Higher Education
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Alumni donor management made easy with Salesforce

Managing alumni relationships isn’t easy. Operating in sprawling spreadsheets, handwritten notes, and scattered data is even harder. Salesforce, an alumni donor management platform, can solve these challenges. Tailored by SaltClick’s higher education expertise, Salesforce can simplify alumni management and fundraising at your college or university.

University students
What we’ll cover in this post:
  • What is alumni management?
  • How Salesforce transforms the way you connect with your alumni community.
  • The benefits of using Salesforce for alumni donor management and fundraising.
  • Case studies: Three universities using Salesforce’s alumni management and fundraising solutions.

We’ll equip you with the tools you need to reach alumni at the right time and channels with the most relevant messages. Let’s explore how alumni management with Salesforce can empower your educational institution to build stronger, longer-lasting relationships with your valued alumni.

What is alumni management?

Alumni management covers the tools and tactics educational institutions use to sustain meaningful connections with their former constituents. These can include former students, past employees, or previous program participants.

Salesforce Education Cloud

The goal of alumni management is to nurture engagement and loyalty within the alumni community. By implementing platforms like Salesforce, colleges and universities can build mutually beneficial relationships that extends well beyond their first interaction.

The role of alumni in an organization

Let’s look at how alumni can benefit you educational institution.

  • Advocacy: Be enthusiastic supporters, promoting you school’s mission and values.
  • Networking: A ready-made network of connections that can help with recruitment, partnerships, and collaborations.
  • Mentorship: Guide current members or students, sharing their experiences and expertise.
  • Donors and Supporters: Be donors, sponsors, or supporters of your school, contributing financially and with their time.
  • Brand Ambassadors: Enhance your school’s reputation and brand image through their own successes and achievements.

Challenges in alumni management

Despite the potential benefits, alumni management presents several challenges that organizations must overcome:

  • Scattered data: Alumni data is often in multiple databases and platforms, making it difficult to maintain a unified and up-to-date record.
  • Personalization: Personalizing interactions with alumni is challenging and time-consuming when relying on manual processes and with limited insights into their preferences.
  • Timing and Relevance: Reaching out to alumni at the right time and with messages that resonate with their interests is challenging with automation.
  • Communication Channels: Identifying the most effective communication channels for different alumni segments without a CRM like Salesforce is virtually impossible, leading to missed opportunities.
  • Engagement and Retention: Keeping alumni engaged and connected over the long term is an obstacle as their as interest may wane over time.

Implementing tools that help you tap into the full potential of your alumni network is beyond valuable. In the next section, we’ll explore how Salesforce can tackle these challenges and maximize the benefits of alumni engagement.

Salesforce for alumni donor management

Salesforce is a top Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that offers a wide range of features for managing relationships, interactions, and data. Over time, it’s evolved into a platform that can be customized to meet the needs of alumni management.

Alumni at a college event

Let’s look at what Salesforce has to offer colleges and universities:

Features and Benefits for Alumni Management
Alumni donor management Salesforce
  • Centralized Data: Salesforce creates a single source of truth for alumni data, eliminating the problem of scatter information.
  • Segmentation: Enables you to group alumni based on factors like graduation year, location, interests, engagement history, and more.
  • Automation: Enables your educational institution to send personalized messages, event invitations, and updates to alumni at scale.
  • Analytics: Salesforce’s reporting and analytics tools give a clear window into alumni engagement to help you make data-backed decisions.
  • Integration: Seamlessly connects with other tools and platforms, so you can integrate your alumni engagement efforts with other parts of your operation.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Has mobile applications, so alumni managers can access and update information on the go.
  • Security: Salesforce prioritizes data security and compliance, making it an ideal option for managing sensitive alumni information.

Why choose Salesforce for alumni management

There are many reasons why colleges and universities choose Salesforce for to alumni donor management. Here are a few of the most compelling ones:

  • Scalability: Salesforce can grow with your organization. It’s designed to fit the needs of small colleges and large universities.
  • Customizability: Lets schools tailor the platform to their specific alumni engagement strategies.
  • Proven Success: Many educational institutions, nonprofits, and businesses have successfully used Salesforce for alumni management.
  • Community and Support: Salesforce has a helpful community and loads of support resources like Trailhead that make it easier to learn and optimize.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Salesforce helps you consolidate redundant technologies and save money by streamlining processes.
  • Partner Network: Salesforce has a vast network of implementation partners and higher education specialists who can tailor the CRM to your needs.

Setting up Salesforce for alumni management

Getting started with Salesforce for alumni management involves the following steps, but is smoother with a Salesforce implementation partner.

Salesforce fundraising man and woman with a laptop
  • Needs Assessment: Identify your requirements and objectives for alumni management within Salesforce.
  • License Selection: Choose Salesforce products and licenses based on your organization’s size and needs.
  • User Training: Train your team members or admins on using Salesforce effectively for alumni management.
  • Data Migration: Move existing alumni data into Salesforce for data integrity and accuracy.
  • Configuration: Set up the basic Salesforce configurations like user profiles and access controls.
  • Customization: Customize Salesforce fields, layouts, and processes to align with your alumni engagement strategies.
  • Workflow Automation: Create workflows and automation rules to streamline tasks like alumni communication and event management.
  • Testing: Thoroughly test the system to ensure that it meets your organization’s needs.
  • Rollout Plan: Develop a plan for launching Salesforce for alumni management across your organization.

Customizing Salesforce for Alumni Engagement

Customization is a key aspect of setting up Salesforce for effective alumni engagement. Our team specializes in customization and can mold Salesforce to your needs.

  • Data Model: Define custom objects, fields, and relationships to store alumni-specific information, such as graduation year, major, and engagement history.
  • Page Layouts: Create custom page layouts to ensure that your team has easy access to the most relevant alumni data.
  • Reports and Dashboards: Build customized reports and dashboards to track alumni engagement metrics and key performance indicators.
  • Email Templates: Design personalized email templates for alumni communication, including event invitations, newsletters, and updates.
  • Automation Rules: Set up automation rules to trigger actions based on alumni behavior, such as sending follow-up emails after event attendance.
  • Experience Cloud sites: If applicable, customize Experience Cloud sites to give alumni access to a self-service platform.
  • Mobile Access: Customize Salesforce’s mobile features to meet your team’s and alumni’s on-the-go needs.

Salesforce tools for alumni engagement

Salesforce offers a range of tools and features to drive alumni engagement:

  • Email Marketing: Salesforce Marketing Cloud enables your school to create and send personalized email campaigns to alumni segments.
  • Automation: Automation rules and workflows trigger personalized responses and follow-ups based on alumni behavior.
  • Event Management: Use Salesforce to plan and manage alumni events, from registration to post-event follow-up.
  • Experience Cloud Sites: Salesforce Experience Cloud sites are online communities where alumni can engage with each other and your educational institution.
  • Analytics: Salesforce Analytics gives you easy-to-digest insight into alumni engagement metrics, so you can make better decisions faster.
  • Social Media Integration: Connect Salesforce with social media platforms to monitor alumni engagement and gather insights.

Salesforce focuses on relationship-building. It comes with automation and personalization features that enable colleges and universities to cultivate an active alumni community.

Key performance indicators for alumni management

How do you know if your alumni donor management strategy is working? You measure it. here are a few metrics you can track with Salesforce.

  • Engagement Rate: Measure how actively alumni participate in events, mentoring programs, or volunteer opportunities.
  • Donation and Fundraising Metrics: Monitor donation amounts, frequency, and donor retention rates.
  • Event Attendance: Track attendance at alumni events and gatherings.
  • Membership Growth: Measure the growth of alumni associations or online communities.
  • Survey Feedback: Assess alumni satisfaction and feedback through post-engagement surveys.
  • Social Media Metrics: Analyze social media engagement, such as likes, shares, and comments on alumni-related content.
  • Alumni Advocacy: Monitor alumni advocacy efforts, such as referrals, testimonials, or participation in alumni-led initiatives.
  • Career Success: Track alumni career achievements, job placements, and industry recognition.
  • Mentorship Outcomes: Measure the impact of mentorship programs by evaluating mentee progress and success.
  • Data Quality: Regularly assess data quality, including data accuracy, completeness, and update frequency.

Salesforce alumni management and fundraising case studies

Let’s look at real-world examples of how Salesforce has empowered educational institutions to effectively manage their alumni networks, streamline operations, and drive fundraising efforts.

Purdue for Life Foundation (PFLF)

Purdue University recognized the need to boost alumni engagement and advancement opportunities. They established the Purdue for Life Foundation by merging their development office and alumni association. Salesforce played a pivotal role in their transformation:

PFLF harnessed Salesforce to consolidate data, streamline communication, and optimize resource management. The adoption of a unified platform allowed for better data visibility and operational efficiency. Salesforce facilitated the creation of a constituent-facing portal, enabling donors to access gifts, the alumni directory, and register for events. With approximately 400 Salesforce users within PFLF, the organization also implemented Salesforce Marketing Cloud for email campaigns and improved communications.mSalesforce Einstein and Tableau CRM are instrumental for reporting and analytics.mPFLF’s mission extends beyond education, as they grant an average of 15,000 wishes annually to children with critical illnesses.

University of California, Irvine (UCI)
Group of female and male college students

UCI embarked on a journey to modernize its advancement and alumni relations processes. They chose Salesforce Education Cloud to gain a holistic view of alumni, donors, parents, and volunteers, aiming to enhance engagement across various facets:

UCI initiated a comprehensive transformation and culture shift within the Division of University Advancement and Alumni Relations. Salesforce products like Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Einstein Analytics, and Community Cloud were seamlessly integrated to provide a unified experience.mThird-party applications, integrated with Salesforce, bolstered event management and social media monitoring. Salesforce enabled UCI to streamline workflows, a crucial benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic, facilitating remote work.The transition to Salesforce significantly enhanced visibility, accessibility, and the speed of processing donor data.

Westmont College

Westmont College embarked on its Salesforce journey in 2009 with the goal of driving technological innovation and establishing a responsive data platform. Over the years, they expanded Salesforce usage to cover the entire student lifecycle, leading to impressive outcomes:

Westmont created the CATLab program, empowering students to build software solutions using Salesforce and gain real-world experience. Salesforce became an integral part of daily operational activities, and a student portal was established on Experience Cloud. Seamless integration with third-party applications enhanced communication via SMS and event management. The adoption of Salesforce streamlined the processing of online gifts, drastically reducing processing times. Students played a pivotal role in shaping how Westmont College utilizes Salesforce, contributing to innovation and efficiency. The institution witnessed substantial fundraising success, raising over $200 million in just seven years.

Key takeaways from Salesforce in Education:

  1. Salesforce unifies data, streamlines operations, and enhances engagement in education.
  2. A cultural shift and process changes are crucial when adopting Salesforce.
  3. Third-party app integration improves communication and data management.
  4. Salesforce is invaluable in crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Involving students and stakeholders drives innovation.
  6. Salesforce boosts fundraising efforts for educational institutions.

In short, Salesforce empowers educational institutions to drive successful alumni engagement and fundraising strategies at scale.

Future trends in alumni management and Salesforce

Looking ahead, the future of alumni management with Salesforce holds exciting possibilities:

  • AI-Driven Insights: Salesforce will continue to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to provide data-driven donor insights, enabling institutions to make informed decisions and personalize engagement at scale.
  • Advanced Personalization: Expect more advanced personalization features in Salesforce to tailor alumni engagement efforts across social, web, email, and mobile channels.
  • Increased Automation: Automation will play an even more significant role, simplifying processes, streamlining online giving experiences, and saving valuable time for staff.

Salesforce equips educational institutions with features and capabilities for advanced alumni management. As case studies and our experience have shown, those who use it see drive higher engagement, streamline operations, and enhance fundraising success.

Additional resources

Links to Salesforce resources for educational institutions:

Have questions about alumni donor management?

We're happy to answer your questions and show you how we can simplify alumni relationship management at your organization. Contact sales.

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