The importance of communicating with your alumni

Annie Manning

Annie Manning is a qualified NLP Life Skills Coach and Counsellor including; spiritual healing, bereavement and cognitive behaviour therapies. Annie fully values the importance of a student’s wellbeing, positive intervention and uses these additional communication skills to help coach tutors, parents and students. She runs a blog with tips on mindfulness, avoiding exam stress and promoting support charities in mental health, bereavement and anti-bullying.

She is an experienced freelance report writer, marketing and quality consultant working within Commercial and IT markets, Health, Education and NFP Sectors. Her quality projects have included speaking with schools, universities and researching protocol and purchasing patterns within the LEA nationally. As a marketing manager within IT she dealt with, schools and IDPE members on a daily basis for many years.

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Schools and Colleges all have their own websites and this may be the first place an ex-pupil will visit to re-establish contact and possibly offer professional services and/or wish to make a donation. Similarly, your alumni database is your school’s business and you must get to know all of your supporters/members. With the aid of the right software this can be achieved easily and efficiently.

ASI Europe have recently published their own white paper 3 keys to smart website. Jyoti Hull-Jurkovic advises how schools and businesses can easily conduct a sales and marketing review with the aid of the correct tools alongside the norm of their site being just ‘user friendly’.

Keep in touch

Ideally you want to keep in touch with your alumni and make it easy for them to keep in touch with their former class mates and your school. Database packages have the tools to record relationships and groups making life easier to contact selected supporters. You may wish to analyse funds raised by past activities and all these tasks can be recorded within your CRM and fundraising package even down to what was raised on each table at an event.


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Wealth Intelligence Screening

Have you thought about the benefits of having your database reviewed? Aside from updating your records via various postcode and postal forwarding services, it is worthwhile checking to see if any of your supporters could provide you with larger donations and support. There are various companies around that can provide these services for you.

I remember hearing of a case whereby a regular donor had only ever been approached for £50 a year and that’s exactly what he donated. However once his wealth was identified he gladly paid for a new wing of a hospital. I met the team from UK Changes who work within the education sector at NFP Technology and I was impressed by their passion, attitude and professionalism.

Gift aid - get claiming

Even if, initially, you only do a relatively small amount of fundraising, as demands dictate this need will grow. Recording donations and claiming the gift aid on a regular basis is important. I know examples of schools and charities that have been able to purchase vital equipment sooner just by sending in their gift aid claims more regularly.

Fundraising sources

Your fundraising activities may come from various sources including; grant applications, legacies, events, mailing and donations and all of these types of activities can be recorded and income monitored via your database software.

Allocating funds

Some donors prefer to identify where they wish their monies to be spent and their own individual history/profile can also be recorded within your database. However, remember to advise all donors of how their past donations are being utilised to secure their longer term commitment.

Can you access your school’s business intelligence?

Many schools are probably totally unaware just how much valuable business intelligence is stored within antiquated systems which they cannot access. By moving to a more sophisticated modern system, in many cases, within a short period of being installed, it could have paid for itself in terms of opening up structured communication and recording and increase of donations.

Sponsors and grants

Sometimes local businesses will consider sponsoring the funding of an IT project and a new database system is as good a starting point as any. I would strongly recommend engaging the services of a consultant who can advise you on what grants are available, write your bids and submit your grant applications for you.

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