Three Steps for Engaging Alumni Through Volunteering
Alumni engagement is often the biggest challenge for program managers. One great way to get people involved is to link up with a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility or Social Impact team to provide opportunities for alumni to give back.
In today's global economy, people pick and choose businesses to support based partly on the company's beliefs, principles, and how they utilize their brand to influence and respond to various social issues. Whether it's purchasing goods and services or referring new business, a company's perceived social consciousness is powerful and directly impacts profitability. Getting involved in your community by partnering with a local nonprofit organization is an excellent way to echo your company's values and improve your corporate social responsibility while simultaneously engaging your alumni network. Follow these three steps to get started.
Step 1: Define Your Focus
Begin by doing a little internal research to see if your company has previously participated in any volunteering capacity. If they have, great – you can consider getting involved in that same way. If they haven't, it’s up to you to decide what kind of organization you’d like to support.
Create two lists: one that outlines your company values and one that identifies local organizations you can partner with. Then, cross-reference the two lists to determine which organizations align with your company's mission. Once you've narrowed down your selection, the easy part is reaching out to each of the organizations to coordinate. Often, non-profit organizations are always looking for volunteers, so you will likely be embraced with open arms!
Step 2: Get Alumni Engaged
Alumni are more likely to get involved with volunteering if it’s a cause they support, so consider polling a select group of them to gauge their philanthropic interests. Plus, some may already have relationships with local organizations that align with your company's guiding principles, which can make establishing that initial connection much easier. At the end of the day, any positive impact within your alumni's community, especially one they were involved with, will be exciting.
Step 3: Get Buy-In from Executives
Receiving budget approval for events dedicated to alumni engagement can be challenging. The benefit of planning events centered around volunteering is that’s often a cost-effective alternative to wooing alumni with expensive experiences and gifts. Additionally, if your company already has an established volunteering initiative, alumni can be invited to work alongside employees, eliminating some of the time and money spent on planning a new event.
Don’t Have a Social Impact Program Yet? Don’t Worry!
While planning a volunteer-based event may seem overwhelming, the first event is always the hardest. Going forward, you can build upon your newly formed connections with local organizations and your alumni will look forward to the next opportunity to give back. With that in mind, you can easily replicate these efforts on a quarterly or yearly basis. The feeling of accomplishment and enjoyment this involvement will give your alumni is ultimately priceless.
Bonus idea: Have a handful of rockstar alumni that volunteer regularly in their community? Feature their hard work in an article! Conduct a brief interview with them regarding their experience and how they got started – it might even inspire other alumni to get involved, too!
- This post was written by Brenna Johnston, PeoplePath Customer Success Manager