Everything You Need to Know About Alumni Engagement Metrics
Organizations around the world focus on building alumni networks, but many fail to create meaningful engagement with their alumni.
If you aren’t committed to regularly engaging alumni and adding value, then your alumni network won’t achieve desirable results for your organization.
This is why understanding and measuring the right alumni engagement metrics is so important.
Alumni engagement metrics will help you improve communication and attain more meaningful results from your alumni network.
Here’s everything you need to know about alumni engagement metrics, and how to measure alumni engagement for a better outcome.
Understanding Alumni Engagement Metrics
Alumni engagement metrics are used to figure out how engaged past students are. This is necessary for building strong alumni relationships and getting alumni involved in the right activities that add value to both the alumni and the organisation alike.
Tracking alumni engagement helps organizations understand just how effective their alumni program is.
You can then set tangible alumni engagement goals.
Measuring the success of alumni programs through engagement can be achieved by looking at:
- Donations received
- The size of the outreach list
- How many alumni attend events
- Number of social media followers
While metrics like this are important, they don’t necessarily reflect an accurate depiction of alumni engagement.
Looking at things like the number of responses you get from alumni, and the type of responses provides a more accurate measurement.
It also refers to the level of connection and influence they have. Forming alumni relationships that are more positively engaged can be nurtured for a more mutually beneficial outcome.
Why Alumni Engagement Metrics Are Important
The way an organization engages with its alumni directly influences the success of that alumni program. By serving alumni members better, organisations can achieve greater results from the alumni program.
This could include larger attendance at events, building a more prominent alumni community, spreading more positive brand awareness, and more.
Alumni engagement metrics are necessary for understanding exactly which areas of communication organisations can improve to create a stronger alumni network.
It is important to understand how individuals feel about the alumni program, what types of engagement they are missing, and how they can improve engagement to help achieve their goals.
By measuring alumni engagement and tracking the right metrics, organizations will be in a better position to achieve their alumni goals.
What Alumni Engagement Metrics Should You Be Tracking?
To understand which alumni engagement metrics are important, you’ll need to think about your alumni base as an index for participation.
You should aim to achieve more participation in each area that your alumni strategy focuses on. This could include an increase in things like:
- Social media participation
- Attendance at events
- Participation in the digital alumni community
- Volunteer opportunities
Each of these areas can be used to form quantitative goals around alumni engagement. The alumni engagement metrics you follow should be used to measure the success of these goals.
Let’s break down five alumni engagement metrics that you should track.
1. Social Media Engagement
Having a huge social media following is always positive, but this isn’t the best alumni engagement metric to follow. Instead, organisations should monitor the type of engagement they get on social media, and not just the number of followers they have.
Some more accurate alumni engagement metrics to follow on social media should include:
- How much website traffic is coming from your social media platforms
- Engagement rates on each social media post (likes, comments, shares, reach, etc)
- The amount of negative engagement you receive from social media campaigns
- How much user-generated content do you get
- The number of email or SMS opt-ins achieved
2. Communication Responses
Alumni communication and engagement should never be a one-way flow.
Instead of looking at how many people your communications reach, it’s more important to measure the kind of responses you get from your communication efforts.
This should include things like:
- Open rates and click-through rates of email communications
- Email response rates
- How many new subscribers do you get
- How many replies do you get to alumni engagement surveys
- Alumni actions from SMS communications
3. Event Attendance
Events are an important part of most alumni programs.
While it’s important to have well-attended events, a common mistake is to measure the number of attendees alone.
More meaningful alumni engagement metrics around events include things like:
- The number of RSVPs you get and the type of responses these are
- How many first-time attendees do your events attract
- The amount of returning attendees
- How many alumni contributed to the event through donations, bringing guests, or taking other actions encouraged by the event
4. Donation Metrics
Why alumni donate and how they give to your organisation says a lot about the types of relationships your alumni have.
Avoid measuring domination success through a single metric, as this doesn’t give you a full picture of how successful and engaged your alumni actually are.
For example, you could receive one large donation from a single person or many smaller consistent donations from multiple people. The second option shows more engagement, even though the size of contributions could be the same.
Here are some important donation metrics to follow:
- The number of donations you receive, and the average size of these donations
- How many first-time donors do you attract
- How many repeat donors you have
- How many lifetime donors do you have
- What reasons and motivations inspired alumni to give
- The preferred methods of giving that most alumni choose
5. Volunteering Metrics
An important area of alumni engagement comes down to how many of your alumni are willing to volunteer their time for your organization. This could include hosting events, raising funds, strategically networking, and more.
Instead of only looking at the number of volunteers you attract, here are some important volunteering metrics to follow:
- The interest rates of your volunteer requests (this can be measured by click-through rates of volunteer request communications)
- How many positive responses you receive compared to how many actual volunteers participate
- The number of responses you obtain – both positive and negative
Setting Goals for Alumni Engagement
Knowing how to track alumni engagement is necessary for setting goals around your alumni networks.
Ultimately, the goal should be to create a bigger and stronger alumni network.
Once you have your alumni data from the metrics you monitored, use this data to set and define your goals.
Set measurable, actionable goals that you can track. These goals should be specific, and relate directly to your alumni engagement data.
For example, a goal could be to increase your email open rates to 60%. This can be measured and monitored through your alumni engagement metrics.
At the end of the day, following the right alumni engagement metrics is only important if you’re able to apply them to improve your alumni network. This should be a continual process of monitoring metrics, shaping goals, and improving your alumni engagement performance.
Creating a framework for how you measure engagement is important for achieving better results from your alumni network.
This will help you set more meaningful alumni engagement goals, and optimize engagement strategies for a stronger outcome.
Knowing what alumni engagement metrics to follow will help you improve communication and build a stronger, more engaged network.
Ultimately, this will result in a more beneficial outcome from your alumni program.