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Uni of Chicago Alumni

Great Alumni Relations case study: The University of Chicago



A well-researched profile of the University of Chicago’s efforts to engage former students by Elyse Dupre in DMNews:

Not every interaction generates an immediate return. Brands often have to engage target audiences multiple times to establish relationships and get them to perform desired actions.

University_of_Chicago_logo.svgTake the University of Chicago, for instance. The school is exploring the benefits of engaging former students through an online learning community to drive donations later down the line.

Emily Bembeneck, associate director of pedagogical innovation for the University of Chicago’s Graham School, said the school’s alumni weren’t “super connected” to their alma mater. Bembeneck wanted to re-engage the university’s alumni and create an “enduring” learning community that would remind them of the positive experiences they had on campus, which would, ultimately, help the University of Chicago meet its long-term fundraising goals.

In addition to increasing the university’s bottom line, Bembeneck wanted the community to be a place where alumni from different graduating classes or degree programs could connect and where the university could collect data on their interests and habits.

As a result, the school implemented Jive’s online community platform and launched its digital learning experience, AlumniU, this past September.

It’s well worth reading the entire piece – there’s lots of background info on the challenges that the university faced, the barriers to user adoption and the necessity of effectively reporting on progress (“it’s important for stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the community’s value and to tell stories through one’s data”).

I’m always on the lookout for good academic references for social collaboration, and this is an excellent use case that can be repeated elsewhere.

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