As former participants of your programs, your alumni represent a unique donor demographic. They understand best the effectiveness of your outreach, and they are living examples of your work. If you cultivate this donor group effectively and remind them of the lessons learned and opportunities granted to them, they can become a consistent funding source.
If you are ready to develop a comprehensive donor engagement strategy, here are five steps to involve your alumni in your fundraising efforts:
- Invite your alumni to share personal or professional updates via your e-newsletter and social media.
Community is all about connection. By sharing updates regarding their personal or professional lives, your alumni continue to feel tied to your organization. Within your e-newsletter campaigns, include a section for an alumni spotlight. This blurb can serve as a Q&A between your organization and the alumnus. Make sure to include a question about how this individual continues to serve your organization.
Social media is another platform to share alumni updates. Create a hashtag that these individuals can include with their posts. If you include their hometown within the hashtag, this can encourage meet-ups with alumni across the country.
- Create fundraising circles.
Giving is more fun in groups and creates a greater impact. Fundraising circles are similar to affinity groups in which groups of women, young professionals, or individuals of color rally around one particular cause.
Alumni fundraising circles can consist of individuals from the same graduating class, city, state, or track. Appoint or elect one individual as the leader of each fundraising circle. This individual can facilitate meetups or online communications, so each group feels capable of meeting their fundraising goal.
- Rent your conference centers.
Your organization may have an incredible conference space that is a perfect location for corporate retreats or conferences. Advertise the use of the space to your alumni for a discounted rate. The teams that leverage your space will learn about your cause and mission. They will feel compelled to contribute to your work through volunteer time or financial contributions.
- Host events for your alumni.
There’s something to be said for an event which facilitates conversations about current social impact challenges and inspires your constituents to facilitate change. Your alumni are prime candidates for an event which allows them to share how your organization impacted them and how they currently involve themselves with your work. Alumni reunion events can also serve as the space to share information about your most recent programs. Ultimately, these events will generate a significant amount of fundraising dollars through connection and camaraderie.
- Engage your alumni in advocacy efforts.
Your alumni are uniquely positioned to advocate for your cause on a larger platform. These individuals serve as messengers of your good work. Leveraging their professional and personal networks, they can advocate for increased funding and attention for your cause. All you need to do is provide them with the information and support they need.
If properly engaged, your alumni serve as a prime group for funding. Create a space for them to share positively about their time as a beneficiary of your services, and they will feel compelled to contribute to benefit our future youth.