Lots of different types of organizations have alumni—schools, foundations, internship programs etc. These alumni constitute a specific group of people who require a different form of outreach than other types of donors/volunteers/members. They have a personal attachment to your school or organization, and hopefully feel a life-long bond that will keep them willing to help you financially and, where applicable, physically for years to come.
Instead, you need to look for specific alumni management software that will allow you to reach out to your alumni and keep them involved in your organization long after their official time with you has ended.
Here are some important topics to think about as you consider whether alumni management software is right for your organization:
The key aspect of alumni management software is that it unites a variety of tools for general membership management (like donor management, event management and volunteer management) with tools for alumni to log into a personalized portal and gain access to networking opportunities, including job boards, localized events and mentorship opportunities.
In short, alumni management software combines general membership organizational tools with specific functions that are useful to a membership made up solely of alumni.
Alumni management software is very similar, in many ways to membership management software. Those similarities include:
However, there are also crucial differences to note between both types of software. Those differences include:
The number one thing to consider when purchasing any type of software solution is the features that it will make available to you. For alumni management systems, this features list is vast, and includes the kind of functionality you'd find in membership management software (like a contact database and donor/event/volunteer management) as well as alumni management-exclusive features (like portals and networking):
|Membership management||Manages alumni contact details and interactions, payment due dates, relevant interests and more. These tools simplify business management tasks and communications for alumni organizations, especially in regards to collecting dues from members.|
|Contact database||In order to serve the other features on this list, alumni management systems need to have an accessible, easily updated contact database that will allow representatives of the alumni organization to keep in touch with membership.|
|Alumni portals||Alumni management systems will not only provide you with internal-facing tools, but also allow you to create portals that your alumni can log into so as to check their own donor/volunteer history, sign up for future opportunities and/or utilize networking opportunities.|
|Alumni networking||Once they sign into the alumni portal, individual alumni are able to access job boards, discussion boards and mentorship opportunities, allowing you to develop a social networking community amongst alumni that helps strengthen their ties and encourage the growth of your alumni organization's brand.|
|Donor management & fundraising||This will allow you to campaign for and track alumni donations while simultaneously managing existing donors. These tools work together to recruit, engage and retain alumni donors while optimizing your strategies for future fundraising campaigns.|
|Event management||This functionality helps you automate the process of planning, organizing, marketing and ultimately analyzing promotional alumni events. Event management tools facilitate event registration, ticketing, onsite operations management and seat allocations.|
|Volunteer management||This feature utilizes your contact database/information to track volunteer engagement amongst alumni, including their participation history and availability. Scheduling functionality also provide outreach tools to contact those who've volunteered for upcoming events and to track responses and availability.|
|Reporting & analytics||This tool will generate reports about your alumni membership, including donations, volunteering, and other metrics of engagement. More advanced systems will also provide analysis of those reports so that you can strategize appropriately.|
|Email marketing||In order to reach out to your alumni for donations and for volunteer opportunities, email marketing features provide you with the ability to run and automate common email marketing tasks, to measure the engagement and impact of each email marketing campaign and to help you find better ways of segmenting your alumni contacts.|
Of all these features, what makes an alumni management unique from a general membership management system is the alumni portal, which will allow your alumni to interact with one another. Here is an example of such a portal from 360Alumni:
360Alumni's alumni portal homepage
Other factors to take into consideration when picking the best alumni management software for your business include:
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