The Top 5 Best Alumni Database Software for Your Organization
Alumni database software is a form of nonprofit database that allows educational organizations to stay connected with their alumni through content engagement, special events, and fundraisers.
No two institutions are exactly alike and therefore they all will have their own unique needs. However, there are some features that are necessary to promote engagement and create a superior user experience. In this guide, we will share which features are must-haves for your institution, as well as offer some of the best software company choices available for 2022!
- The Benefits of Using Database Software
- What Features to Look for in Your Alumni Database Software
- Best Virtual Features Package: Graduway
- Best Software for Integrations: Hivebrite
- Best Software for Large or Complex Organizations: Wild Apricot
- Best Specialized Software: Almabase
- Best Overall Software: Springly
- Final Thoughts
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The Benefits of Using Alumni Database Software
Alumni database software allows educational organizations to easily interact with their alumni community through the use of tools like automated data fields, donation tracking, and event management. There are benefits to both the institution as well as former students. These include:
Data collection and analysis to provide a better experience, as well as target fundraising for greater donations
The capacity to create small groups and communities for alumni to keep in touch via special interests they share
The ability to send out personalized bulk emails to any number of different groups for social events, fundraisers, and reunions
Automation that saves time and money for staff, and keeps a tighter record
The capacity to support robust networking opportunities
What Features to Look For In Your Alumni Database Software
Obviously, the software and tools you choose will depend on the size, complexity, and budget of your particular institution. You have to strike the right balance between need, functionality, and price point. However, there are several alumni management system features whose benefits outweigh the cost and are therefore worth a bit of a splurge. Here are some must-haves for your organization.
Corinne is taking note of features to look for in her database software!
A Strong Interactive Member Directory
Ditch paper directories and Excel spreadsheets. Keeping member data up-to-date is essential to all aspects of alumni management, including fundraising. It is worth the price of a database to make sure that you capture each and every person in your alumni network. Record their recent location, giving history, and preferred events to optimize member experience and increase your bottom line.
Fundraising does much more than just bring in much-needed cash; it also forges bonds between an educational institution and its supporters while boosting overall morale. To ensure that your staff has the time to create, plan, and execute the very best experiences for your alumni, use software that offers fundraising management tools that save on administrative tasks. Your platform should:
Process payments and donations
Have a variety of templates and design tools to create fundraising pages quickly and easily
Generate donation reports in real time
Allow for easy and targeted promotion
Offer a charitable contributions database template
Event Management With Both Live and Virtual Capabilities
Anyone who has worked at an educational organization knows that fundraising is strongly connected to events. Therefore you want a system that has the capabilities for managing both live and virtual fundraisers. An event registration database should offer ticketing and an interactive events calendar, as well as accommodate online payments, targeted emails to groups, and social media integrations for any relevant promotions.
To create strong bonds between groups of alumni (and by proxy the institution itself), you want software that allows for the creation of community groups within the existing alumni network. Custom online groups can really personalize the alumni experience and allow for narrowly targeted fundraising and event promotions as well.
Pro Tip: Groups can be based on things like location, chapter, field of study, or fraternity and sorority. These groups can have perks like live news feeds, resource centers, and dedicated events for their members.
A Job Board
An essential asset for your alumni is an updated job board. Your platform should offer capabilities to share available jobs, add external job feeds, allow members to search for jobs using relevant filters, and set up alerts for relevant jobs.
Metrics and Analytics
The best way to optimize your alumni communications is to understand your target audience. There is no better way to do this than by using automated data analysis. Discover new directions for your engagement strategy by tracking shares, likes, clicks, and comments across a number of channels.
Some platforms will collect all of these actions, and then create an engagement score based on the parameters set by your community manager. By using reports generated along the lines of these metrics, your team can create targeted engagement campaigns to keep alumni participation strong.
Best Virtual Features Package: Graduway
This UK-based software company is well known for providing solid across-the-board virtual community management for schools, colleges, universities, and nonprofits. They offer powerful real-time video networking and even virtual alumni mentoring to take your organization to the next level of online presence. Because they consider themselves first and foremost a future-forward brand, their tools are strong in promoting a virtual path for your institution.
This software is ideal for organizations that are looking to really digitize their brand. They do not offer a ton of support for in-person events, so it may not be ideal for some smaller institutions, or those that are heavily involved in their local community.
Best Software for Integrations: Hivebrite
Working out of Paris, France, and New York City, Hivebrite is a software company that is dedicated to comprehensive alumni engagement in all areas. While they have a robust internal system, they also offer an excellent array of integrations with other software. This includes Blackbaud net community CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Linkedin, Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Google Workspace, Google Calendar, Paypal, Salesforce, Sendgrid, Stripe, and Zendesk. They also have a mobile app available to access their tools right from your phone.
Best Software for Large or Complex Organizations: Wild Apricot
Personify by Wild Apricot is a strong profile database software that works with large nonprofits and educational institutions. While a bit pricey, they offer a free trial so that your organization can decide whether the software meets your needs. They are an all-in-one solution that manages your database, automates email, and streamlines all aspects of fundraising.
Matthew is checking out Wild Apricot!
Wild Apricot offers tons of customization across all aspects of your alumni network: create your own membership levels, mobile-friendly website design (with easy-to-use design tools), online fundraising events, text-to-give campaigns, and targeted email blasts.
Best Specialized Software: Almabase
Almabase is a software company that puts a strong focus on driving alumni engagement. They streamline both online and in-person fundraising events and offer the tools to create a successful fundraiser. Their software has a robust communication component, with alumni message boards, social media integrations, and personalized event itineraries to ensure that engagement remains high online and in real time.
Best Overall Software: Springly
Springly (that's us!) is already well-known as the best database software for small to medium sized nonprofits, but did you know that we offer alumni management software as well? Our all-in-one system offers powerful 100% customizable CRM, robust event management software, membership communications, fundraising features, personalized website building tools, and much more.
Springly’s features work together seamlessly to give your organization a user-friendly experience. Even those without tech experience can build a website, set up fundraising events, and track key metrics. Create and manage both virtual and live events with ease.
Because we work with the smaller nonprofit in mind, Springly also has a strong commitment to providing solutions to every organization. We offer tiered support, starting with our free offer ideal for online payment, to a full plan that provides you access to every feature available. You can even choose whether to pass online payments to members via the tipping method or pay transaction fees through your organization. A strong customer service team with individual support rounds out this small software powerhouse.
The success of your organization is directly linked to your alumni engagement strategy. The best way to optimize this strategy is to really know your alumni and what drives them. Alumni database software makes gathering this data easy and keeps your records up to date for the best community interactions.
With the insights gained from data-based strategies, your institution will know integral information like how often and by what format your alumni want to be contacted, which kinds of events they will attend, and what benefits they find most valuable. Not only will surveying and populating a main database boost your fundraising success, it will demonstrate to your alumni community that their alma mater understands and cares about their needs.
Finally, offering a platform on which former students can stay in touch, communicate, and make professional contacts will keep interest in your programs strong. By offering the best in personalization and quality communication tools you ensure the continued success of your educational programs in years to come.
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💡How do I create an alumni database?
There are a number of ways you can create an alumni database, from using paper files to spreadsheets. However, the easiest and most effective way to create and manage an alumni database is to use alumni database software that is created specifically for the task. Find out more.
🔑 How do you manage alumni?
Managing alumni is really about gathering and using data to determine what they want and need in an alumni community. The more information you gather, and the more data analysis, the better you can create a picture of what needs to be offered. Find out more.
📝 How do you gather alumni information?
The simplest answer is: Ask. Alumni surveys can be sent via targeted email campaigns, or information can be gathered at alumni events. Be sure that you ask for this information in such a way as to convey that you are doing so to offer the best experience possible. That your goal is to offer only the services they want and need. Find out more.