Using Ice Skating and LinkedIn to Enhance Alumni Relationships

Have you ever noticed that people don’t need to be told where to go once they are on the ice at a public skating rink? Everyone starts skating (or in my case – falling) in the same direction around the rink without having to given instructions. They don’t even post signs or paint arrows under the ice. Everyone intuitively understands that by skating in the same direction we’ll all have a good time.

When you put a group of like-minded people together in the right environment, they tend to start heading in the same direction without needing to be told what to do. The same can be true for your alumni. Frankly, the direction in which they skate is irrelevant. Here’s the punch line:

As long as your alumni are skating together they will find a way to create value for the group, the communities in which they live and – by extension – your college.

They key is to get your alumni on the ice together and let them take it from there. While there are many ways to approach this concept with your alumni, LinkedIn (specifically the Groups feature) is a great platform for doing so. In addition to being free, it eliminates geographic barriers that keep your alumni from interacting with one another. Additionally, LinkedIn will be appealing to your alumni given the professional networking opportunities.

Here are six easy steps to getting started:

1. Create a LinkedIn Account

If you College or Foundation does not already have an account, you will need to create one and share management access with the appropriate staff members.

2. Create the Alumni Group

Creating a group is fairly easy and can be done in less than half an hour. While you can and should create multiple groups for various professions, I recommend starting with one and growing from there as you develop your own best practices.

3. Recruit Group Leaders

The key is having the group created and moderated by alumni. Recruit a few alumni to lead the charge on bringing the group together. Let them set the tone of discussions, goals, projects, etc. Remember, the idea is to let the group evolve organically.

4. Provide Resources

Be sure to provide Group Leader with alumni contact lists and other helpful resources so they can reach out to peers on LinkedIn to invite them to participate in the group.

5. Check In

Certainly you will want to stay in touch with the Group leaders to support them as needed and it’s even okay to join the conversation on occasion. Keep in mind, however, the purpose of the LinkedIn Alumni Groups is to give your alumni ownership of the their interactions with one-another.

6. Don’t Ask for Anything

Avoid the temptation to flood the Alumni Groups on LinkedIn with volunteer opportunities and event invitations. Doing so may have the opposite effect and could discourage active involvement in the group if they feel tricked into being a captive audience. Over time, participation in the group will enhance their affinity for your college and increase their support and participation.

If you’re not sure how to use LinkedIn Groups or would like to talk through some of the finer details of the strategy, leave a comment or feel free to email me at james@rgs24.com. I will gladly spend a little time helping you get started.

Leave a Comment

We thought you might like...

Community College Summit Survival Guide Download
A community summit is a highly structured event whereby community and business leaders, elected officials and educators…
Downloaded 36 times.
Community College Fundraising Campaign
Preparing for a second campaign for any community college is in many ways similar to preparing…
Downloaded 28 times.
How to Prepare an RFP
It is a pleasure for a fundraising firm to respond to well-constructed RFP’s because it not…
Downloaded 36 times.
Make-More-Money-From-Your-Alumni-Thumbnail
Have you adapted you fundraising methodologies to the status changes in your alumni? Recognizing the differences…
Downloaded 33 times.

More from Our Blog

View all projects

Subscribe to Our Blog

Each week, our team of experts will put share their experiences, tips and viewpoints in all areas of higher education consulting, leadership, and fundraising. We're a team that consists of tenured individuals who have made it their life’s work to help solve some of the issues surrounding community colleges today. Some of our topics include:

  • How to connect and establish relationships with your alumni
  • Ways to create impact with all generations of people
  • How to raise more on a tight budget
  • How to properly manage your reputation online
  • Ways to prepare for a feasibility study
  • And more!