How Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association successfully overcame Low Alumni Participation by organizing 10-Year Reunions

With just a two-person team handling all alumni relations functions, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association found it increasingly hard to drive participation for their 10-Year Reunion event and keep their alumni engaged throughout the year. To overcome this, the institution, in partnership with Almabase, implemented a digital alumni management platform that not only helped them effortlessly plan and map their 10-year reunions but, also provide to their alumni, a chance to connect to fellow alumni and create lasting bonds with their alma mater.

80+

Attendees Every Year

98%

Contactable Alumni

About Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association & Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School

Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association is the official alumni association wing of Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School. Founded in 1997 in Florida, United States, Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School is a Roman Catholic co-educational school of the Archdiocese of Miami.

With a total alumni strength of over 6000, Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Catholic Schools in the US by the Catholic High School Honor Roll and also ranks 6th in the top 25 Private Schools by South Florida Business Journal.

What did Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association aim to achieve?

Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association, faced with the challenge of low alumni participation and outdated alumni data, aimed at overcoming these challenges by driving maximum participation to their 10-year reunions which would provide their alumni with opportunities not only for networking and career prospects but also a chance to relive their high school days. Apart from providing value to its alumni and boosting participation, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association intended to shift to a centralized digital platform that would help them efficiently manage all alumni engagement initiatives and implement campaigns based on actionable insights.

What challenges did Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association face?

Limited Resources

With just a two-person team handling all alumni relations functions, Irene Benitez, Director of Alumni Relations at Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association, found it challenging to keep alumni engaged at all times. As a result of this, most events such as reunions were usually organized by the respective class years independently, i.e. without much involvement from the institution, further limiting the scope for alumni engaging with their alma mater.

Outdated Alumni Data

Like most institutions, Archbishop McCarthy High School was unable to keep its alumni database up-to-date, owing to no defined process for tracking event attendees or social media engagement which could provide accurate alumni information. As a result of this, Irene was facing major roadblocks when trying to reach out to alumni to communicate to them any news about their 10-year reunion.

Low Alumni Participation

With an outdated database and the institution’s limited involvement in planning events, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association had little to no means of getting in touch with or engaging alumni. As most events were conducted independently by class years, there was no defined strategy to track post-event attendees and more often than not, all this data would get completely lost with no means of recovery.

What worked for Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association?

Creating an online alumni community

As a first step towards generating buzz about their 10-year reunion, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association set up an online alumni community with Almabase and successfully got over 30% of the school’s alumni registered. Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association ensured that they delivered a personalized experience to their alumni by providing them with multiple opportunities to engage freely with their fellow alumni, get updates on activities that might be of interest to them, and even have visibility on who’s attending which events.  

A Dedicated Event Page for each 10-Year Reunion Event

The next thing that Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association did was to create a dedicated event page for each 10-Year Reunion event on their centralized digital platform, via which everything from RSVPs to payments and email communication was handled with ease. As an aftermath of this, Irene reached out to alumni well in advance to get them registered in time for the event. Seeing their classmates registered for the event, more alumni signed up without hesitation. With a dedicated event page in place, the class representatives who were previously burdened with the responsibility of organizing these reunions were now relieved.

Invites Sent to Faculty & Staff

One factor that influenced higher footfall for their 10-year reunion was the institution’s decision to include faculty and staff in the event. After setting up a dedicated page for the 10-year reunion, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association sent out personalized invites to their entire faculty and staff. This resonated really well with the alumni as many of them had been looking forward to reconnecting with their former teachers. Post this update, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association saw an increasing number of sign-ups.

Photos from Previous Reunions

In order to provide their alumni added details about dress codes or the arrangements in place, The Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association uploaded photographs of previous years’ reunions to their ‘gallery section’. These additional details not only helped alumni better plan their schedule but also provided them with an insight into the efforts their alma mater put into building lasting relationships with them.  

Accommodation Options

Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association went the extra mile to ensure comfortable accommodation for their alumni. The institution reached out to local hoteliers beforehand and negotiated for their alumni to be able to avail special discount. Alumni were informed of these arrangements well in advance so that they could plan accordingly.

Social Media for Generating Buzz

Once a significant number of alumni signed up on the platform and got themselves registered for the event, they influenced others in their network and friend groups to sign up using social media sharing options available on the events page. The social media sharing feature became a huge hit with the alumni as the school witnessed an increasing number of registrations as a result of alumni sharing the event page.

What Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association was able to achieve?

Streamlined Operations as a result of a Centralized Digital Platform

It was hard for Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association to manage alumni effectively because there were limited resources. With the adoption of Almabase however, this changed. Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association was able to create an all-in-one digital platform that helped Irene manage all alumni relations functions. With this centralized platform, Irene was able to handle all event management functions, right from RSVPs via the ‘events module’, ticketing via ‘payment module’, to email marketing via the ‘communication module’. The digital platform, inbuilt with tracking reports, helped the institution get a detailed understanding of important metrics that helped them plan their future campaigns better.  

An Up-to-date Alumni Directory

Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association was successful in updating its alumni database with Almabase’s unified digital platform that automatically captures information from previous events, registration forms, social media, and various other platforms. The platform also makes it easier for alumni to update their profiles, interact with fellow alumni, and follow updates according to their interests. Out of 6,107 alumni that the college has, 5,974 are now contactable.

98% Contactable Alumni

Increased Event Participation

Equipped with the ability to create event pages and handle everything from RSVPs to email communication using the ‘events module’ of Almabase, Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association has hosted three successful 10-year reunion events since 2016 and has seen over 80 attendees each time.

80+ attendees in 2016, 2017, & 2018

Archbishop McCarthy High School continues to grow their alumni participation by organizing successful 10-year reunions with Almabase. You can see more of their pages here.

Visit Archbishop McCarthy Alumni Association’s most recently conducted 10-Year Reunion page here.

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