In today’s world, alumni are being pulled in many directions and have many options when it comes to joining professional organizations. Alumni are being solicited not only by their alma mater, but by professional trade associations, networking groups, religious affiliations, social organizations and other related commitments. Many alumni associations are experiencing decreased numbers at in-person networking events as the competition engages them with other alternatives. As the needs of alumni change, it is imperative that alumni associations continue to reevaluate their networking strategies to meet the changing needs of their alumni. Each year new resources are developed to better help engage people for their specific needs it's important to stay up-to-date on new event trends for your alumni organization.
With that said, there is one thing that has remained constant, which is the value of face-to-face connections. In a recent Harvard Business Review Survey, "95% of participants said that face-to-face meetings are a key factor in successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships". What are you doing to ensure 95% of your alumni base is making quality face-to-face connections?
One key step is to ensure you are diversifying your event offerings. Blending online social resources, educational events (i.e. speakers, webinars, etc..) and structured in person networking events in a basic framework to maximize your reach within the alumni network and provide multiple avenues for alumni to connect with one another.
As we conduct research among university and college alumni associations, we have found that many of them still host the same type of traditional events that they were hosting 20 years ago (networking receptions, cocktail mixers, etc.). While these events are simple and comfortable, are they truly helping achieve the networking objectives? Often times, the answer is "No". Perhaps it is time to consider swapping your cocktail mixer with a structured speed networking program. Speed Networking is one of the fastest growing forms of networking in the world and if you Google “Speed networking and alumni association” you’ll find over 127,000 results! Thousands of colleges and universities around the world are producing speed networking events as well. There are a variety of reasons for this shift, as it A) fulfills the needs of engaging local alumni with other alumni B) adds structure to events to ensure time is maximized, which is increasingly important in this fast-paced world and C) It’s more cost effective then you think! Speed Networking events often cost less than traditional networking events.
SpeedNetworking.com has been the pioneer in hosting speed networking programs for alumni associations of all sizes. Additionally, we work with professional trade associations, Fortune 100 corporations and prestigious networking organizations around the world. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help make a significant impact for your alumni and students!