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Mission Control / Higher Education and Nonprofit

How to Use Content to Keep New Alumni Engaged

Here’s how to keep grads in the fold even as they enter the next chapter of their lives.

By Drew McCullough

Many people see the years they spent in college as the best times of their lives. But right after they graduate, some alumni disengage from their alma mater as they focus on adjusting to a new phase of life, moving to a new city or pursuing an advanced degree elsewhere.

There are many ways to boost alumni engagement post graduation, though — even for those new grads trying to find their footing. Here’s how to engage new alumni through your content marketing efforts.

Create a Career-Focused Content Hub

One of the best ways to keep alumni engaged, especially the ones actively on the job hunt, is to establish a dedicated online content hub geared toward professional development. We worked with the University of Arizona to build its Career Lab on the Graduway platform, providing a user-friendly social media interface exclusive to alumni that requires a login. The platform offers career coaching, mentorship programs, job boards, professional development webinars and more.

Your own career-focused content hub should serve as a resource center for alumni to find articles, webinars, job postings and information about networking opportunities. By addressing the specific needs and challenges of recent graduates, universities can position themselves as trusted partners in their alumni’s journey to success — and foster ongoing engagement with your institution.

Support Local and Affinity Chapters

Another means of cultivating alumni engagement is by providing local and affinity alumni chapters the resources needed to create chapter-specific microsites. In our work with UC Berkeley’s Cal Alumni Association, we designed and developed a multi-site CMS platform that gives each chapter the opportunity to easily spin up and maintain its own site to share news, events and philanthropic opportunities. Learn more about this customizable multi-site network.

Providing chapters with this tool makes it easier for alumni to stay connected to one another, boosting the likelihood that they’ll stay engaged with the university, too.

Make Fundraising Campaigns Meaningful

Highlighting the impact of alumni gifts is key to bolstering alumni participation in fundraising. This is the same principle behind the nonprofit charity: water’s signature approach to showing donor impact. The organization provides GPS coordinates to every clean water project funded so supporters know that their dollars are making a difference.

By the same token, alumni want to see how their support is making a positive impact. When we worked with the University of Arizona on its Fuel Wonder campaign, the goal was to clearly lay out the projects and initiatives to which alumni could choose to designate their gift. Of course, there was still a CTA for alumni to support the general fund.

Not every alum will feel inspired to give, but providing transparency will make it easier for willing alumni to partner with their alma mater in advancing the university’s mission.

Feature New Alumni in Your Magazine

Your alumni publication needs to juggle multiple priorities, from sharing university news to encouraging donations. But one goal that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle is finding a way to incorporate new alumni (and topics that are relevant to them) into its pages. Often, the alumni featured in publications are at the height of their careers or are being recognized for a sizable gift. However, by working in spotlights on new alumni and tackling current issues, this important group will see themselves (and their concerns) reflected in your pages.

Your print publication can also be used to encourage new alumni to engage with your university’s digital ecosystem. Including interactive elements in the magazine, such as QR codes as we do in Northern Arizona University’s Pine Magazine, that drive to online resources can encourage new alumni to further explore, interact and engage with the university. Bonus points if the digital version of your magazine is smooth, seamless and shareable.

Reach New Alumni

We can help you create a marketing strategy that engages this crucial audience and drives them to take action.


Drew Mc Cullough Overlay Blue
Drew McCullough Editor

Drew comes to Casual Astronaut with a decade of media experience that includes everything from producing videos to writing blog posts to editing print publications. He’s covered sports, science, general news and business throughout his career, which has helped him hone the ability to connect with a wide variety of audiences on a wide range of topics.

A sports junkie at heart, Drew is a former online sports producer at the Arizona Daily Star. Although he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and his master’s degree from Arizona State University, Drew is a Wildcat through and through. Outside of work, he can be found cheering on the Seahawks or frolicking outdoors with his wife and their son and dog.

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