are probably feeling nostalgic as they prepare to move on, which means you can jump on the opportunity to encourage them to become active alumni.

New Graduates are Willing to Connect
Unsurprisingly, young alumni have a strong preference to connect with their alma maters online. Social media tops the list, but a whopping 65% of young alumni prefer to connect via email newsletters. The time to connect with future alumni is before they get too far away. Remember, you need to make it easy for them to opt in. Build email campaigns that attract this year’s graduates—perhaps an online change-of-address form in which they can submit their new contact info. Since Formstack integrates into email marketing platforms, when users update their information in a form, the update is automatically made in your email database, too. Support the initiative on social media to increase sharing, and link directly to your Formstack form.

Create Meaningful Donor Engagement
Young alumni are resistant to traditional direct mail and phone solicitations. Many of them see their student loan payments as de facto “donations” to their university. According to the Millennial Impact Report, young adults want to know how their donations make a difference. In fact, 54% of respondents said they would respond to the message, “Your support will make an impact; here’s how…” Transparent, social messages will help new alumni see that their donations truly matter. Be sensitive to their financial position by creating lower thresholds for giving. Help them to see that they have an opportunity to give back to their university even as they are establishing their career.

Make it Less Scary Out There
New graduates have been hearing about how terrible the job market is for years. Providing networking opportunities is a true value-add for young alumni. Social engagements also help alumni feel connected to the community. Formstack can help you plan the details of any kind of event, from registration to ticket sales to follow-up surveys. And don’t forget that Formstack is completely mobile-optimized, so alumni can register for events right from their smartphone or tablet. Build a community that will benefit new grads and connect them with established alumni.

Take the Temperature
Times are a-changing, and you might feel like you don’t even know what young alumni need. Some alumni are going to be gung-ho, no matter what. Others are going to tune you out, no matter what. 70-80% of your alumni are somewhere in between. These are the alumni that need an extra push to feel connected and engaged with your university. With Formstack, you can build an effective online survey to get a better sense of what your new alumni need and want from you. For example, create a six-month check-in survey to gauge employment status and target those who are un- or under-employed with networking opportunities and career help.

Using Formstack to attract new graduates is easy and effective. If you’re not already a Formstack customer, you’re missing out on a valuable alumni engagement opportunity. Sign up for our free 14-day trial to see how you can engage your newest generation of grads!