There’s no group of people that wants to give back to their alma mater more than young alumni. They are looking for a way to help. They want to do something for the place that gave them so much. But too often, young alums are made to feel that the only way they can help is financially. They receive phone calls throughout the year asking if they want to give money, and that’s always the subtle (or not so subtle) message in the alumni magazine. However, they are looking for something more. They want to be given an opportunity to donate their time, because they feel that in giving their time, they can give back something much more valuable to their institution than money.
Recently, a friend of mine was given this very opportunity. He was contacted to represent his alma mater at a local college fair and, in doing so, would come in contact with potentially hundreds of high school students looking into options for higher education. So, at first glance, my friend thought about what a great chance to give back this was. However, the problem was that they were going to be sent to the fair alone… no training, no experience. The only thing they were given was a box of materials and a ‘good luck.’
Was this the kind of opportunity that all young alums should be given? Yes. Was this the way to go about it? I don’t believe so. If you are looking for ways to get your recent grads involved with your institution, go about it the right way.
- Contact them soon after graduation. Find out where they are living, what they are doing, and keep them informed about local events they can participate in. That way they feel like they are staying connected with you.
- When they do offer their time, make sure you give them the proper training and preparation, even if it’s just a 15 minute phone call. Information is powerful, and the more they are provided with, the more confident they will be about themselves and you.
- Don’t just call them when you need help. Keep in touch with alumni volunteers on a personal level. They are more apt to donate their valuable time if they know that you care more about them as an alumnus than a volunteer.
- Most importantly… say THANK YOU. Young alums want to know that they helped, and the best way to do so is by showing gratitude. Their time is just as important as yours, so tell them.
How are you tapping into one of your most valuable recruitment resources - your newest alumni?
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About the author: Tim Schuldt joined Scannell & Kurz as a Statistical Programmer/Analyst in July 2009 before transitioning to his current role as Enrollment Management Research Strategist in 2013. Before joining the team, he was an Equity Research Intern with Credit Suisse in London, a Client Representative at Canandaigua National Bank, and a Financial Services Representative with First Investors Corporation.
Tim graduated from St. Lawrence University in 2008 with a B.S. in Mathematics, a B.A. in Economics, and a minor in Statistics.