You feel like you’ve tried everything.
It seems some fraternity alumni just aren’t interested in staying active with the chapter.
They either graduated and moved on from fraternity life, or they started out as active alumni but got overwhelmed with careers and home lives and no longer have the time.
Many alumni also live at a distance, which makes keeping them involved with chapter and campus culture challenging.
Some alumni will stay inactive, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Or is there?
While it’s true there are alumni who choose not to engage with the chapter after graduating, the number who can’t be persuaded to become more involved are fewer than you might think.
Sure, you’ve tried communicating with them. It seems to work with other alumni. But what if those other alumni stay active because of factors other than your e-mail list or newsletter?
"Judge how effective your communication is by how your alumni engagement improves over time rather than how good it is already."
Alumni who are the most engaged and active with the chapter are probably the ones who don’t need much persuading in the first place.
Fraternity inactive alumni communications can be challenging, but with the right strategy and effort, your chapter will be rewarded with new and important relationships.What if you’re communicating with alumni, but sending the wrong message?
Therefore, they aren’t a good measuring stick of how well you’re reaching your esteemed predecessors.
Good Communication Brings Inactive Fraternity Alumni Back in the Fold. OmegaFi explains how.
Is Your Communication Engaging to Alumni?
This probably sounds like a dumb question. Of course your communication is engaging. Right?
You might think so if it engages you as brothers. But the crux of it is that alumni aren’t engaged in the same way as undergraduates.
Just as active alumni can’t tell you much about how engaging your communications are, neither can brothers.
Judge how effective your communication is by how your alumni engagement improves over time rather than how good it is already.
First, target alumni who don’t donate to chapter fundraising often, who aren’t involved locally, and who don’t volunteer with alumni organizations. Engage all alumni, of course--but use inactive members to measure your efforts.
You already know that your fraternity newsletter, for instance, needs to focus on alumni interests. But let’s talk a little more about how that helps with inactive alumni.
Talking about chapter news may interest alumni who spend a lot of time engaged with brothers.
However, those who aren’t up to date with the chapter and don’t have very strong personal relationships with the undergrads aren’t going to find chapter news of note engaging on its own.
The toughest nuts to crack may even find university and alumni news generally unengaging.
They may just be extremely removed from the university environment.
The best way to communicate with them is twofold:
First, tell them stories about their brothers. Even the most aloof alumnus built friendships with his fellow chapter members when he was in school.
So don’t just write a newsletter article touting an alumnus for winning an award or becoming an industry leader in his field. Call him up. Interview him. Slap a photograph of him in there. Make it human.
Next, tell them stories about themselves. If you can get in touch with inactive alumni and celebrate their accomplishments, it shows you still want them involved. You’re still engaged with them, even when they haven’t been able to stay engaged with you.
Maybe some alumni haven’t been a part of the chapter lately, but you can remind them of the people who care about them—the people who want them back in the fold.
Do You Communicate with Inactive Alumni Consistently Enough?
If you send a quality newsletter one semester and skip it the next, if you set up an email list and never use it, or don’t keep up-to-date alumni contact information, chances are you aren’t going to get inactive alumni engaged.
In fact, they’ll be the first to drop off your radar.
Even if you do pique their interest once in a while, inconsistent alumni engagement is short-lived and not useful for the long-term goals of the chapter.
Work with your alumni association to plan consistent, strong communication efforts. Try to engage alumni via social media through brothers and alumni who’re closest to them, and if possible, use fraternity communication software as well.
Sometimes alumni may not currently be engaged in fraternity life, but can become interested through the lens of friendship and social interaction.
Even if it doesn’t seem like they’re in the loop with the chapter, volunteering or fundraising gifts, keep them in your friends list and take an interest in their lives, families and careers.
When they post a baby picture, you like and comment on that baby picture.
You’d be surprised by how often showing you care can help an alumnus start to care about the chapter again.
Consistently building real relationships is the key to great, sustainable alumni engagement.
Are You Communicating Too Much with Alumni?
Consistency is less about overloading alumni with tons of communication and more about hitting them with quality, engaging content on a regular basis.
Don’t toss them every single chapter update or piece of news. Don’t spam their email and mailbox 24/7, or it will all seem like white noise they can easily dismiss.
Build a consistent schedule of engagement through communication and stick to it.
Rather than constantly harping on alumni to give to fraternity fundraisers when they’ve already shown they’re uninterested, illustrate why they should be interested.
Keep your chapter GPA up, and stay out of trouble. Focus on quality recruiting and accomplishing chapter goals and initiatives. When they do give to fundraising efforts, thank them profusely and publicize their gifts in, among other places, a tiered donor list.
Invite them to major events even if they aren’t local and are unlikely to attend. An invitation to a founder’s day barbeque will put a smile on the face of any alumnus.
What strategies have worked for your chapter to engage inactive alumni? How do you reconnect with the most disconnected among your brotherhood? Share some of your best tips in the comments below.