This is the third in a three-part series focusing on creating meaningful connections and this post will focus on your alumni base. Whether you’re involved with a high school, club, or collegiate level team…you have alumni and they more than likely have very fond memories of their time with your organization. The key is engaging them in meaningful contact and conversation and not always being worried about what’s in their wallet.
Come together: We all have natural gathering points that we should focus on. For high schools and universities, Homecoming is a great time to focus on…have an alumni game and a reception for your sport’s alums and encourage them to bring their families. Everyone loves to catch up…why not have them catch up at your event? For club directors, the beginning of club season could be a gold mine for bringing former players back into the fold. Have them speak at your parent’s meetings, if they can’t be there…maybe their parents can be. I can’t imagine you have any parents in your system that aren’t more worried about their child’s experience than her playing time…your parent alums can speak on that subject.
Strategic scheduling: How about scheduling games near your biggest alumni base of support? If you’re a northern team, but have a big influx of folks from the west coast, why not schedule a weekend out there and notify your alums & parents out west? Find your most boisterous and well-connected alum and put them in charge of rounding other alumni up and having some sort of gathering where they can catch up with their classmates and also meet the new team members and coaching staff. They will appreciate being able to see the team in action and you will get a real connection with supportive alumni.
Connecting for the financially strapped: I’m sure you know what I’m about to say, but I’ll say it anyway. Send your alums electronic newsletters and link them to your team’s webpage. Create a Facebook fan page so that your alumni can “like” your team…or a Twitter account so that they can follow you. Maybe you could pick a home game to honor your alums, bring them out and have them announced, then have some sort of meet & greet thing afterward.
I started off this post saying that your alumni need to believe that you want to be in contact with them even if they don’t donate a penny. That being said, all of the work you put in to create good will should pay off with a more financially involved and supportive alumni base. Most folks are still giving to churches and charities because they have a reason why…we’ve got to give our alums a reason to give and show them that their support is both needed and appreciated.
What is your club or college doing to connect with its alums? I’d love to hear what folks are doing!