Converting Your Grads to Members

If you’re a university or college, it’s extremely important to keep your grads in the fold to ensure your institution’s well-being. No one knows your community and campus culture better than your recent graduates. What’s more, they’re going places. So, keeping them connected in a meaningful way to your community is key in keeping your institution top-of-mind in the industries they will become a part of and lead one day.

The very best way to keep your recent grads affiliated with your college is to get them registered as a member to your AMS. Through your AMS, you can keep them in the know regarding the comings and goings of their alma mater and draw on their influence as they cultivate it throughout their career.

So, the question is, how do you successfully convert recent grads to members of your AMS? The answer – you need to make it clear how they stand to benefit from staying connected instead of just moving on. Fortunately, there’s a lot of value you can offer through an AMS, so showcasing the various ways grads can derive good by joining up won’t be difficult to do.

Below, we have provided a list of value propositions you can offer through your AMS that will ensure becoming a member after graduation is a no-brainer.

Present the Concept
Graduates are in a transitory period of their life. They’ve been empowered with the education and credentials they’ve earned through your institution, and now they’re making a big life (and career) decision on what direction they want to take that expertise in. It’s a confusing and overwhelming time. Frankly, with the amount of choice and lack of experience, grads can feel a little lost. It’s only natural. No one can tell you what direction to go in – each person needs to decide that for themselves. However, they can benefit from guidance. Grads are not averse to garnering guidance and they can get that through your AMS. However, if they don’t know that your institution has cultivated a community for alumni, they won’t join and won’t benefit from the resources at their disposal. Make it known that this post-graduate community exists. Promote it at grad events and even at the graduation itself. Newly minted grads are too busy trying to figure out what their next move will be to find your community on their own. Usher them toward it and they will join.
Career Seminars
Speaking of career advice – your institution should provide and promote seminars that offer members insight on a variety of career strategies. Everything from CV / resume crafting and communication decorum to social media self-marketing and interviewing technique. Some new grads will be interviewing for jobs for the first time, so seminars that provide guidance on certain professional-level skills will be tangibly beneficial to their needs. Make sure recent graduates know these resources exist and where they can be accessed. A grad will become a member if they can draw on your alumni community for value.
Career Opportunities
Job hunting is no easy task, no matter what industry or field you find yourself in. New graduates will be looking to draw on every lead they can to source the right opportunity for them. They’ll certainly make use of all the available job search services but if your alumni association can point its members in the direction of opportunities, that’s certainly good enough reason for grads to capitalize on that advantage. What’s more, there will be a bit more confidence in applying since the jobs your alumni association highlights will be vetted and will therefore be more trustworthy as legitimate and worthy opportunities.
Matchmaking & Mentoring
New grads can benefit quite a bit from someone that has experience in their field that they can build a relationship with and draw on for guidance throughout their career. If you have a healthy alumni association, you’ll have several generations of grads, some at the beginning of their career and some nearing retirement. This is a perfect ecosystem for matchmaking. Informing new grads that you can offer them a community where alumni who are experienced in their field reside is a big deal. Interacting with experienced members and receiving mentorship from them is an invaluable asset in a recent graduate’s arsenal. If grads are aware that there is a pool of experienced alumni just waiting to be tapped, it becomes a no-brainer that they become members of that community.
Staying relevant in your craft can’t be done alone. No matter how in touch someone is with their industry, they can’t keep tabs on every facet of its goings on. The best method in staying up to snuff is staying connected to industry colleagues, and the best way to accomplish that is to associate yourself with the communities they claim membership to – an alumni association being one of the key ones. Keeping a regimen of consistent interaction with your counterparts is integral to staying in the know. Setting that precedent early for recent graduates will aid them throughout their career. Offering grads a fantastic networking experience within your alumni association will attract them to your community and exemplify how much of an advantage it is to stay connected.
Education Never Ends
As an institution of higher learning, I don’t need to go on and on – trying to convince you on the value of providing educational resources. You know that education never ends – you can never know enough. Adding further knowledge to your repertoire is always a great thing – especially for recent grads. Professional development is something everyone should do throughout their career. However, it is particularly beneficial to those just starting their professional life. Since they do not have the experience (yet) to make them a more appealing candidate, tacking on specific knowledge or skills can help them stand out. What’s great about professional development resources is that they tend to be topically worthwhile (not fluff) and can be gained in an expedited fashion. That’s the perfect educational resource for a recently graduated professional. Providing these kinds of resources through your alumni association will ingratiate your community to recent grad prospects.
Specifically Targeted Events
When you’re facilitating an alumni association, your target prospects are (of course) alumni of your institution. Tell me something I don’t know. However, within that target pool, there are subsets and you need to appeal to each of them in a certain way to keep them engaged. New grads, who have just recently become alumni, are one of those subsets. In order to attract graduates to community membership, the alumni association should host targeted events specifically tailored for recently graduated prospects. These get-togethers should be strategically scheduled so they land in and around times of the year when prospects are graduating. Showcasing that the community speaks to its membership is key in attracting and retaining alumni members.
Discounted Dues
This one is pretty straight forward – incentivizing membership by offering reduced entrance fees will be appealing to new grads. The last 4+ years of a graduate’s life have most likely been financially challenging and they have yet to begin the career that will compensate for that investment in themselves. So, where you can make your community more financially attractive, recent grads will be more empowered to opt in.

Know this – your recent graduates want to attach themselves to communities that will provide them with guidance and development. They are craving for a resource that can help them decide on their next steps. All you need to do is show them you exist and that you want to offer them the mentorship they are searching for. If you do that, converting grads to members of your alumni association will be positively academic.

Guild has developed and implemented AMS solutions for industry associations and university / college alumni communities of all shapes and sizes. If you’d like to learn more about Guild, or schedule a live demo of the software, click here.