Illinois Tech’s new and improved digital strategy to scale community engagement

Despite having an engagement strategy in place, Illinois Tech found its existing strategies ineffective for fostering meaningful connections, often resulting in a reliance on the university for engagement. Today, the university has rebuilt its digital engagement strategy for students and alumni, focusing on enhancing peer-to-peer networking and proactively measuring constituent engagement.

123000 +

Engagement activities recorded last month


Alumni subscribers to digital spaces


Registered alumni users

William Peace University grand welcome to the Class of 2020 virtually with Almabase

About Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) is a prestigious private research university in Chicago, renowned for its strong emphasis on technology and innovation. It comprises five academic colleges: Armour College of Engineering, College of Architecture, College of Computing, Lewis College of Science and Letters, and Stuart School of Business. Illinois Tech offers diverse programs across these fields, fostering cutting-edge research and practical learning. The university's vibrant campus life, collaborative environment, and strong industry connections make it a hub for aspiring professionals and innovators.

What were some significant challenges that Illinois Tech struggled with?

Despite having an engagement strategy in place, Illinois Tech struggled with several significant challenges. The university found that existing methods were ineffective for fostering meaningful connections, leading to a reliance on the university for engagement. To empower its community and achieve its mission, the university has addressed some notable challenges:

  1. No means to discover and network with fellow alumni on their own
  2. Lack of dedicated spaces for the community to connect based on similar interests
  3. Inefficient tools to set up branded pages that capture the university’s  brand and spirit
  4. No easy way to pull constituent information lists or move data across systems
  5. Limited visibility on constituent actions made it difficult to identify engaged alumni

Making access of value simple for various segments of the community

All segments aren’t equal

Earlier, the institution found its existing engagement strategy inefficient for fostering meaningful engagement among alumni.

Recognizing the need for regular engagement, Illinois Tech set up secure, personalized spaces exclusive to their alumni to engage with one another. Today, the university’s seven colleges have their own spaces with verification badges for registered users tailored to their specific majors and interest-based affinity groups, allowing alumni to share updates, announcements, or resources exclusive to the chapter. The university aims to extend digital spaces in the future, allowing current students to connect and share information with their peers and alumni.

Making ‘connections’ easy to discover

In the past, alumni had to reach out to the Office of Advancement, send emails, or wait for events to connect with relevant peers and alumni. This process was inefficient and created a dependency on the university to connect them.

To improve self-serve engagement within the community, the university introduced a directory to help alumni discover and network with relevant peers and alumni based on  their location, industry, graduation major, or more, removing the need to reach out to the university to connect them. Further, the directory does not only list people who have registered on Almabase but also those who still need to register, making it easier for students and alumni to connect on their own.

Every interaction tells something. Illinois Tech measures it

Illinois Tech has significantly refined its approach to scale alumni engagement by integrating data-driven strategies and continuously analyzing program reports. Today, the university tracks user activity, user sign-ups, newsletter open rates, and more.

Ashley Agron, Director of Constituent Engagement, takes a proactive role in measuring directory views and analyzing alumni interactions across digital campaigns. She consistently reviews data to inform strategy, improve campaign appeals, and segment communications.

Simplified data processes, improved operational efficiency

Illinois Tech leverages the bi-directional integration with Raiser’s Edge to quickly push/pull out lists, improving the overall administrative workflow for the team.

The integration allows the university’s database team to configure data collection per their needs, ensuring they can structure information effectively and cleanly enrich the data between systems. This eliminates the need to manually enter data and saves the institution valuable time and resources.

Designing experiences tailored to needs

The university has always strived to create a unique identity that reflects its spirit and evokes nostalgia among alumni and students. Leveraging the suite of customizable templates, the university seamlessly builds,  designs custom webpages that adhere to Illinois Tech’s branding guidelines, reinforcing the university's distinct identity.

The university also simplified the process of setting up verification badges by changing fields from text input to drop-down. This change eliminates the need to scroll through thousands of alumni profiles on the platform to individually assign verification badges and saving the team hundreds of hours of manual work.

Key Results

✅123,000+ Engagement activities recorded last month

✅2600+ Alumni subscribers to digital spaces

✅3300+ Registered alumni users

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