Lost and Found: Reconnecting with Lost Alumni


Every institution we speak with eventually spends time discussing their disengaged alumni, frequently dubbing them a “lost generation.” They grapple with how to find them, how to communicate with them and ultimately how to re-engage (or perhaps actually truly engage) them in today’s institution.

Maybe one of the challenges is that these folks don’t see themselves as members of a group and therefore trying to connect with them as a homogenous generation isn’t quite the right approach. In most cases, these alumni are from the 1970s and 1980s who present as high-capacity with increasing disposable income. You can also bet that at this point in their lives, they are very savvy consumers with pre-existing interests and allegiances. This is where solid research and a strategic approach can work wonders in coaxing these alumni out of the shadows. Spend the time and money to understand them as well as you can, both on paper and in person if possible. Then spend more time and money to develop an integrated, measurable plan for engagement. Define success and consult experts both internal and external to help craft and execute the plan. Build in the necessary metrics and don’t be afraid to admit when something needs tweaking. Above all, be committed to the plan and learn from the experience.

Best Practices
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