While mobile apps have been part and parcel of the user experience in many industries for the better part of a decade, higher education institutions are a more recent entrant into the mobile world. In addition to generating information-based apps for undergraduates and potential applicants, many schools are now exploring mobile apps as a means to connect with, service and solicit donations from alumni. This Alumni Monitor Report dives into the alumni app experience, investigating the mobile tools designed to connect alumni and facilitate the giving process.
In particular, this report focuses on the following:
- Available tools and alumni resources
- In-app promotion and facilitation of giving
- Integration with social media platforms
For this report, we profile the available alumni-focused mobile apps from seven Alumni Monitor schools. The schools profiled range from large public institutions to small private colleges with large endowments. From this cross-section of universities, we see an interesting mix of tools and features as many colleges remain unsure of how to position and make use of their mobile app offerings. Each of the schools in this report offers some combination of alumni directory and upcoming event information. A majority – 86% – of schools promote their social media presences via the alumni app, and several encourage linking an alumni profile to one or more social media platforms.
Of particular note are the various approaches universities are taking to alumni giving. Each of the apps we profile promotes alumni giving in some fashion, with three schools offering links to connect to an off-app giving tool. Three schools, however, go a step further, facilitating the donation process directly within the mobile app. Of these three, two try to combat the “fat finger” syndrome common to mobile form completion by offering to import contact information from a social media service (e.g., LinkedIn).
Many of the schools in this report are looking to use apps as a way to foster connections between alumni, as well. To that end, six universities offer a schedule of upcoming events within their alumni-branded app, and 86% include an alumni directory. Of these, the most impressive two schools offer a geolocation-based directory that can help end users find other alumni within a specific radius.
Additional key findings in this report include:
- Five schools are using their apps to promote networking events to alumni
- 29% of universities provide a list of deals for alumni within their mobile apps
- Only one school integrates digital networking capabilities into its app experience