Two men shaking hands; the title is 3 top tactics to engage your sorority or fraternity's alumni

One of the most popular reasons for joining a sorority or fraternity is the lifelong bonds you make with your brothers or sisters. So, whether you’re a fundraiser, event planner, or simply a current member of your chapter, you likely recognize that alumni are a valuable source of support. 

While your alumni may have a strong connection to your chapter, they’re likely very busy and might not be aware of your chapter’s offerings. That’s why it’s up to you to engage them by spreading the word about your events and initiatives. These tips will help your communications stand out and ignite your alumni’s passion for your sorority or fraternity. Let’s get started!

Top Promotion Tactic: Segment Your Communications

The most important step in engaging alumni is to craft personalized messages that resonate with them. You can customize your messages efficiently by making variations for different segments of your alumni. Consider segmenting your alumni by the following criteria:

  • Profession. This criterion is perfect for finding a specific type of guest speaker or attendee for a networking event. Research what your alumni are currently doing in their careers online and reach out to the best fit for your event. 
  • History of chapter involvement. Target alumni who have previously participated in a similar activity with your chapter, as they’d be more likely to participate again. For instance, you’re more likely to get a volunteer recruitment coordinator who was interested in recruitment when they were in college or has participated as one in the past. 
  • Graduating class. If you’re organizing a reunion event or a meet-and-greet for different graduation classes, consider creating invites tailored to the recipient’s graduation year so they align with a milestone reunion. Make the invites even more personalized by including a photo of the whole class together to evoke fond memories from your alumni.
  • Geographic location. After graduation, some of your alumni may have moved away from campus to start their adult lives. But with the help of technology, they can still stay connected with your chapter. For instance, you could invite alumni who live far away to attend your events virtually rather than in person.
  • Interests. Your alumni likely share some similar interests, as they spent a lot of time together in college. Your chapter might even have hobby groups within it, such as a dance club. Tailor your events to popular affinities or hobbies, such as watching your alma mater’s sports games. Then, send communications out to target the most engaged groups.
  • Preferred mode of communication. Your communications can only engage alumni if they receive, read, and respond to them. Meet your alumni where they are by sending them messages via their preferred channels such as text, email, or direct mail. 

Effective segmentation is only possible with outstanding data hygiene practices. To level up your efforts, NPOInfo suggests standardizing data formatting, scheduling regular data backups, and investing in data appends to streamline your alumni messaging strategy.

Top Relationship-Building Tactic: Get to Know Your Alumni Personally

Segmenting mass alumni communications is one thing, but personally getting to know your alumni will enhance your quality of outreach. With alumni of all ages, interests, and backgrounds, it might seem difficult to find a perfect way to get to know them all, but you can try these tried-and-true tactics:

  • Engage in authentic conversations with them. The key to effective relationship building is to take a genuine interest in your alumni and their lives outside of your chapter. Whenever possible, start conversations to learn more about their lives and interests. This information can help you tailor future events to align with your alumni’s preferences and boost attendance. 
  • Send handwritten thank-you notes. Never underestimate the power of a genuine handwritten thank-you note! Consider writing a thank-you note to alumni after they’ve donated to your chapter, volunteered for an event, or participated in an alumni mixer. The extra bit of effort will likely make you stand out.
  • Hold drop-in coffee hours. This tactic is especially useful for alumni fundraising and preparing to make a large ask to an alumni donor. Before you make your formal ask, schedule a casual chat with the prospect over coffee or tea without mentioning the ask. Building your relationship through a one-on-one conversation helps you stand out and positions you for a successful ask.
  • Reach out on important milestones or holidays. After you’ve gathered personal information about your donors in your conversations with them, reach out to them on important occasions. For instance, if you have a major alumni donor who’s religious, wish them well on major holidays in their faith.

Remember that effective personal communication is only possible with a powerful database that can store many types of information. Consider investing in a database made for sororities and fraternities to ensure accuracy in your records and simplify your outreach cadences.

Top Fundraising Tactic: Conduct Donor Prospect Research 

Alumni are a crucial fundraising source for universities and sororities and fraternities. In fact, approximately 75% of all funds given to universities are from sorority and fraternity alumni, and your chapter can get a piece of that pie if you can engage them.

That being said, you have lots of alumni to consider approaching for major gifts, so it can be difficult knowing where to start. Prospect research can guide your alumni engagement strategy and optimize your asks so they’re most likely to make an impact. Jumpstart your prospect research by:

  • Setting specific and actionable goals.
  • Auditing your existing alumni data with your goals in mind.
  • Using alumni directories and networks.
  • Conducting financial research using SEC filings, real estate records, and philanthropic databases.
  • Collecting donor data from conversations and social media. 

Once you’ve collected the relevant data points, you can create a winning engagement cadence that caters to prospects’ preferences and affinities. 

Wrapping Up

Now that you have a better understanding of how to catch and keep your alumni’s attention, it’s time to put your ideas into motion. If you’re launching an entirely new alumni engagement strategy, consider starting small and ramping up your efforts once you’ve established your relationships. After all, it can be costly to conduct alumni outreach without enough existing alumni support to mitigate expenses. 

As long as you show genuine interest in your alumni and structure outreach programs with that mindset, they’ll be delighted to reconnect with your chapter and help you achieve your goals!

AlumniFinder Team