How College Of Idaho Doubled its Homecoming Event Participation

With an emphasis on increasing participation for its Homecoming & Family Weekend 2018 event, College of Idaho built a centralized platform to help its alumni interact with peers and stay on top of any updates concerning the event. The institution was able to successfully overcome the challenge of inefficient event management and subsequently double the participation of its Homecoming & Family Weekend 2018 event.

2X

Increase in Homecoming Event Participation

$2248

Tickets Purchased

$9372

Worth Ticket Amount Processed

About the College of Idaho

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state's first private liberal arts college. The institution is committed to an innovative, individualized curriculum in liberal arts and professional studies, to building a strong campus community, and to exercising stewardship. With a total alumni strength of 12,000, the college is known for hosting frequent alumni events to inculcate the culture of maintaining stronger relationships with one's roots.

Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the college is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players, and countless business leaders and innovators. The College also strongly believes in hosting frequent alumni events to inculcate the culture of maintaining stronger relationships with one's roots.

The College of Idaho is ranked #131 in National Liberal Arts Colleges.

What did College of Idaho aim to achieve?

Having witnessed low alumni participation at its previous events, College of Idaho’s goal was to create buzz around its upcoming event - Homecoming & Family Reunion 2018 and ensure maximum alumni participation. The College also aimed to shift to a one-in-all platform for the management of all alumni relations functions, in order to eliminate unnecessary spending on multiple tools and dependency on IT teams with regard to event planning. With the above changes in place, College of Idaho’s larger goal was to provide value to its alumni in the form of a centralized online platform that facilitates networking, easy event registration process, donations, and circulation of other valuable information.

Why was College of Idaho facing low alumni participation?

Outdated/ scattered alumni data

While College of Idaho had some alumni data available, most of it was outdated. With no defined process in place for tracking event attendees and in the absence of a unified platform for capturing and storing this data, the college was unable to keep its alumni database up-to-date.

Lack of personalization

Due to lack of personalization in the approach towards reaching out to alumni, the college often faced lower engagement rates. For instance, to be able to offer alumni the option to attend only a part of an event they are interested in was next to impossible. Not wanting to attend the entire event, a lot of their alumni would often drop out from participating in the first place.  ‍

Ineffective social media approach

While the College of Idaho had an active Facebook page that was used to share relevant information, the college was still struggling to keep its alumni engaged via the social media platform. As a result of inadequate alumni engagement on Facebook page, the college failed to capture attention for its events or donation campaigns, leading to insufficient alumni participation.

Tedious event planning

For the advancement team at College of Idaho, all tasks related to planning an event right from the creation of pages, managing RSVPs, to handling multiple channels of communication - required a level of dependency on the IT teams which only led to long delays. As a result of delays and further complications, the events were often poorly managed and alumni were often left in the dark about any updates on events.

Costly communication software

College of Idaho used multiple tools to manage alumni communication which cost them almost $1400 per year. With the incorporation of multiple tools for various functions, also came the challenge of switching between these tools which often led to the loss of essential alumni data. For instance, the advancement team was using a tool for launching email campaigns but, lacked the power to bring all this data to a single dashboard which could help them draw actionable insights based on which they could plan the next campaign. So, despite spending a hefty amount on these tools, the college was unable to get the desired outcome.

What worked for the College of Idaho?

A centralized yet customized online platform

In order to generate buzz about its Homecoming Event and streamline all alumni outreach initiatives, the College of Idaho built an online alumni network with the goal of reaching out to as many alumni as possible and maximizing event registrations. With a total alumni strength of 12,000, the college emphasized on providing a personalized on-site experience to its alumni wherein the latter could engage freely with their fellow alumni and get updates on any activities that might be of interest to them such as upcoming events, giving days, or donation campaigns.



A dedicated events page

Without any dependency upon other team members, the advancement team was able to create a dedicated events page for the Homecoming event on the alumni networking platform, via which they managed everything from RSVPs to payments and email communication. The team also reached out to alumni well in advance to get them registered in time for the event. Seeing their classmates already signed up for the event, more alumni signed up without hesitation.

Discounts on registration

One thing that resonated really well with the college’s alumni was the variety of discounts that they were provided on early registrations for the event. A vast majority of alumni availed these discounts during the registration process.


Flexible ticketing options

By offering flexible ticketing, the College of Idaho enabled its alumni to select specific portions of an event they wanted to attend and pay exclusively for their selection. This feature acted as an added incentive for alumni and the depth of customization and flexibility offered enriched their entire event experience, thus leading to more sign-ups.


Added value for alumni

Other than communication-related to the event, the college created 63 custom pages to share useful information with its current students and alumni. Via these additional pages, the college was able to provide to its students and alumni added value in terms of information on National Alumni Board and Young Alumni Council, giving day campaigns, alumni awards, and much more. All in all, with a constant flow of relevant information from their side, College of Idaho was able to keep alumni and students both engaged.


What College of Idaho was able to achieve?

Streamlined operations as a result of implementing a centralized digital platform

The College of Idaho was able to create an all-in-one digital platform that helped manage everything from event planning to giving day campaigns and much more. This centralized platform helps the college get an overview of important metrics related to social media engagement, event participation, and email communication based on which future campaigns can be planned and mapped better by the advancement team.

An up-to-date alumni database

Integrated with Raiser’s Edge, the online platform automatically captures alumni information from previous events, registration forms, social media, and various other platforms, thereby creating an up-to-date alumni directory. The college also ensured that its alumni could easily update their profiles, stay connected with their fellow alumni, and follow updates related to their interests. Out of 13,000 alumni of the institute, 12,704 are now contactable.


97% contactable alumni


Increased event participation

With no dependency upon others for planning events, the College of Idaho has hosted 87 events so far, using the ‘events module’. The advancement team can now handle all functions related to event planning - from registrations to emails. The college grew from 500+ attendees in 2016 to 900+ in 2018 for their annual Homecoming event. The college saw 1300+ registrations from its alumni and were able to generate $25k in event ticket revenue, fueling its growth.

58% increase in event participation
$25k generated in event revenue

Value to alumni

College of Idaho is not only able to create networking opportunities for its alumni; but also provides a source of information for mentoring and career prospects. The college also posts relevant content regarding giving day campaigns and announcements about alumni awards that its alumni may find useful.  As opposed to before when the college was often faced with the problem of its content either not being delivered or acknowledged by alumni, today, the college has a comprehensive view of what generates more engagement (email open rates, social media engagement, etc.) which helps in planning future campaigns accordingly.



Cost-effective

With the college’s current approach of an all-in-one platform for all alumni relations functions, they have eliminated the need for multiple software which not only saves them money but also the time that otherwise would have been lost on switching between multiple software.

College of Idaho continues to grow their alumni participation consistently with Almabase. You can see more of their pages here.

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