If you have ever been even remotely involved with advancement, you might share the frustrations of having incomplete and inconsistent data. While that is something we tackle at almabase with social media logins and data enrichment, we wanted to compile a quick list of things you could do right away to gather some alumni data and insights into your alumni demographic without having to break the bank. If you are just starting to compile alumni data, this list can come in handy.
Before we proceed, it is worthwhile to note that this list talks merely of tools that you can use. Though they are great in its own accord, it can be ineffective when used in isolation without a larger strategy to connect, engage and involve your alumni.
Price: Free for 50 emails. $0.10/email after the free limit
Utility : Find work emails
Voilanorbert is a prospecting tool that recently got a very nice upgrade. It was designed to help people scout for new businesses, but there is much that you can use to find the first group alumni who can help build your empire.
Voilanorbert is impressive in its accuracy and functionality to predict a person’s work email ID from Linkedin.
How does it work?
You will need to create a new account to start searching for an email address.
You will also need a name and the domain that you want to search (eg:harvard.edu). If you put in ‘John Doe’ and ‘almabase.com’, Nobert will go through all the combinations that are possible for John Doe on Almabase.com like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc., if a valid address is found, Norbert will let you know.
It gets a whole lot easier with the Voila Norbert Chrome extension. The extension adds a little magic orange button to the LinkedIn profiles you browse through. If you come across the need to find somebody’s email, simply click on the Voila Norbert button to add them to your account.
Since you are reaching them on a professional channel, it becomes important that the email is more about them than your organisation. Make sure that the value you are offering to them is something that will interest them – like a request to become a class volunteer because of their influence, or to mentor senior students that are interested in their industry.
2) Facebook Audiences
Price: Free to analyze.
Utility : Find and reconnect with alumni on Facebook
Voila Norbert is great when you need to find email addresses. But sometimes you need a get a glimpse at the bigger picture. One that tells you what your alumni are up to, and where they live.
And if you don’t have some pricey alumni relations software, this may seem like a daunting task and it surely is, but this seems to us like a good place to start.
The audience tool on Facebook especially comes in handy when you can tie it to your social media program or have an alumni portal to which you can direct to.
Having rich content on your facebook page will help convert those casual visitors to followers. Bundle that with a steady flow of traffic that you generate from facebook ads that are targetted to potential alumni, and you will soon have a nice healthy following of alumni or students on your facebook page.
There is going to be a cost associated with the ads depending on the target audience you want to reach out to, but the good news is that you can control the spend and budget inorder to test out the waters before deciding to pump in more resources.
An overall schematic might look like this:
For more information on the Facebook audience tool, Visit Facebook for Business.
3) LinkedIn Alumni Tool
Price: Free to analyze.
Utility : Find and reconnect with alumni on Facebook.
The Linkedin alumni tool will give you a quick snapshot on what the entire alumni network looks like using the vast oceans of data it has on your alumni.
Much like the analytics on almabase, you can look at the big picture of where people work and live, then you can narrow the results based on what matters to you. Like if you ever needed to find alumni who have a degree in engineering and live in Chicago, that should not take you more than a few clicks to get there. You can also drill down based on where they work in Chicago, if it were required.
However, the tool is catered primarily for higher educational institutions. So if you are in secondary education, the tool may not yet be able to sift through data for you.
The same ad strategy that we used on facebook may be used on LinkedIn as well, but the ads on LinkedIn can get a lot more expensive based on the type of people you are trying to reach out to.
You can also refer to the Linkedin Guide on using the tool for Higher Ed professionals.
If you do not have an active presence on social media, make sure to look for any existing facebook/Linkedin groups that may have been created by your alumni earlier.
The thought of finding and reconnecting with thousands of your lost alumni can seem very challenging. If you are able to try some of these channels to reach out to your alumni, let us know how it went for you. Do you agree with our list? If you have other ways that have worked well for your institution, let us know by leaving a comment below.