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Adapting your alumni engagement strategy in uncertain times

Top tips on communicating in uncertain times; John Martin, Head of Training & Customer Relations, ToucanTech

As Head of Training & Customer Relations at ToucanTech, I have supported AROPS to set up this new community website, which we hope you can all benefit from in the coming months as a place to network online. In my role, I have encountered a wide variety of tactics and ideas from across different alumni associations and membership groups around the world. What with one thing and another, it's not business as usual for alumni organisations right now. Events have been rescheduled, newsletters re-written and conferences moved. With this in mind, I hosted a virtual workshop with ToucanTech customers last week to discuss how they have been adapting their communications strategy. In this blog post, I will be sharing 10 top suggestions from that workshop to inspire your alumni relations to work in these unusual times.

1. Asking if anyone needs support at this time from their alumni office while they're self-isolating. A key part of this strategy is adapting the subject line of your emails - for example 'How can the [alumni society] help you?' or 'We're all in this together' 

2. Requesting for volunteers who can phone vulnerable individuals for a nice chat. 

3. Encouraging all alumni to sign up their network (especially those who have yet to join), so that they can chat and network with their school friends online. 

4. Publishing more content targeted to older alumni who are alone at this time. This includes asking for snippets of favourite schools memories and publishing interviews with long-serving and well-loved staff members. 

5. Softening mentions of fundraising in communications, and instead, placing a great focus on wellbeing. One site has created a lovely series of articles about 'The joy of staying in' 

6. Increasing the number of newsletter emails sent from once a month to once a week. This is to ensure your community knows that you are there as a support network for them and, although your office is closed, your communication channels remain open. 

7. Setting up a new Forum page on the alumni website, to allow members to chat, post questions and share photos with each other. 

8. Starting a mentoring program on the alumni site, so graduates can reach out to their peers for career guidance, online interview practice (now is a perfect time for that) and internship opportunities. 

9. Encouraging users to post their job and volunteering opportunities on the site. Your alumni site is the ideal space to offer free promotion for businesses facing difficult times right now. 

10. Sending out a survey to alumni to update contact details, careers data and gather volunteers for new volunteering schemes.

How have you been adapting your strategy? Join the discussion on the AROPS Forum page now

 ToucanTech
 

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