For a number of college students, the walk across the graduation stage marks the last involvement they have on campus. Alumni networks represent a great resource for those brandishing fresh alumni status, but what else can be done to keep former students in tune with their alma mater?
Fred Emery, Heartland’s vice president of sales, suggests that an Alumni OneCard could provide an added level of involvement. Issuing a card to each graduate may seem like a dubious concept, but it’s an investment that Emery feels is well worth it.
In a recent Heartland blog post, Emery explains that despite the cost associated with issuing a new card, there are a number of benefits that Alumni cards can provide.
First, an alumni card Keeps graduates connected. By providing an Alumni OneCard, Emery explains that graduate may continue to attend athletic or cultural events, many of which have a gate fee or charge. Moreover the boost in attendance can add to the university’s revenue stream.
Marketing is another advantage to an alumni card. If offered as an opt-in card, Emery suggests that graduates could be prompted to receive email alerts or marketing material when applying for an Alumni OneCard. A boost to marketing penetration can help increase awareness and attendance of campus events.
Another source of revenue could come from the card itself by charging a $5 or $10 fee for additional features. The card could allow alums to make purchases on campus from the bookstore, dining facilities or at the stadium concession stands. As Emery explains, a certain percentage of the card fee can go to the card office or could be used for scholarship funds.
Another benefit to the Alumni OneCard is that it can extend benefits on campus. As Emery suggests, an alumni card could provide alums with continued access to recreation centers or computer labs on campus – services that could either be complimentary, or offered for an additional fee.
By requiring an Alumni OneCard to access these added benefits, the card itself gains value to the cardholder. Emery takes this idea a step further be suggesting that alumni cards could offer special services to those with the such as a preferred seating area at games or reduced ticket prices to increase attendance.
Finally, Emery explains that the Alumni OneCard’s biggest benefit to the campus comes in the form of development. Nearly every university in the country relies on its alumni for for funding and donations that are then used to improve the institution. It would make sense that the alum who feels more connected to the campus is more likely to donate to their alma mater.
Regardless of how it’s used, an Alumni OneCard is certainly an interesting concept. As Emery rightly points out, an alumni credential can instill within recent graduates a sense of connectedness that could go beyond what a standard alumni network can provide.
For more, read Fred Emery’s full blog post here.