Alumni Data Maintenance Vs Data Appends Vs Data Refresh: What is the difference and which does my university need?
Advancement, Development, Prospect Research, and Alumni Relations offices are all under pressure to keep driving donations and gifts to support their universities.
Alumni Data quality sits at the heart of all of this. Without up-to-date alumni data, how can you engage with alumni you are seeking donations from? The key to unlocking donor contributions is personalization—segmenting alumni and customizing outreach to most effectively engage past students. However, advancement offices can only personalize their messages and audience segmentation with the information they have available. Incomplete or outdated alumni databases can cause alumni departments to miss out on valuable engagement opportunities.
Many Universities and Colleges struggle to keep a tidy and current alumni database in their CRM. Many obstacles immediately arise. How do you collect the best information on alumni? What are the best SaaS tools to store this data? What are the best workflows? However, maintaining an effective alumni database is well within reach for advancement, prospect research, development, and alumni relations departments. Read on to learn the difference between appending your alumni data, maintaining your alumni data, and refreshing your alumni database. Identify lost alumni, select the best infrastructure for management, and collect the most valuable data to better understand and communicate with your alumni.
I. Alumni Employment Data Appends
What is it?
A full alumni data append is when a university or institution wants to append ALL of their alumni data with certain data points that are identifiable on the internet’s search engines.
When is it right for you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- When was the last time you did a full data append?
- Has it been more than 1-2 years?
- What systems/regulations/teams are in place to manage updating records?
The first question to always ask is ‘When was the last full data append done?’ Often times universities will append their data every year, but some opt to do so every 2 years, while others have never done one at all…
This is important because if you’ve done a data append within the last year, it doesn’t make any sense to re-append every single record...This will cost much more than you need since the average job change rate per University is 15-20% every year.
What if I did an append was done about a year ago, will I have stale alumni data?
Is it possible to append-only 1 year worth of job changes? 2 years?
Yes - AlumniFOX has the ability to append only 1 year’s worth of Job Changes or 2 years or 5 or 10...We understand that not every record in your database needs to be appended. So if your last data append was two years ago, don’t waste valuable dollars appending every record, instead, pick a data provider that can segment by “years in current position or company”
What is the winning formula?
If you have never done a data append - you should. You will see a drastic increase in open rates, reply rates, and ultimately donations to your university.
Starting with a full data append and then creating a data maintenance system to pick up all job changes in the future, is the winning formula.
II. Alumni Employment Data Maintenance
What is it?
Rather than appending your entire alumni database, many universities are looking for a solution to focus only on the NEW JOB CHANGES moving forward.
Here is a quick calculation you can do to see how many Job Changes will occur on a yearly, quarterly, or monthly basis:
Total Number of Alumni * 15% = Yearly Change Rate
200,000 Alumni * 15% = 30,000 job changes
Quarterly rate (divide by 4): 7,500
Monthly (divide by 12): 2,500
Focusing on the net new job changes monthly/quarterly, all of a sudden becomes a lot more manageable than the entire database...
When is it right for you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself if Alumni data maintenance is right for you:
- Was my last alumni data append done within the last year?
- Am I currently manually trying to update employment/b2b contact info every month?
- Is my team spending way too much time on data entry?
III. Alumni Employment Data Refresh
What is it?
An alumni data refresh is a combination of the two above, with some nuance. Deciding whether or not this is the right option for your team, budget, and tech stack is the first most important step. Much depends on the data quality you ALREADY HAVE to determine if a data refresh system makes sense. If you have the minimum requirement, then this option makes the most sense.
Here are some questions to ask if it is right for you:
- In your alumni database, what is the % of LinkedIn profiles you have attached to each record in the database?
- Of the ones without a LinkedIn profile, what % of the remaining records have past company/employer attached to the record?
- How often do you want to refresh your database?
- Do you want to refresh the entire database or a specific segment?
The alumni employment data refresh works best with universities that have already done many data appends in the past, and have top of the line data quality.
If you have:
- 30%+ accurate LinkedIn profiles attached to each record
- 50%+ accurate past employment data
The manner in which you approach a data append is as much a function of your current database accuracy than anything else. So, get in touch with AlumniFOX and we can help you understand which solution makes the most sense for you!