The JISC funded Increasing Engagement and Value Using Integrated Web-Networking Technologies project at the University of Surrey has been putting together an online platform for delivering events to alumni.
The project has used a combination of web, social media and integrated web-based technologies to help implement a cost-effective programme of events that would try and meet the following challenges:
- the creation of mutually beneficial relationships between alumni and the University
- improvement of the limited online opportunities for alumni with the institution
- re-engaging with 25,000 alumni “missing” from the alumni database.
The project developed a bespoke registration and booking platform for alumni events, set up an online version of the biannual alumni magazine, established social media channels (Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter) for communicating with alumni, and created a library of online events available for download. Benefits include:
- supporting the recruitment of prospective students, if they are aware that there is an established professional international network of alumni
- reduction of print costs associated with the hard copy alumni magazine, which can then be used for other aspects of alumni engagement
- doubling of the number of Linked-In alumni group members since January 2011 by consolidating a number of disparate alumni groups into one official Surry Alumni Group with separate sub-groups.
When taking a technological approach to alumni engagement, the following should be considered:
- do a full audit on any technologies that will be implemented to ensure that they don’t undermine the institution’s reputation; for example, Tinychat was used to deliver the first event, but it it soon became clear that it did not have a professional look-and-feel, nor was it compatible with a number of browsers or mobile devices
- consider the timing and delivering of live events, particularly if a large number of international alumni (around a third of Surrey’s alumni are from outside the UK) to ensure that everyone is included
- consider the sustainability of any web platform, e.g. is a five year shelf-life long enough?
If you would like to find out more about this project, the following resources may help: