Alumni Management: Overview & Our Top 10 Software Picks
Finding effective ways to reach alumni is an important task for educational institutions. Alumni management allows colleges and universities to reach alumni and encourage donations to the institution.
It’s likely that your organization already tracks data on its alumni. But with the right software, you can collect and organize that information more effectively. Alumni management software helps administrators maintain alumni contact information, plan fundraising initiatives, process and track donations, and organize alumni events.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the basics of alumni management and alumni management software through the following points:
We’ll also discuss the benefits of working with a data append service like NPOInfo. Our team of experts can fill in the gaps of your alumni data to ensure that your fundraising initiatives are built on data you can trust. Let’s get started!
Overview of Alumni Management
What is alumni management?
Alumni management is the process that universities and colleges use to connect and engage with alumni. Building meaningful relationships with alumni can drive success for your higher education program. Although most alumni move away from campus to pursue careers, they’re still accessible and eager to engage with their previous educational institutions.
When managed properly, alumni can become:
- Brand ambassadors for your school.
- Recruiters for upcoming graduates.
- A significant source of revenue through donations and memberships.
- A source of expertise and mentorship for current students.
Schools used to rely solely on snail mail to reach past students, making it difficult to maintain engagement. However, keeping alumni involved is quick and easy in the digital age. With the right software, you can manage alumni in a single secure platform. You can:
- Keep an updated database. Collect data on your alumni to determine demographics, communication preferences, engagement level, event attendance, and more.
- Plan reunion events. Alumni respond positively to events that reflect school spirit. Leverage nostalgia to attract more attendees.
- Share campus news. Share university updates, alumni spotlights, and upcoming events through a blog or newsletter. This will keep alumni invested in your school’s progress.
- Provide networking opportunities. Include ways to find information about classmates or other alum to build a professional network.
- Start a mentorship program. An alumni mentor can provide career guidance and professional contacts to students. Keep in mind that younger alumni are more likely to mentor students due to a smaller age difference.
By continually creating value for alumni, you encourage them to donate and participate in school-wide events. We’ll dive into the more benefits of alumni management in the next section.
Why is alumni management important?
Higher education programs have a critical task: making an impression on alumni. Alumni management ensures that you never lose access to alumni and can continue to engage with them long after graduation. With strong alumni management, your organization can:
- Share alumni data. Publish up-to-date statistics on alumni, including the companies they work for and the positions they hold. This is a powerful way to improve credibility and recruit potential students.
- Build lifelong relationships. Loyalty is vital in this quickly changing, digitally connected world. With consistent targeted engagement tactics, you can convert one-time supporters into lifelong relationships.
- Drive event attendance. Alumni events are wonderful professional and personal development opportunities for former students. They can also offer real benefits to the organizing institution. From receptions and galas, to reunions and career networking events, there are a multitude of ways to bring alumni together and boost engagement.
- Increase funds. When alumni are encouraged to donate, that money goes towards supporting the next generation of students. Use crowdfunding and matching gift programs to kickstart alumni donations.
The main reason that universities prioritize alumni management is because they want to increase alumni giving. According to the top 10 US News, alumni giving rates for colleges range from about 44% to 55%. Since graduates are likely to give back, schools want to find:
- Alumni who make a significant amount of money and therefore can make large gifts.
- Alumni who work for companies that offer matching gift programs, so they can receive two donations for the effort of one.
If your college or university is looking to boost its revenue, consider using an alumni management system.
What is an alumni management system?
An alumni management system is a software solution that allows you to manage all alumni data and activities in a single space. Most software offer a wide range of features created specifically for schools, universities, alumni associations, and foundations.
Universities benefit from having all their information under one umbrella. Storing data across many systems can lead to information falling through the cracks. Management software, on the other hand, streamlines the process of gathering, storing, and updating data on alumni. It provides a comprehensive view of all alumni engagement efforts and gives new and improved insights into how to increase giving.
Alumni management software eliminates most of the administrative work involved in collecting and organizing data. Rather than spending hours importing alumni data into a spreadsheet, look for a software that allows you to automatically collect and customize information. We’ll take a look at the types of alumni data that you should collect in the next section.
What alumni data should you collect?
Schools should assess what data they want to collect and filter out unnecessary information that will clutter up their database. For example, the on-campus activities that a past student took while enrolled may not provide as much value as an alum’s current job. In general, alumni systems collect:
- Education: Areas of study will reveal the causes that your donors are most likely to support.
- Past Giving: Assess how recent a donor’s last gift was, how frequently they give, and how much they typically contribute. This information can help you predict the timing and amount of future donations you will receive.
- Contact Information: To create an alumni community, you must be able to reach former students. Use address, phone number, and email address appends to maintain updated contact information on your alumni.
- Communication Preferences: Understanding communication preferences allows you to effectively reach target audiences. Direct mail is the best way to reach donors of all ages, while younger supporters are more likely to respond to virtual outreach efforts.
- Current Employer and Industry: An individual’s business affiliations can give you an idea of their net worth and potential connections. Plus, if they work for a company with a matching gift program, you can reach out to begin the gift match process.
Although alumni management systems can collect a wide variety of data, sometimes that information isn’t enough. Data appends can fill in the gaps in your database by providing additional information on alumni. NPOInfo’s data appends for alumni have a high degree of accuracy and can reveal what your donor base is doing after graduation.
NPOInfo is one of many systems paving the way in alumni management. We’ll explore more examples in the next section.
Best Alumni Management Software
It’s important to take careful time and consideration when choosing a management platform that fits the needs of your institution. As you search for the right software for your school, consider our list of top alumni management platforms.
The following software and service providers can help you manage alumni data and maintain alumni relations. To qualify for inclusion in the list, a system must:
- Maintain alumni data.
- Facilitate fundraising efforts and donation processing.
- Provide a means for communication with alumni.
Let’s get started with our favorite alumni management software!
NPOInfo understands that the core of your donor base is alumni. Our team of professionals strives to collect the most accurate information about the lives of your students after graduation. Data appends for alumni often have the highest accuracy of all constituent groups. That’s because there are a few key data points that your organization is almost certainly able to provide upfront. And the more data points, the better matches we can guarantee!
NPOInfo offers email, phone number, address, and employer appends. Simply send us some preliminary information about your alumni, and we’ll provide the name of your alum’s employer and whether their company offers a matching gift program. Let NPOInfo empower your organization to claim the matching gift revenue your donors are missing out on!
Double the Donation
Double the Donation helps organizations generate the funding needed to focus on their core missions of education, community enrichment, scientific research, or charitable giving. Double the Donation provides the ability to add a search to your donation form to determine if a donor’s employer provides matching gifts.
This solution then provides the donor with actionable matching gift next steps immediately after the donation process. The details of the search, including any applicable gift information, is sent to Double the Donation’s 360MatchPro Platform which allows you to track match-eligible gifts and automate outreach.
Member365 is an all-in-one membership management system. On the Member365 app, you can oversee memberships, events, email marketing, payments, and more. You can also get access to all of your membership statistics through one centralized dashboard.
Easily manage all of your contacts in one database so that you have instant access to all of your relationships, including members, prospects, volunteers, and sponsors. Member365 saves you time and money, so your organization can focus on what matters most: membership engagement.
Graduway is a 4-in-1 virtual community to recruit and mentor students, engage alumni and volunteers, and cultivate donors. As the world’s leading education management and engagement software provider, Graduway serves over 2,000 clients in 80 countries. Their mission is to cultivate a network of supporters for your organization.
The foundation of this network is built on engaging students, parents, alumni, volunteers and donors before asking for anything in return. It features a customized platform to engage with alumni through an online directory, event management, and data analytics. Graduway also offers automatically curated newsletters and a business directory where alumni can connect with one another.
Vaave is a hosted platform to create an alumni portal and an exclusive alumni network for your school or college or company. Their system offers all the solutions that alumni managers need: data security, member database, email marketing, event management, donation processing, targeted communications, and alumni networking resources.
Vaave is a one-stop solution to launch your own interactive alumni portal to manage your alumni relations seamlessly while keeping your alumni engaged. Request a free demo and go live in as fast as 7 days.
WildApricot is the #1 rated management software used by over 300 alumni organizations across North America. Manage your organization in one place. WildApricot’s platform allows you to manage contacts, process donations, send emails, register event attendees, create a website, and more.
Their powerful cloud software makes it easy for you to stay engaged and connected with alumni. Cut out complicated paperwork by creating a web-based, mobile-friendly form where alumni can provide their information and donate online. You can try a free, 30-day trial of WildApricot and set up a professional-looking website with online event registration in a matter of minutes.
Hivebrite creates an exclusive space for your alumni to find, connect, and network with each other. Their mission is to unleash your alumni community. Boost your alumni data, foster a sense of belonging, and facilitate fundraising with Hivebrite.
This is a great platform for providing value to your alumni data. Get real-time analytics about your alumni to increase engagement and satisfaction with your alumni. When your alumni are satisfied, your sources of funding through membership renewals, fundraising campaigns, and donations will increase.
With Firsthand, you can turn your alumni network into a community. Trusted by leading institutions like Harvard and Cambridge, this career-engagement platform provides mentoring, enrollment, and career engagement programs in a single space. Firsthand strives to engage with more alumni and inspire them to give back.
Alumni on Firsthand are 40% more likely to volunteer or donate. This cloud-based alumni networking platform uses mentoring programs and virtual events to reach potential donors. Administrators can create online campus communities to enlist students as ambassadors or alumni as mentors and host group discussions, open houses, and one-on-one meetings on a centralized dashboard.
Almabase is one of the highest rated alumni management software options. Their team believes that alumni should be at the center of a school’s fundraising and marketing efforts. Almabase is an alumni-centric platform that strives to build lifelong relationships.
With Almabase, institutions can acquire new donors, drive event attendance, increase digital engagement and inspire new volunteers. They provide schools with the right technology and strategy to drive success.
Raklet is a powerful nonprofit management software that serves as an all-in-one solution for higher education fundraising. This digital platform can power your organization through its robust CRM, fundraising campaigns, email automation, and event management. With its simple and effective technology, your nonprofit can easily drive engagement and grow your impact.
Raklet is an all-in-one platform that provides everything your organization needs to manage and grow your mission. It provides alumni associations with customized membership plans and application forms as well as private social networks to reach alumni and organize events.
Keep these tools in mind when choosing a management platform to fit the needs of your organization and alumni.
Whether you manage your alumni in-house or outsource it to an alumni management system, like NPOInfo, your return on investment will be positive.
NPOInfo is a fully certified data append service here to fill in the gaps in your alumni data. Our team of experts offers free quotes and resources to help your organization plan a successful campaign strategy.
Our services include:
- Employer Appends: Using our proprietary screening and identification methods we append employer information, and oftentimes a job role, to individual records.
- Email Appends: Email is the most cost-efficient method to promote matching gifts to a large number of donors. In order to do so, we’ll find your alumni email addresses.
- Phone Number Appends: Our phone number append service provides you with both cellphone and landline numbers. Use this information for both your regular donation solicitations as well as matching gift reminders.
- Date of Birth Appends: Our Date of Birth (DoB) append service helps you add age information to your database. With average match rates of 40-70%, our date of birth appending can provide you with the month and year that individuals were born.
- Address Appends: Our screenings ensure your organization has up-to-date mailing addresses.
In the meantime, explore these additional resources to continue your research on data appends and alumni management:
- Your Ultimate Guide to Employer Appends for Nonprofits Find out how employer appends for nonprofits can help your organization maximize fundraising revenue by turning potential matching gifts into free money.
- The Nonprofit’s Ultimate Guide to Data Append Services Data append services can help your nonprofit update its donor database and reach its audience more efficiently. Read this guide for the ins and outs on data appending.
- 12 School & Higher Ed Fundraising Platforms That Grow Matching Gifts Raise more for your school when you work with the best higher ed fundraising platforms out there. Plus, keep an eye out for a solution that helps match gifts.