Among your institution’s most valuable resources are your people.

Good alumni relations can benefit your institution in many ways, but to reap these benefits, you have to sow seeds of relationships thoughtfully.

A carefully crafted marketing campaign is vital for strengthening alumni relations. However, many institutions either don’t know where to start or fall into common pitfalls, which end up working against them.

Advance Education creates bespoke higher education marketing campaigns tailored to meet each institution’s unique needs.


While many students attend universities for the “college experience,” most pursue a degree anticipating it will improve their life post-graduation with new job opportunities, skills, and colleagues.

For students, the true value of higher education extends beyond the journey from enrollment to graduation—it’s about the lasting effects education has on their lives.

Yet, many higher education institutions overlook or pigeonhole their alumni outreach—focusing on the student experience while neglecting life after graduation.

Here are some benefits good alumni relations can bring to your school:

  • Financial Giving: Despite only 8% of alumni donating on average, alumni giving totaled $13.5 billion in While financial giving is not the only benefit of strong alumni relations, alumni make up the second-largest demographic of higher education donors.
  • Volunteerism: Alumni often volunteer on committees and boards, using the skills they learned at your institution to invest back into the organization itself.
  • Word of Mouth: Of all the marketing channels you have at your disposal, word of mouth is one of the most valuable, yet challenging to attain. Strong alumni relations ensure that your alumni speak positively about their experiences at your institution—a form of marketing that money can’t buy.
  • Student Investment: Alumni can serve as mentors and network contacts for current, past, and future students. In other words, investing in your student body can have a compounding effect as happy alumni continue to invest in your current students.



Positive alumni relations don’t happen by accident—they require intentional investment. Enhancing existing connections by investing in the student experience, listening to feedback from alumni, using smart segmented marketing tactics, and identifying the right content mix can all boost alumni engagement.


Much like a friend you only hear from when they need to borrow money, many higher education institutions make the mistake of soliciting alumni donations before investing in the relationship.

Students who feel valued and respected may view giving back as a way of ensuring future students have the same great experiences they did. However, students who felt neglected during their time with your institution may perceive a request for donations as being frivolous or out-of-touch.

Content students regard giving back as a privilege and honor, while discontented students may perceive it as a burden.

Strong alumni relations start with investment in student experience. When students have positive experiences while enrolled in your institution, they’re more likely to extend support to your institution post-graduation.

A bespoke marketing campaign can highlight the ways you invest in your students, drawing attention to important work that may fly under some students’ radar. This can boost the perception of your commitment to student success and positive student experiences, which in turn leads to increased alumni engagement.


Market research and survey responses are invaluable resources, yet many institutions fail to take proper advantage of alumni feedback.

Alumni have unique insights for continuous improvement due to their experience as enrolled students. So, listening to alumni feedback not only improves the experience for future students but also strengthens alumni relations.

Alumni who feel like their feedback is important and can see the results of their input feel valued, encouraging them to continue investing in their alma mater in a variety of ways.

Finally, Alumni feedback can provide valuable user-generated content for your marketing activities. The testimonies, success stories, and case studies shared by alumni resonate with students and lend your enrollment marketing a credibility that’s priceless.


Engaging alumni is not a one-size-fits-all activity. As diverse as your student body may be, your alumni pool is almost certainly larger and more diverse.

Some alumni may have pursued careers in their field of study, others may have advanced to other higher education institutions, while some may be in an unrelated career field or seeking unemployment.

The strategies that are effective for one alumnus might be ineffective or even backfire with another. Smart, adaptable segmented marketing helps you engage with alumni with diverse backgrounds and experiences in a cohesive, sensible way.


Many alumni feel that their alma mater only contacts them to ask for donations. To increase alumni giving—both financially and through other forms of investment—you need a content mix that resonates with alumni interests.

Unfavorable alumni outreach can leave alumni feeling uninspired, put upon, or even insulted, whereas the right content mix can evoke feelings of importance, relevance, and value.

Our marketing campaigns are not just requests for donations—they’re strategies for improving alumni outreach and strengthening alumni relations.

We can help you find the right content mix (and the right mix of marketing channels) to speak to what your alumni care about.


While tangible experiences students have at your institution are important, the narratives through which they understand these experiences are just as important.

A well-crafted narrative can make the difference between an unhappy detractor and an engaged alumni who gives back to their school in a variety of ways.

At Advance Education, we help higher education institutions improve alumni relations by crafting thoughtful narratives and customized marketing campaigns with a proven track record.

Contact us today to learn more about our bespoke campaigns.