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Enhancing Relations with Alumni

Challenge:  Its alumni are a major strength for any university and provide support to their Alma Mater in a wide variety of forms.  It is therefore important to ensure that a university’s relations with its alumni are as strong as possible. Our client believed that a number of factors, pertaining to both the university experience for some alumni cohorts and to recent events at the university, had weakened the relationship of the university with its alumni and sought to initially identify the challenges and then to find ways to enhance the relationship.

Solution: The research was designed to better understand the existing relationship the university had with its alumni. This was achieved though a series of 12 focus groups in six cities that the University has a significant alumni presence.   These groups probed alumni sentiment toward the university and the types of programs that would be of value.  This was followed by a 20-minute telephone survey that gauged alumni awareness of and interest in existing programs as well as interest and perceived value of potential new programs.  This research was repeated 4 years later in order to ascertain changes in the relationship the university had with alumni and test additional program options.

Results:  The research enabled the university to redesign the programs it directed at alumni and to enhance its communications with alumni.  This has led to significant take-up of new programs and increased engagement on the part of alumni.