Staying in touch with Canadian alumni all over the world


Let’s start with the good news: Canadian alumni are in demand! Roughly 1-in-40 recent graduates between the ages of 21-25 leave home to work abroad.

Canadian colleges and universities are also popular among international students. Often, they choose to return home for great job opportunities upon graduation. In 2015, there were over 350,000 international students at Canadian schools, and that number is believed to have grown since.

Of course, this creates a challenge for your advancement department. With such diverse students and a high number living all over the world, how can you stay in touch with relevant messaging?

Here, we explore the data about these Canadian students to help you plan effective advancement strategies:

Where are Canadian alumni going?

Canadian alumni live abroad all over the world, but the majority reside in four main countries: the United States, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, and Australia. Another large portion of international students who will eventually return home come from other Asian nations including India, Japan, and South Korea.

All in all, this means that a large portion of your potential advancement donations could come from unique regions. Unless you want to miss a meaningful proportion of students in your campaigns, it's important to plan accordingly.

How to capture donations from across the globe?

With alumni residing in different countries comes a host of data and payment challenges.

For one, these individuals are likely to give in their local currency. Most payment processing solutions can convert a payment into your organization’s currency, though it is worth noting that the donor will see face additional fees.

If a high proportion of your donations come from abroad, you may want to consider offering a multi-currency donation experience. Then, your organization can accept any donations in your supporter’s preferred currency, and prevent them from facing any additional charges. This change can help ensure a great donor experience and encourage repeat gifts and pledges.

How can you reach Canadian alumni abroad?

Before you can capture a donation, you need to engage and steward your alumni. When they’re living all over the world, that can be difficult.

Traditional outreach methods like telemarketing and direct mail are expensive and ineffective across borders. Email is one option, as your recipients will open the communication whenever it is convenient for them in their time zone. But as time goes on and your alumni move further away, it may take more personal outreach to grab their attention. For that, social media can be a more effective tool.

Creating a social media strategy

Before you can start engaging alumni abroad, you'll need to determine which areas of social media to focus on. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may all be popular, but it’s LinkedIn where you’ll find the audience you seek in a mindset to connect directly with your school’s advancement department.

LinkedIn is a vast channel, and anyone who visits the website will see job postings, career updates, promotions, and a whole lot more. You can cut through the clutter with a consistent approach and strategy. By connecting to your alumni, you'll be able to learn their goals and opportunities, and then can communicate with them when the time is right.

Leveraging LinkedIn for alumni engagement

We've put together a great free tool to help you engage alumni on LinkedIn - wherever they happen to be. Download our 10 free message templates and you'll have easy-to-use messages ready to go when an opportunity presents itself.