increase in the number of alumni signups from June 2020 - Dec 2020
of all constituent sign-ups via social media
of constituents either have an updated email ID, phone number, or mailing address
With over 125,000 constituents worldwide, The University of Texas at El Paso is a public research university in the USA that is also a member of the University of Texas System. They are one of the largest and most successful Hispanic-serving institutions in the country, with over 80% of their student body comprising of Hispanic students.
Alumni engagement at the University is driven by a small team, housed within the division of Institutional Advancement.
The University of Texas at El Paso’s homegrown platform had a basic structure in place to collect contact information from their alumni. It did not provide the University with the ability to consistently engage alumni via regular emails, relevant content such as news updates, or the latest jobs and internships.
All traditional alumni engagement activities such as local mixers or campus meet-ups stood either canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. The Alumni Association also had to postpone their flagship event - UTEP 2020 Homecoming. All subsequent decline in alumni engagement posed a serious threat to the academic continuity of the institution.
With in-person events no longer a viable option, UTEP was forced to think on their feet and rely on virtual events to drive the engagement up. However, pulling off virtual events in a short timeframe and with limited experience was easier said than done.
Their annual UTEP and Alumni San Antonio Network Spring Social was transitioned from an in-person event to a virtual one. However, the event did not achieve the desired results.
Within 6 months of launching their online alumni network, The University of Texas at El Paso exponentially grew signups on the platform. The number of UTEP alumni connected digitally rose from 1,088 in June 2020 to 3,350 in December 2020.
Their alumni-centric approach emphasized on meeting the needs of every single alum and provide programming that's accessible to all. Here's how they increased signups on the platform:
a. Creative email campaigns to encourage their alumni to sign up
UTEP was able to leverage the platform by sending targeted emails to various alumni segments. They were also easily able to track and review the performance of the emails they sent with the help of a convenient dashboard.
Additionally, the UTEP Alumni Association started the October Picks Up Membership Challenge to drive alumni to sign up on their digital platform. Exciting weekly giveaways held throughout October played a massive role in motivating alumni to participate in the challenge.
They also created an email campaign to promote their Virtual Ring Order Events, a virtual event where alumni could order a special ring as a souvenir. The memorabilia were a great means for their alumni to showcase their pride and togetherness.
b. An active presence on social media
Besides engaging with their alumni via emails, UTEP also regularly posted updates on their Facebook and Twitter page to boost engagement on its alumni platform. Promotions of upcoming events, campus pictures, alumni class group photos, and updates regarding the University are some of the things that help drive engagement for the University on social media.
Additionally, The University of Texas at El Paso focused heavily on social media to draw attention to its newly launched alumni platform.
c. Exclusive benefits for members of the platform - the essence of alumni centricity
The new online platform is built to cater to the needs of each and every alum. The University is offering exclusive benefits and perks to their alumni, which has helped drive sign-ups. The University essentially has two categories of membership - a free membership, and a paid membership with lifetime validity. The benefits of membership include discounts on official merchandise, invites to exclusive events, and access to the university’s career center services, to name a few.
The University of Texas at El Paso was able to successfully automate its alumni database update process by leveraging the ability of its alumni platform to integrate with Raiser’s Edge. With this seamless automation in place, the University was able to maintain 100% contactable records (which means the University had data on at least one of the following for all the records in the database: a contactable email ID, contact number, or mailing address). UTEP alumni could easily edit, update, and delete any information from their profiles on the platform.
Email IDs were the most preferred option, with over 2,000 alumni opting to sign up using their ID.
With traditional alumni engagement initiatives shelved or canceled due to the pandemic, The University of Texas at El Paso realized the need to quickly pivot to alternate alumni-centric ways to drive participation. To support its community and keep them engaged, the Alumni Association of UTEP planned a series of initiatives.
The University of Texas at El Paso also hosted a series of creative virtual events to cater to its diverse alumni population amidst the pandemic.
Additionally, UTEP’s mentorship program also facilitates engagement between students and professional mentors or alumni, offering ample opportunities for professional growth amidst growing concerns of a looming job crisis.
Amidst a pandemic that disrupted their yearly calendar, the Alumni Relations Team at The University of Texas at El Paso embraced alumni-centricity to drive higher alumni memberships. Head over to their alumni website to learn more about what they do.
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