You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Alumni Experience Doesn't Have to Suck; How Mizzou Is Building a Powerful Alumni Network

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 6/10/2015 Chirag Kulkarni

If you're like most, your alumni experience is most likely a combination of emails, cold calls, and snail mail asking you for money. In short, Alumni experience is pretty pitiful after you leave the nest of fraternity parties, homecoming parades, and engaging events. While this has been the traditional way schools have engaged their alums for years, the results have steadily been decreasing year after year. In fact, it now has reached an all time low, just going under 9%.
As the number of alums giving back keeps decreasing, institutions are becoming more and more worried. Alumni dollars are needed to help schools stay competitive in the education market, and to renovate and improve their campuses. With the numbers getting this low, schools now must come up with new ways to get alums engaged or face serious consequences.
The University of Missouri has come up with a solution that might just solve the problem. The school has partnered with alumni app company Alumnify to build the most advanced alumni app in the market. Alums will be able to use the app to make connections, bring their alumni community with them, and get job opportunities. Once these things are accomplished, alums will give on their own, organically.
The app is set to launch in late October, and while some features must be kept under wraps, I was able to speak to CEO AJ Agrawal and get some insider details. Below is what Mizzou alums can expect in the coming months:
2015-10-05-1444080861-8417094-TO5C9976_1.jpg © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-05-1444080861-8417094-TO5C9976_1.jpg 1.The ability to meet alums face to face in minutes
The app uses geo-technology to show a user all the alums around him or her in real-time. They then can connect with other users based on a list of filters like grad year, major, industry, clubs on campus, and what they want to mentor in.
Once two users connect with each other, the app pulls up every single coffee shop that's close to both of the connected users. From there, they can set an appointment, and it automatically syncs with both the user's calendars. The entire process to get a meeting set is less than 2 minutes.
2.Rewards for going to sporting events like football games
Imagine going to an SEC football game with all your alumni friends. You've been to every game this season, and you're a die-hard fan. As soon as you walk into the stadium your phone goes off.
"Thanks for coming to your fifth Mizzou football game, here's a free sweatshirt for your dedication." You're alumni association then can mail you your gift right to your door.
3.Alumni created meetups
Traveling on business for the weekend and looking for something fun to do? As soon as you get off the plane, open your alumni app and see a list of alumni created events in your area. Things like happy hour get together for alumni from your old fraternity/sorority, or a bunch of alums going to a concert that night is common.
The app shows everyone who's rsvp'd and then provides you with a web that shows you how you're connected to each alum. That way when you enter the meetup, you already know what you have in common. Talk about taking networking up a notch!
2015-10-05-1444080201-6170849-Mizzou3.png © Provided by The Huffington Post 2015-10-05-1444080201-6170849-Mizzou3.png
The design of the app is simple and clean, making it easily apparent that it's an Alumnify built alumni app. Alumnify is known for its user-focused design and innovative features, two characteristics that have made the company stand out in the alumni space.
It'll be interesting to see the affect of Mizzou's mobile app on the alumni space as a whole. An industry that hasn't seen too much innovation in a long time, this could be a big step in the right direction.
While the app has not been released yet, other schools have already started to jump on the advanced mobile app train. Ole Miss, Boise State, FIU, and many other major institutions are also currently working with Alumnify to get their own elite alumni mobile apps, and the numbers continue to grow. Agrawal says that although the company is not actively looking for more clients, the startup expects to have a good amount of the largest schools in America by the year's end.
Because of the technology and originality that goes into each app, it takes more time than other companies for Alumnify to get an app in the store. When talking to Agrawal, however, he wasn't too concerned about the added time needed. "When schools work with us, they expect their product to be the best looking and most engaging alumni app they can find in the market. That's a reputation that we will throw every resource at to protect."
How was your Alumni experience, and how do you think technology will change it?

DEFAULT © Provided by The Huffington Post DEFAULT

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon