International alumni are critically important to good recruitment and fundraising efforts: heck, we researched and co-wrote a whole report on it!
In the fall of 2017, Intead and Academic Assembly, Inc., surveyed over 100 professionals working at U.S. institutions of higher education about their international alumni management practices. When we asked what three factors they considered their biggest hurdles to developing a stronger program, 35% included “we don’t track international alumni” on their list.
Needless to say, your CRM system (you have one, right?) can track your alumni, both international and domestic. But if you are among the 35% whose institution just doesn’t track, we have one suggestion for how you can still connect with your far-flung alums. It’s right at your fingertips: LinkedIn.
If you are at AIEA in DC next week, come learn from us at our two sessions:
- Tues. 2/20 at 7:45 am -- Ben will join MJ Miller, Senior VP North American Higher Ed at Kaplan International, to serve up a dose of international student research and insights poured right into your morning coffee. Breakfast will be served! Now we've got you, right?
- Wed. 2/21 at 11 am -- Ben will interview Lakshmi Iyer, Executive Director & Head of Education at Sannam S4 and and Jon Stauff, Vice Provost for Global Educationat Monmouth University about creating successful partnerships with Indian Universities.
Read on to learn how Linkedin is your secret (free) weapon as you find and manage your global alumni...
How do I find my international alumni on LinkedIn?
Let's start from the beginning. Visit your institution’s LinkedIn page—we’ll use Tufts as an example. Now click “see alumni.”
You’ll be greeted by a searchable results page of all alumni who have identified with your institution on LinkedIn.
Now, you can get filtering.
- Let’s say you’re looking for alumni to attend a Q&A session at an Irish high school. Search for alums in Dublin.
- Looking for a Saudi student to record a testimonial for your site about tech education? Search for Saudi students working in the tech industry.
- Interested in recent alums only? Hey, you’re in luck—you can search by graduation year.
Feeling inquisitive about your competition? You can do this for any school—not just your own. (And other universities can check your alums out as well - it's all public data).
Here is a sample of what the Career Insights page for your unique institution might look like:
Here's the thing:
This Linkedin tool is most valuable when your graduates are on this social media channel. So, you know that Career Planning Workshop you hold for all seniors to help them build a resume, write a cover letter and practice interview skills? Right! That one. Well, part of that workshop curriculum needs to be 20 minutes on how to create a powerful Linkedin profile that identifies them as a graduate of your institution.
Voila, your institution's Linkedin results grow each year by the size of your graduating class.
Why is it so important to track global alumni?
If you're asking...your former students are powerful brand ambassadors. By keeping your university’s relationship with alumni warm and active, you can boost the likelihood of alumni making a financial contribution, or speaking highly of your school to prospective students, donating their time to attend recruitment events, and helping your current students land internships and jobs.
Ideally, your institution is spending the money to maintain sufficient alumni relations staffing and providing a robust and well-maintained CRM system. But if that sentence made you chuckle, or if you are just looking for an easy way to sort through a different kind of alumni records-- why not make good use of the free tools at your disposal? LinkedIn is not only a great way to find your former students, it’s an easy way to reach out.
Once you’ve sorted your results and identified alumni who can help with whatever’s on your mind, you can reach out immediately. Shoot the former student a personal message to see if they’d be willing to volunteer at your upcoming event or spread the word about a new initiative that relates to their location or professional field. Find out if they would be willing to have coffee with a recent applicant from their town (which may be 8,000 miles from your office).
Even better? Use LinkedIn to send a message where you’re not requesting anything at all. Reach out to former students from your university account to say that Alma Mater University saw the press about their latest accomplishment, and send congratulations. Share your alumni accomplishments from your Linkedin account. Show your pride and raise your institutional profile. Comment on a post that they have shared. Remind them that your institution cares about them—it will prompt them to care about you, too.
And that link to download our Global Alumni Research at the top of this blog? Here it is again: