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Alumni & Advancement

Driving Alumni Engagement and Giving: Data Takeaways from PeopleGrove’s Upcoming Impact Report

In 2022, PeopleGrove released the first-of-its-kind impact report. Its goal was to understand how student-alumni engagement communities – which PeopleGrove […]

In 2022, PeopleGrove released the first-of-its-kind impact report. Its goal was to understand how student-alumni engagement communities – which PeopleGrove creates for colleges and universities – impact the outcomes that matter to Academic Affairs, Career Services, Alumni Relations, and Enrollment departments. 

We surveyed 2,904 students and alumni who represented 48 of the 50 U.S. states about their experience using their institution’s PeopleGrove platform and its impact. And within the data, we found compelling results regarding a promising impact on traditionally underserved communities plus influence on student career confidence and alumni give back. 

For 2024, we’ve again sampled thousands of students and alumni at our partner institutions. On a recent discussion, Leverage Alumni Engagement to Drive Giving Outcomes, with Sheila Doherty, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations at Villanova University, we previewed the new data ahead of its release later this year. 

A summary of what was shared follows and includes our survey questions posed to alumni specifically and answers relevant to Alumni Relations departments. 


Question 1: When alumni come back to their institution, what are they seeking? Specifically, why do they sign up for their institution’s alumni community platform? 

In our first edition, we saw these top four answers from alumni:

  1. To provide mentorship to students
  2. To find job opportunities for themselves
  3. To provide mentorship to other alumni
  4. To receive job related advice from their community 


These answers are evenly split between two themes. First, alumni want to engage and volunteer as a resource and a knowledge-sharer for students and fellow alumni. Secondly, alumni indicate they need help themselves. They're actually looking for support by joining the community and engaging with other alumni, looking to perhaps make a career change, switch industries, or switch functions. 

How have alumni needs changed for 2024? 

In our upcoming new edition of our impact report, we have found in the data the same top four answers from alumni, but their top one and two answers are actually switched. Now, finding job opportunities has become a greater priority to alumni in responding to the survey.

Mentorship to students was the second indicated priority, mentorship to other alumni was third, and job related advice was fourth. Perhaps we can look at the economy for an explanation. With many experiencing a tough economy and a tough job market at the moment, alumni are continuing to seek support from their institutions and through social capital networks to support them.


Question 2: What does an alumni networking community provide for alumni? 

In 2019, a Gallup poll indicated only nine percent of alumni found their alumni network to be helpful or very helpful in the job market, a national statistic.

Of those who are using a PeopleGrow platform, 58% find their network to be helpful or very helpful in comparison. This indicates that when institutions offer PeopleGrove communities, alumni come to the community and find the help they need to feel supported. They find their network to be helpful far above the national average.

We also found in our data 62% of alumni said that they would use their PeopleGrove alumni network if they ever want to make a career change. We know they're coming back to the network to volunteer but also to support themselves and make career changes.


Question 3: How does engagement with an alumni networking community influence alumni give back? 

At PeopleGrove, we believe alumni engagement should extend beyond one point of engagement. Ideally, the alum who mentors through the platform continues to engage in other volunteer activities and gives their time and talent, and, yes, eventually, financially as well. 52% of alumni responding to our survey said that they are more likely to give back in other ways because of their engagement with a PeopleGrove community.

In the full discussion we had with Villanova’s Sheila Doherty, we discussed why it’s important for universities to make sure alumni have volunteer opportunities that are meaningful and powerful but also have the ability to support themselves in their endeavors and their job changes, their career paths, their post graduation journey. Doherty shared how Villanova’s PeopleGrove network helps her institution strategically address the needs of alumni to create a thriving alumni community with higher engagement and who are ultimately more likely to give. 

Hear the full Villanova conversation. You can additionally download the 2022 version of PeopleGrove’s Impact Report or schedule a consultation and we'll discuss your institution's unique needs and show how PeopleGrove can support your initiatives.