Improve Alumni Engagement Through Personalization Strategies In Higher Ed

Improve Alumni Engagement Through Personalization Strategies In Higher Ed

Emily Clark
Higher Education Industry Lead
Feb 12, 2024

Personalization has become a powerful way for universities and colleges to get their alumni involved. In this digital age, alumni expect a personalized experience from their alma mater, and higher education institutions must change to meet these needs. 

In this article, we will talk about how important it is for universities and colleges to get their alumni involved, how personalization can help with that, and how universities can use this information to make changes.

The Importance of Alumni Engagement in Higher Education

Alumni engagement is very important for building a strong alumni network. A strong and active alumni network can help the university in many ways, from giving money to improve facilities and programs to creating a wide range of job opportunities for current students, making the transition from school to the real world easier.

Improving Fundraising Efforts

According to a recent survey by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), there is a direct link between how engaged alumni are with their alma mater and how likely they are to make donations. The survey results show that 90% of alumni who are highly engaged with their alma mater are very likely to make donations, while only 22% of alumni who are not highly engaged are very likely to do so.

Enhancing the University’s Reputation

Getting alumni involved is a big part of not only improving the university's reputation but also its overall image. When alumni feel connected and involved with their alma mater, they are more likely to share positive stories, experiences, and feelings about their time there. As a result, enthusiastic testimonials from engaged alumni enhance the university's standing and appeal to potential students.

These glowing recommendations from respected alumni are a strong proof of the high quality of education and the life-changing effects that the university has on people's careers and lives. As a result, the university's reputation grows exponentially, attracting more prospective students who want to be a part of such a prestigious institution and donors who are moved by the positive effects the university has on people's lives.

Driving Alumni Engagement: The Role of Personalization in Higher Education

Meeting Alumni Expectations

Alumni from all over the world have higher expectations for their alma mater. They are not satisfied with just feeling like they are affiliated with it; they want a deep connection with their university that makes them feel like they belong and are loyal. To achieve this, they want personalized experiences.

Creating a Sense of Belonging

For alumni, personalization can also help them feel like they belong and build a strong connection with their alma mater. By carefully crafting communications and events around their unique interests, passions, and life experiences, the university and other alumni are more likely to make them feel connected. This personalized approach also strengthens the sense of community belonging, which in turn leads to

Building Lasting Relationships

Personalization is a highly valued strategy in higher education. It is a key part of how universities build lasting connections and strong relationships with their alumni community. By fully understanding the complex nature of their interests, preferences, and behaviors, schools can create personalized experiences that are perfectly fit for the needs and wants of their valued alumni.

How Universities Can Use Personalization to Supercharge Alumni Engagement

Segmenting Alumni

To better connect with their alumni, universities should first divide them into groups based on things like when they graduated, what they studied, and where they live now. By doing this, universities can create communication plans and events that are more relevant to each group's specific likes and dislikes.

Leveraging Alumni Data

In addition to using alumni data for different reasons, universities can also use it to make communications and events more relevant to each individual. By carefully keeping track of alumni engagement metrics, such as event attendance records and past donation history, universities can learn a lot about their alumni's interests and preferences. Universities can create and offer personalized experiences that have a deep resonance with their alumni by successfully harnessing this wealth of data. This builds stronger connections and deeper engagement.

Using Personalized Communication

Personalized communication is an absolutely pivotal factor in effectively engaging alumni, thereby fostering a stronger and more meaningful connection between universities and their former students. In order to achieve this, universities have the remarkable opportunity to harness the power of alumni data, enabling them to curate and send highly focused and tailored emails and newsletters, meticulously crafted to cater to the unique interests and diverse experiences of each individual alumnus. 

These personalized communications can encompass a wide array of valuable information, ranging from pertinent updates relevant to their respective major or specific career field, to compelling invitations to exciting events taking place in their very own area or locality.

Additionally, this kind of personalized contact can be very helpful for alumni by telling them about all the different ways they can get involved in activities and projects related to their alma mater.

higher education marketing strategies

Hosting Personalized Events

Universities can connect with their alumni and build a strong sense of community through personalized events. By carefully analyzing and using the large amount of alumni data that is available, universities can make events that are tailored to the needs and interests of different groups of alumni. This makes it easier for universities to put together events that resonate with their alumni, which increases the likelihood that they will act.

For example, a university might decide to hold an interesting networking event just for their esteemed alumni who work in a certain industry. This would give them a one-of-a-kind chance to connect and collaborate with like-minded people who have a similar professional background. Universities might also hold reunions just for alumni from a certain graduating class, which would bring back memories and make new friends.

Utilizing Technology

There are many tools and platforms made just for this purpose in technology, which can greatly improve and make it easier to personalize alumni engagement. One example is Graduway, which lets universities not only track and analyze metrics for alumni engagement but also effectively divide alumni into groups based on different criteria. This way, universities can then easily and efficiently send out personalized communications to these groups.

Almabase is another cutting-edge platform that universities can use to streamline their efforts to engage alumni. These platforms not only let universities track engagement metrics and send personalized messages, but they also provide an area where alumni can connect with each other and their alma mater. This central hub not only helps alumni feel like they are part of a group, but it also gives them useful tools and chances to get more involved with their university.

Real-World Examples of Personalization in Alumni Engagement

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan's "Victors for Michigan" campaign uses personalization to get its alumni involved. The campaign uses personalized events and communications to connect with alumni and encourage them to support the university. For example, the university sends personalized emails to alumni based on their interests and past donations, and it hosts personalized events like career workshops and networking receptions.

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley uses personalization to keep in touch with its corporate alumni. The school has a program called "corporate alumni engagement" that gives alumni who work at partner companies personalized resources and events. This program has helped the university build strong relationships with its corporate alumni and get them to support the school more.

Who Is Responsible for Personalization in Alumni Engagement?

Different university departments work together on personalization as part of alumni engagement. The alumni relations team is usually in charge of all alumni engagement activities, including personalization. Other departments, like marketing and development, also help with personalization by giving data and resources.

Measuring the Success of Personalization in Alumni Engagement

It is possible for universities to accurately measure the level of success achieved by personalized approaches in alumni engagement by keeping track of a number of metrics related to alumni involvement. These metrics include, but are not limited to, the number of people who attend events geared toward alumni, the amount of money that alumni have donated in the past, and how active they are on social media.


Personalization is an important way for universities to keep in touch with their alumni. It can boost alumni engagement efforts and increase support for the university by meeting alumni expectations, making them feel like they belong, and building lasting relationships. Universities can make a more meaningful and personalized experience for their students and alumni by using alumni data, personalized communication, and alumni events, as well as technology.

Contact Further to learn more about how you can elevate your alumni experience and use the power of personalization in driving alumni engagement. Or, learn more about our higher education solutions.

Emily Clark
Higher Education Industry Lead

With over 15 years of experience in data, analytics, and digital marketing, Emily helps universities reduce acquisition costs, increase enrollment rates, and graduate more students. She excels in leading teams to transform complex data into strategies that drive results. Away from work, Emily is often found outdoors, running, hiking, backpacking, or gardening.


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