Alumni Associations are extremely important economic engines for colleges and universities. For schools that are looking for new ways to improve their alumni engagement through direct mail, here are five things that you should consider.
1. Propel Recent Graduates Forward in their Careers
Did you know an individual’s salary at retirement is dictated by their first 10 years in the workforce? “The typical earner can expect to see his or her wages grow the most between the ages of 25 and 35, by an average of 38%. Between 35 and 55, workers shouldn’t expect much of a bump. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the median wage earner doesn’t see earnings growth at all during those years (Forbes).
For that reason, recent graduates are most likely to reach out to their alma mater for assistance. So what can you do to start the relationship early and to ensure that you remain top-of-mind?
- Send new graduates a career starter pack as a graduation gift. It can include resources like a resume template, 10 interview questions you should ace, alumni networking opportunities, and online professional development seminars.
- Connect with regional alumni chapters and see if they would like to partner on a quarterly postcard. This will increase awareness of upcoming events and provide a physical reminder for those in the area to attend.
Your investment in their success during this period could create a high-profile donor 15 years down the road when they can make a sizeable contribution to your association.
2.Connect With Your Content
Send your alumni something they won’t want to throw away by tapping into the nostalgia of their college years. It could be a framed photo of an iconic building on campus. Aside from traditional letters, infographics, and posters, photos are a great way to tell a story and educate alumni about current events. Every year, your university could mail a “photo of the year” which showcases a new student activity on campus, a new building, or a historical event that impacted the development of your school. A photograph serves as a memento they can place on their desk and is a constant reminder of their alma mater.
Blank postcards are cheap, effective, easy to share, and can be a great way for alumni to re-connect with their school. Like the concept above, the photo brings back a fond memory while the other side provides a place for your alum to share the latest news with a friend. When you’re selecting a photo, consider the year that the alumnus graduated to showcase relevance. Did the student experience any major events during their time on campus like a National Football Championship? If so, I’m sure your alumni wouldn’t mind re-living those glory days.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your alum’s success. A personal card for a birthday, a promotion, or holiday celebration goes a long way. You can use social media platforms like LinkedIn to monitor the successes of your former students and send them a personal card, celebrating their accomplishments. In today’s digital age, it’s simply hard to compete with a printed photo, handwritten postcard, or congratulatory card. It demonstrates your university’s thoughtfulness and compassion. It is well worth the investment.
3.Build Rapport Before Asking For More
While it is vital for your university to continue to ask for charitable contributions, it is equally as important to remember that alumni shouldn’t feel obligated to donate. Develop your relationship before asking for donations. Provide each alum with something of value – something that is unique to them. It could be a football schedule they can hang on the fridge if they’ve donated to the boosters in the past, or a list of upcoming concerts if they were involved in the music program on campus. When you develop a personal connection with alumni, they are more willing to give and not take offense to donation requests.
4. Be Transparent About Your Donations
We understand you can’t send out a full report of annual spending to every alumnus/a who attended your college but mailing a snapshot of how donations are allocated creates transparency and trust among your alumni. By sending an annual infographic that shows the key highlights in donations, your alumni will come to appreciate the yearly notice, demonstrating the progress of your alumni association. Providing the individual exactly where funding is needed and where each dollar is being spent, increases the likelihood of retaining your donor.
5. Make Your Direct Mail Stand Out
According to Canon Solutions America, adding a person’s name, full color, and more sophisticated personal information can increase the response rate of your direct mail piece by up to 500%. Essentially, when it comes to direct mail, personalization pays off. Historically, however, personalization was expensive, until now. With the release of MOSAIC’s Digital Touch Series our unique technology allows you to create a visually impressive, one-of-a-kind print piece by combining several effects in one. From metalized foils to holographic finishes, the MOSAIC Digital Touch Series provide a range of foils and finishes to choose from. At MOSAIC, we believe that the cost of direct mail shouldn’t deter you from engaging with your alumni. Because it mimics the look and feel of traditional foiling and laminating effects without the high price tag, the MOSAIC Digital Touch Series is the perfect print solution for creating beautiful variable data pieces on a budget. Take advantage of this technology by personalizing alumni’s names with gold or silver foil, or add a matte finish to a photo of campus. Utilizing this technology elevates your direct mail to a show-stopping piece your alums will want to showcase and act upon.
Connect with our experts for a free consultation for your next alumni engagement project.