Digital Alumni Engagement: A Focused Approach

Digital Alumni Engagement: A Focused Approach

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Identify gaps in your current digital engagement strategy and develop a plan to address them.


In our current times, a digital alumni engagement strategy is an essential component of every shop’s operation. However, even before the rapid shift to digital platforms triggered by the pandemic, institutions were beginning to rethink their traditional in-person engagement strategies due to high cost, often lower attendance, and geographic limitations. When it comes to digital engagement, we have begun to understand what works well and what does not, and yet, we are all aware that there is still much more to learn and understand in this new reality of alumni relations.

Join us for an interactive virtual experience to brainstorm and learn the latest strategies and approaches for boosting your alumni engagement. Under the guidance of our expert speakers, you will identify gaps in your current plan and discuss a wide array of ways to fill those gaps, including:

  • Social media
  • Digital events
  • Cross-campus collaborations
  • Mentor programming
  • Surveying and evaluating

You’ll walk away knowing what initiatives you need to add to your engagement strategy and how you can implement them successfully.


Who Should Attend

This program is specifically designed for alumni relations professionals who want to examine their digital strategy to boost alumni engagement. All attendees are encouraged to come prepared to share ideas.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions

See What Our Attendees are Saying

“The virtual design of this conference coupled with the amazing work of our program manager promoted a high level of engagement and sense of community among attendees. The speakers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic to share their experiences. It was a refreshing shift from long days of traditional meetings on Zoom!”

“This is the first time I’ve ever attended a virtual conference, and to be honest, I had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. I am very impressed with the platform used and the quality of the content shared. Oftentimes, these conferences only talk about ideas and what could work, but at this event, actual pathways and practical next steps were shared. Academic Impressions did a great job featuring quality speakers who were willing to share what they know.”

“Although the workshop was online, it felt as if the presenters were right there with us. All presenters were knowledgeable and really related the content to real work experiences. They were so willing to answer questions and offer assistance—I learned so much that I can apply.”

“Many conferences leave you with learning but not always sure how to turn that into action for your organization. There were actionable tips shared throughout the two days and tools provided to help move the learning into action. I am always impressed with Academic Impressions conferences and this virtual one did not disappoint.”

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Day 1 | May 18, 2021


Welcome and Introductions
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.



Digital Engagement Landscape
11:30 a.m.– 12:00 p.m.
Alumni engagement has radically changed, moving from primarily in-person to completely digital on all fronts. This has forced institutions to adapt on the fly, largely by trial and error, in their approach to digital engagement. We will use this opening session to take a critical look at what these changes mean for alumni relations and what we can anticipate as we move forward in this new reality.



12:00 – 12:15 p.m.



Identifying Gaps
12:15 – 12:30 p.m.
How are you currently engaging alumni online? This session will have you take a careful look at your current digital engagement channels, and you will then identify which areas need bolstering. This activity will guide your focus for the remainder of the program.



Increasing Social Media Engagement
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
Social media can be an effective tool in engaging alumni, especially when it comes to using tactics such as segmentation and social reasoning. By gaining a better understanding of the platforms your alumni are using, you can implement engaging ideas specific to your alumni populations. In this session, you will identify creative practices for social media engagement, covering platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. You will also learn about emerging platforms like TikTok and other popular channels.



Longer Break
1:15 – 1:45 p.m.



Innovations of Digital Engagement
1:45 – 2:45 p.m.
With the continuous changes in digital engagement, knowing the most innovative tools, such as gamification and podcasting, will help your institution ensure you’re catching and keeping the attention of your most digitally-savvy alumni. We will provide examples of what is working in digital engagement, what is not working, and what you should consider trying.



2:45 – 3:00 p.m.



Digital Engagement Metrics
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Now that we’ve discussed various engagement strategies, understanding how to track the data you gather from them is the important next step, particularly if you are using a scoring model. Here you will learn about engagement data points you could be tracking and discuss what strategies you can apply in order to keep your data current.



Platforms and Vendors Discussion
4:00 – 4:15 p.m.
Knowing how to track and analyze metrics is important to making the best decisions on your engagement strategy. However, understanding what platforms and vendors are most advantageous for your shop when collecting data is just as important. You will learn and discuss what data collection systems institutions are using and why, so you can better understand the options available to your shop.



4:15 – 4:30 p.m.



Digital Events
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.
How have you tried to digitally replicate large alumni engagement events, such as homecoming or alumni awards, that are no longer happening in traditional venues? In this final session of the day, you and other attendees will share examples of the successes and lessons learned from your digital engagement events.


Day Two | May 19, 2021


Reflections and Networking
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.



Career and Mentoring Programming
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
You know that one of the best ways to keep alumni engaged across their lifecycle is by providing meaningful programming that helps them progress their career and professional life. Here we'll talk through the approaches you can take to do that online.



12:15 – 12:30 p.m.



Collaborating with Campus Stakeholders on Engagement Efforts
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
Collaborations with other stakeholders such as your annual-giving counterpart or your office of diversity, equity, and inclusion, can lead to more effective engagement, which can then lead to an increase in alumni giving. In this session, you will learn examples of effective partnership and how it can help increase your alumni engagement.



Longer Break
1:15 – 1:45 p.m.



Surveying Alumni and Program Evaluation
1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
Ensuring you incorporate alumni feedback into your digital engagement programming is essential for success. You will learn how to assess your current efforts in order to understand how and when you may need to change course.



Revisiting the Gap Analysis
2:30 – 2:45 p.m.
At the beginning of this program, you identified the gaps in your digital alumni engagement strategy that you should focus on filling by the end of this program. In this session, volunteers will share some of the ideas they have learned and plan to implement upon their return to work.



2:45 – 3:00 p.m.



Program Adoption and Implementation
3:00 – 3:45 p.m.
This working session will help you return to work with a plan on how to choose and implement the right strategy for your digital alumni engagement needs. You will walk away knowing what resources you need to achieve your goals, and the stakeholders you will need to collaborate with in order to be successful in the implementation of your plan.



Closing Q&A Panel
3:45 – 4:00 p.m.


Portrait of Ryan Barnhart

Ryan Barnhart, DHSc

Director, Alumni Relations, California University of Pennsylvania

Ryan Barnhart, DHSc, is CASE Award-winning higher education professional with over 15 years of experience in the higher ed space, with expertise in strategic enrollment management and planning, curriculum design and instruction in andragogy, to development and alumni relations.

Read Ryan's Full Bio.

Portrait of Joe L. McGonegal

Joe L. McGonegal

Director, Alumni Education, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Joe McGonegal is an award-winning higher-education advancement and communications professional with two decades of experience in college and university roles. Trained as a journalist and teacher, Joe spent 15 years in high school and college classrooms before pursuing administrative roles in communications and advancement.

Read Joe's Full Bio.


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Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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