This week I write to you from Prague, with its second summer in full swing. I was invited to deliver a workshop for small alumni shops, and in Czechia this is usually a one, or possibly two-person alumni team. 

(and there is key learning for alumni and students too – keep reading!)

The top messages from the event include:

1 – Be The Conductor, Not The Orchestra 

For alumni relations professionals it’s easy to say yes to the next event, initiative or programme involving alumni. The word crosses the lips of a manager, faculty or administrator at your institution and instantly they think of you to take action. It’s time to forge internal relationships and relinquish control or alumni initiatives. Others can organize and you, as the alumni professional, can steer (coordinator, and yes be the conductor!) it in the right direction. 

2 – Consider alumni touchpoints across the student lifecycle carefully

In what ways can you have the maximum impact informing current (and even new students) on the alumni community? Here’s an interview I did with Roostervane outlining ways students can begin to build their alumni network early – educate them to take action!

3 – Be consistent in your alumni communications and in your events

Give your alumni time to see the events as traditions and to anticipate it coming up every month or every year. VŠE – Prague University of Economics and Business (our host for the conference this week) offer a terrific Alumni Wednesday event monthly – and have for 8 years – it’s a simple alumni speaker event that yields excellent alumni engagement. As Dr Jay Dillon stated in his recent podcast guest spot: consistency in social media posts is more important than creativity: be where your alumni are and that contributes to increasing alumni identity (and eventually engagement) – take a listen to the AASP podcast episode – I did walking around Prague – it’s gold! (and sign-up for Jay’s highly informative Alumni Identity newsletter here

4 – Invite your students to be a part of the alumni action

VŠE invites students to the Alumni Wednesdays – that simple. They plan to have a brief to allow students to feel best prepared (and not intimidated) by attending this event.

5 – Piggyback on existing events – invite alumni to join in!

From student organizations to faculty seminars, executive education programmes to career fairs – how can alumni be invited or involved in these events? 

6 – Consider touchpoints across the alumni lifecycle too

Alumni are at different stages in their career and in their lives. They are not the same graduate from five, ten or fifty years earlier. Identify programming that draws on expertise you have at your institution AND speaks to alumni where they are in their lives now (whether they are raising kids, thinking of a mid-career pivot or saving for retirement). 

This is only the tip of the iceberg on the learning from the workshop. One thing that echoed clearly: you can’t do it all. When you add something to your alumni relations portfolio, it’s time to take something away. 

If you sign up to the Alumni Friday newsletter, content like this will appear in your inbox each week, along with a challenge or two for your Friday. 

Fancy a challenge this week?

For alumni-facing professionals: Which of these action points speaks to you? Prioritize one and take action!

For students and alumni: How can you best be the conductor in your life and orchestrate experiences to explore careers or life choices with alumni? I have a new blog post coming out next week just for you – watch this space!

Are you interested in an energizing workshop for your alumni team? Book a discovery meeting with me and we can discuss online and in-person opportunities available for 2024!

Stay motivated in your alumni engagement endeavours – it’s important work!