The title of the article next to an image of a healthcare professional.

While your healthcare-focused educational institution drives medical advancements by training healthcare professionals, engagement after graduation is crucial to continue advancing your institution’s mission. These mutually beneficial relationships between schools and their alumni support medical development in several ways.

For educational institutions, alumni engagement provides fundraising revenue and the enhancement of their reputation through brand ambassadorship. Conversely, alumni access networking opportunities that may lead to new jobs or professional collaboration.

To tap into these benefits for both your graduates and your school, develop a plan to engage your alumni network. Let’s explore the top strategies your approach should include for effective engagement.

Take your community online

After graduation, you want alumni to disperse and impact the world. However, this means that once they’ve graduated, many likely won’t be available to revisit campus.

Develop an online alumni network to keep in touch with your faraway graduates. This might include offering:

  • A comprehensive resource section: Cover recent healthcare discoveries, dialogues, or topics relevant to your audience. For example, share updates surrounding EHR integration developments and best practices.
  • Themed discussion groups: Gather those with similar specialties, career stages, or geographic regions in online discussion groups. Post industry-specific topics, such as emerging trends or innovative practices shaping the future of healthcare.
  • Informal virtual meetings: Organize virtual coffee hours and other casual meetings to facilitate organic networking opportunities. This allows alumni to highlight success stories, share their industry experiences, and connect with one another on a more personal level.

Cultivating this online community helps your institution grow and strengthen its alumni network. This way, you’ll know how to reach them when sending out communications from your institution.

Establish a regular communication cadence

Beyond connecting with each other, alumni should also feel connected to your institution. Regular communication fosters a sense of belonging and community since it helps alumni feel connected to the institution after graduation. It also keeps alumni in the loop about institutional events and news, helping them stay engaged in your activities.

Establish a regular cadence and follow communication best practices to ensure you reach alumni with organized, timely, and relevant messages. Here are a few strategies you can use to guide your communication plan:

  • Develop a content calendar: Create a weekly or monthly schedule for your alumni communications. Plan the topics you’ll cover in each update planned. For example, you might share a monthly newsletter with general information or spotlight different alumni’s achievements each week.
  • Use automated marketing platforms: To stay on schedule, use automation software that sends emails and other communications automatically. These platforms should make it easier to choose when you’ll send your messages while offering the flexibility to create unique and meaningful messages for your audience.
  • Encourage user-generated content: Allow alumni to share their expertise, achievements, experience, and other personal insights in your regular communications. Putting their stories at the center of your communications greatly increases alumni engagement because it helps them feel like a valued member of your community.

For a more personalized approach to alumni outreach, segment your recipient list based on shared characteristics. This way, you can send relevant messages to smaller groups of individuals.

If your database lacks the details needed to segment your list of alumni, conduct a data append to fill in any missing information. According to AlumniFinder, data appends provide you with more additional information about your contacts so that you’re better equipped to segment recipients and reach your target audience.

Provide mentoring opportunities

To further lean on the expertise and insight alumni can offer your network, create a formal mentoring program with structured guidelines and goals. This program can engage your alumni network and your current student base.

Recruit alumni mentors through targeted outreach campaigns and alumni network referrals. Also, include a page dedicated to the program on your website so that alumni and students can find information about the program, even if they didn’t receive a personalized invite. Then, work with them to establish the following opportunities:

  • Regular check-ins: Maintain accountability between mentors and mentees by determining a procedure for regular check-ins, where they’ll discuss goals, challenges, and achievements. For example, you might create a template with discussion prompts and questions to guide check-in conversations.
  • Training sessions or workshops: Allow alumni mentors to host training sessions or workshops that cover industry-specific skill sets. For instance, you may offer a training course on analytics tools for providers interested in furthering their technical skills.
  • Achievement recognition: Bring mentors together regularly to discuss their mentees’ recent milestones. Then, develop a system for celebrating mentees’ accomplishments through newsletters or appreciation events.

As a result, alumni will feel a sense of pride in giving back to your institution. You may also implement an alumni referral program to incentivize current alumni to recruit new members and expand the network.

Offer professional development opportunities

For educational institutions, student engagement can be easier than stewarding alumni since current students are active and invested in the institution. Alumni, on the other hand, move on to other responsibilities and priorities after receiving their diplomas. To keep them engaged, your institution must support them in their roles outside of your campus.

Offering professional development opportunities is a surefire way to show alumni that you want to see them succeed. It also aligns with your institution’s cause by contributing to the advancement of medical knowledge. Some of the opportunities you might offer could include:

  • Continuing education courses
  • Certification programs
  • Technology training sessions
  • Webinars
  • Industry conferences
  • Leadership seminars

Detailed data about your alumni will help your institution offer learning resources that most resonate with them. For example, you could offer a training session on cardiac monitoring equipment and diagnostic results to an alumnus specializing in cardiology. With access to relevant learning opportunities, alumni can continue expanding their skill sets as they grow their careers.

Explore partnerships and collaborations

Alumni may look for specialized resources and expertise that can only be found in specific healthcare organizations or research institutions. Partner with relevant organizations to expand your offerings and grant your alumni network access to resources like research databases and medical libraries.

For example, consider partnering with:

  • Hospitals or healthcare systems: This partnership might provide opportunities to collaborate on research projects or clinical training.
  • Technology vendors: Partner with technology vendors to provide alumni with the tools needed to identify emerging trends and patterns. For example, Arcadia notes that healthcare data platforms can be used to easily access an overview of social determinants of health (SDOH) data from diverse data sources.
  • Nonprofit healthcare organizations: Partner with nonprofits to support community health initiatives and highlight volunteer opportunities to interested alumni.
  • Pharmaceutical companies: Offer career development and networking opportunities by collaborating with pharmaceutical companies.

Additionally, collaborating with external organizations supports your institution’s community outreach efforts. Alumni can contribute their skills and expertise to support public health initiatives, and your institution can support the work of organizations with shared missions.

Engaging healthcare alumni networks requires an organized approach and alumni-centric strategies. Be sure to offer opportunities and resources that most resonate with your alumni to keep them involved in your institution’s community. Over time, you can also gather feedback through alumni surveys and focus groups to learn how you can adjust your strategies to meet their preferences.

AlumniFinder Team