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Alumni & Advancement

How Stale Is Your Directory? A Glimpse at the Future of Personalized Connections and Building Deep Affinity

Part two of our 5-part webinar series on #TheGivingEquation was a look at how PeopleGrove’s alumni success platform is setting […]

5 min read

Part two of our 5-part webinar series on #TheGivingEquation was a look at how PeopleGrove’s alumni success platform is setting universities up for success. For the entire series, we are focusing on a simple equation to re-frame how we think about alumni engagement and university advancement:

Provide value ➼ Engage alumni ➼ Inspire giving

PeopleGrove is well-known for our flagship career success solution — and we want to make sure institutions have the resources to extend that support for alumni as well as current students. The webinar dove into some of our key new features of our alumni success platform and how institutions around the world can delight alumni with a single place for career, community, and connection.

Our speakers were:

  • Adam Saven, CEO of PeopleGrove
  • Matt Kelly, Business Development Manager at PeopleGrove and former Associate Director of Alumni Career Services at Georgetown University

The discussion got started with a poll for all webinar attendees, asking them what their top priorities and key goals were. Nearly half (47%) of the attendees said they were focused on creating meaningful ways for their alumni to support students.

Kelly shared data from one of our partners, the University of Kansas — their alumni survey showed 73% of alumni wanted career assistance from their alma mater. The opportunity to mentor students was also ranked highly, coming in second on the list of desires of the alumni surveyed.

Providing lifelong value to alumni is ultimately a win-win — for the alum as well as the institution. Brandon Busteed, President of Kaplan University Partners, who was the keynote at our annual Innovators conference this summer, said that students who had “very helpful” career support are 3.4x as likely to recommend their alma mater, 3x as likely to say it was worth the cost, and 2.6x as likely to donate.

PeopleGrove helps institutions solve for this challenge by offering our partners a personalized alumni network. We connect alumni with others in their community to expand their professional network and provide access to opportunity.

In the webinar, Saven introduced the platform and shared its three tiers for alumni success, fit for institutions with varying needs. The PeopleGrove platform allows for customized branding, so you’re sending alumni and students to a community that looks and feels like your institution’s.

When someone joins your community, they create a profile (made simple by the parser tool, which makes it easy to import information) to start connecting.

With our LinkedIn and resume parser, alumni can seamlessly upload their work and academic experiences in just a few clicks. The parser tool also helps the institution keep up with changes to the database, ensuring you’re no longer relying on outdated information.

Alumni can also join shared interest groups that connect them to specific resources, events, programming, and a network of like-minded alumni.

“The platform offers recommended connections based on your background,” Saven said. “The focus here is on connections, and there are matching questions to personalize each, so that all of the events and job opportunities are part of a tailored experience.”

PeopleGrove has a job referral network that enables alumni to not only share job opportunities but also insider knowledge to help set their peers up for success. Saven walked webinar attendees through the process of sharing a job posting and offering referrals in just a few simple steps.

According to Career Builder, 82% of employers rate referrals as the most reliable way to hire new employees. It’s not only about what you know, but it’s also about who you know — making the ability to share job information and refer peers a critical aspect of any alumni community.

The platform also delivers reporting on key engagement data to support alumni and advancement offices. Because of this, admins can see how students and alumni are using the community and the school can best drive success forward by looking at results. 

PeopleGrove ensures privacy for our users, so when connections happen within the platform, email addresses and phone numbers aren’t revealed. People connect directly through the platform, which has an 80% response rate (which is significantly higher than response rates on non-personalized social media platforms like LinkedIn).

“We allow people to integrate their calendars to make scheduling easy and also have a video chat feature,” Saven said. “While you can’t see anyone’s email address, messaging will go directly to their inbox and they can reply from their email platform.”

Part of the value you can offer your community is providing them ways to have frictionless conversations.

“Every community is different,” Saven said. “We can tailor the experience to fit your community so they can have authentic ways to stay connected.”

The third installment of our 5-part webinar series is Thursday, Oct. 10 at 9 am PT: “Soaring Student Debt, Declining Affinity: How Advancement Leaders Are Addressing the Challenges Ahead” featuring Join Mike O’Neill, Senior Vice President for University Advancement at Villanova to discuss how advancement offices everywhere are investing in genuine engagement.

Register today!