How Alumni Spotlights helped Nicholls State University increase Alumni Engagement

Previously faced with an outdated alumni database and low alumni participation, Nicholls State University was able to successfully attract the attention of its alumni by creating a designated page, named Alumni Spotlights, to showcase the outstanding achievements of its alumni each week. With a two-person team and limited resources, Nicholls State University was able to feature 100+ alumni on its Alumni Spotlights page, honouring accomplishments of its alumni and inspiring fellow alumni and current students.

100+

Alumni Featured

94%

Contactable Alumni

About Nicholls State University

Founded in 1948, Nicholls State University is a comprehensive regional university, located in Thibodaux, Louisiana. With a total alumni strength of over 48,000, Nicholls State University is a part of the University of Louisiana System of universities. The University has assumed a leadership role in an area known for its agricultural, fishing, petrochemical, and oilfield-related industries. Nicholls continues to contribute significantly to the region’s growth in new technology, manufacturing, and international trade.

Among its distinctions, Nicholls State University offers the only four-year degree program in culinary arts and geomatics in the state of Louisiana and supplies approximately 80% of the Bayou Region’s teachers and nurses.

What did Nicholls State University aim to achieve?

As a part of their alumni engagement plan, Nicholls State University’s focus was on attracting more alumni by showcasing alumni achievements each week, recognizing their outstanding accomplishments, and further giving them opportunities to share these accomplishments with fellow alumni and students.

What were the challenges ahead of Nicholls State University?

Limited resources

With a two-person team handling all alumni relations functions, Nicholls State University found it exceedingly hard to reach out to each of their alumni and keep them engaged throughout the year.


Outdated alumni database

Like most institutions, Nicholls State University had either limited or scattered information with respect to their alumni. In the absence of a defined strategy for capturing and storing alumni information from social media or past events, it was challenging for Nicholls State University to have access to updated information of their alumni.

Dependency on IT/Tech team

From creating pages to handling multiple channels of communication, all tasks required some level of dependency on the IT team which would further amount to huge delays and unnecessary complications, thus affecting the overall efficiency of the alumni engagement process.


Limited visibility of content posted

Another problem that the Alumni Affairs team faced was limited visibility of the content that they posted. In order to showcase alumni achievements, the team would interview the alumni they wanted to feature, create content, then add these details to their college website and share it across their social media platforms. That’s it. The problem with this process was that a lot of times, fellow alumni and students would miss these updates and since there wasn’t a designated ‘Alumni Showcase’ page, most alumni and students wouldn’t even know where to look for these updates.

What worked for Nicholls State University?

Implementation of a centralized digital alumni management platform

In order to improve its alumni engagement process, Nicholls State University set up a digital alumni management platform and successfully got 3000+ alumni registered. The university emphasized on delivering a personalized experience to its alumni by providing opportunities to network with each other, get insights on activities happening, and most important of all - get recognition for their accomplishments via alumni spotlights. The Alumni Affairs staff could now effortlessly manage all alumni relations activities from one place, eliminating dependency and relieving them of undue pressure.


Alumni search via ‘digital directory’

One thing that made finding lost alumni much easier for Nicholls State University was the ‘Digital Directory’ module that automatically captured alumni information from various sources. With the Digital Directory feature, sorting through alumni data became much easier, owing to applicable filters that helped segment alumni on the basis of gender, location, interests, current employer, and various other categories.


Alumni Spotlight

For Nicholls State University, one thing that resonated really well with its alumni is the Alumni Spotlights section on the ‘News and Updates’ page. The institution got in touch with alumni via the messaging system and then scheduled an interview via the same. The Alumni Spotlight section showcased the outstanding achievements of alumni, highlighting their success and making them feel appreciated. With the Alumni Spotlights section, the goal was to place emphasis on alumni experiences at the institution and inspire fellow alumni and students.


In-built messaging system

The in-built messaging system on the centralized digital platform made reaching out to alumni much easier. The in-built messaging system is especially useful when the university wants to reach out to alumni that they want to feature on their Alumni Spotlights page. The Alumni Affairs team no longer has to personally contact alumni in order to schedule interviews. All they need to do is send a personalized message and schedule an interview directly.


Social Sharing

With social sharing feature integrated with the online platform, Nicholls State University was able to share Alumni Spotlight updates to their social media platforms within a few clicks. The institute didn’t limit itself to just posting an update on social media; they also sent out emails via ‘Communication Center’ to inform their alumni about their updates, thus ensuring a wider reach for their content. What’s most important here is that once these updates reached alumni via emails or social media posts, Nicholls State University saw a huge increase in engagement and traffic to their website.

What Nicholls State University was able to achieve?

Streamlined operations on account of a centralized digital platform

After shifting to an all-in-one digital platform for alumni management, the two-person Alumni Affairs team could effortlessly handle all alumni relations functions, thus eliminating the need to depend on any external teams.

An Updated Alumni Directory

Nicholls State University was successful in capturing alumni information and updating its alumni database. With the automatic capture of alumni data from social media platforms, Nicholls University no longer had to worry about manually updating its alumni database. The university also ensured that its alumni could easily update their profiles, interact with fellow alumni, post career opportunities, and follow updates according to their interests. Out of 48,000 alumni that the institute has, 45,000 are now contactable.

94% contactable records

Elimination of External Dependency

The Alumni Affairs team was able to easily create a designated section for Alumni Spotlight within the ‘News and Update’ page, using the text editor. An easy-to-use platform ensured that the team could create pages and handle multiple channels of communication, without any help from the technical team, thus eliminating unnecessary delays and increasing the overall efficiency of the alumni engagement process.


Increased Alumni Engagement with Alumni Spotlight

Built with the goal of sharing outstanding achievements of their alumni, the Alumni Spotlight feature was widely appreciated by both alumni and students as the institution saw an increase in traffic to their website and engagement on social media. Here’s how Nicholls State University has been honouring its alumni each week: https://www.nichollsalumni.org/news?tag=alumni-spotlight

100+ Alumni Featured

Value to Alumni & Students

By being able to share alumni achievements and updates regarding upcoming events, giving day campaigns, and other information that alumni may find useful, Nicholls State University no longer had to worry about providing enough value to its alumni. Alumni Spotlights not only help alumni get recognition; they also act as a source of inspiration for students looking for guidance.

Nicholls State University continues to grow its alumni engagement consistently by highlighting the achievements of its alumni on Almabase. You can see more of their pages here.

Here’s how Nicholls State University features its outstanding alumni each week.

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