Managing Alumni Relations with Dynamics 365
When you think of attending university, you often think of late nights, new friends, junk food, and hangovers. Unsurprisingly, most people who attended university refer to these years as some of the best years of their life. While universities don’t necessarily want to enhance the seemingly negative aspects of student life – after all, achieving a degree would typically be the main reason for attending university – enhancing the student experience leads to fiercely loyal graduates and alumni.
Alumni relations is an area within universities that aims to maintain these strong connections with previous students, usually consisting of events, newsletters, and programs. These lifelong relationships lead to organic advocacy, which in turn improves the overall attractiveness of a university. Word of mouth spreads – especially on social media – so passionate alumni can greatly improve student attraction. Aside from improving the perception of a university, strong alumni relations can also benefit universities financially.
Due to their loyalty and dedication many Alumni have for their institution, they often help with fundraising efforts and philanthropic support. Financial donations allow universities to improve facilities and equipment, as well as scholarships and bursaries for talented students. Donations also enhanced research opportunities.
A strong alumni community leads to a strong talent pool, so when universities decide to hire, they can turn to their network of previous students so find someone with relevant experience. Of course, this can only work for certain business areas, but technology and business graduates are ideal for internal roles, as are teaching staff.
Many work placements, internships, and industry-based projects at universities are developed through alumni relations. Successful graduates want to improve their own personal and professional brand, and the companies benefit from fresh ideas and innovation. These opportunities give students a taste of the ‘real world’, providing them with great experience and improved career opportunities. Alumni support therefore also improves graduate employability and starting salaries, improving university rankings.
How to improve Alumni Relations
Crimson has developed a higher education industry accelerator on Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 making it quicker and easier to implement an alumni relationship management solution. Not only does this accelerator manage individual student and organisation information, but it has also been built to manage campaigns and appeals, donations, volunteers and mentors. This gives universities a full view of all alumni, including whether they are active promoters, to create a single view of an institution so alumni relations are maximised. Dynamics 365 also reports on key metrics and campaign performance, to monitor and analyse the current situation and make improvements.
The accelerator supports the main CRM processes within Dynamics 365, leveraging student data through rapid implementation to streamline university processes.