Driving Alumni Engagement with Text Messaging

4 minute read

Upland Admin

Alumni engagement is important for both schools and their graduates. Alumni appreciate the life-long community that is built during college, and schools rely upon graduates for their continuing donations and support. But big life changes like job changes and moving away make it hard for schools to keep in touch with their alumni.

Colleges need a communication tool that provides the flexibility and sustainability for a successful long-term relationship with their alumni. One solution stands out above the rest. Text messaging is the optimal way to stay engaged with graduates after they shed their commencement robes.

Go where your alumni go for long-term relationships

People change homes, email addresses, and jobs. The one thing that they don’t change is their cell phone number. When trying to stay connected to alumni, text messaging can be the vital link for a long-term relationship. It cuts through all the changes that life throws at you by being consistently available and right in your back pocket.

Indeed, many people see their phone as an extension of themselves. So when you send a text message to alumni, you are engaging them in a personal conversation that makes them feel appreciated as an individual — much more so than a mass email or generic voicemail message.

Increase loyalty through consistent engagement

The community that college students build in college is one that, hopefully, they will want to sustain for a lifetime.  Celebrating exciting news and milestones with their fellow classmates, being able to access a network for career advancement, and staying in the loop about school news are all things that alumni care about. Text messaging can help keep your alumni community active by providing a valuable two-way communication solution for virtually all aspects of engagement.

Are you organizing a reunion, for instance? Send out invitations through a text message and collect RSVP’s the same way. Not sure what type of entertainment you should hire? Send out a poll to get immediate feedback on what they want!

Use the same mobile list for sharing news with alumni, from new school programs to changes in leadership to upcoming galas. Our mobile platform even allows you to segment your alumni list so that people will receive news and updates relevant to their specific interests. And because text messaging is far more personal and immediate than email or social media, you’re guaranteed to see better results from your community-building efforts.

Connect immediately for long-term results

As Alumni Factor says, “Being fully developed intellectually, making deep friendships during one’s undergraduate years and staying in close touch with those friends are the largest correlating factors in alumni giving, according to our research.” By building a stronger community with mobile, you are creating more opportunities for alumni to give back to their alma mater. You can even use mobile to increase donations for your school funds.

To integrate mobile to your fundraising campaigns, simply send a text message to all your alumni reminding them to donate. The Humane Society found that people who received both email and text message reminders were 77% more likely to donate online. And instead of asking alumni to mail in checks or fill out paperwork while they’re busy, you can ask them to text in the amount they want to donate first. Once you’ve received their pledges, you can ask them to complete their donation online at their convenience or in person at your next event. The Jewish Federations of North America was able to raise thousands of dollars by asking members to pledge via text message in a time of crisis.

With more and more schools integrating mobile into their communications while their students are still enrolled, using text messaging to stay in touch with alumni is an easy next step for ongoing engagement. In order to learn more about how to enroll in a mobile strategy, please contact us today.

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