Expanding Undergraduate Class Reunion Participation at Tufts University

November 2022 — By Keith Hannon

With its origins dating back to the mid-1800s, Tufts University has a strong culture and history spanning hundreds of years. However, like many universities, Tufts is always seeking ways to expand the reach of its alumni network.

With multiple alumni reunions each year, Tufts turned to BrightCrowd to help expand participation and reach of its undergraduate class reunions.

The Importance of Reunion Attendance

Universities host reunions to ultimately drive engagement and boost alumni giving as attendees are more likely to make a gift. But returning to campus for a class reunion is only plausible for a small percentage of invited alumni (typically between 10-20%).

Increasing Class Reunion Participation with BrightCrowd

With 10 class reunions per year, Tufts University strongly believes in the power of alumni events. However, with the demands of reunion planning and changes in participation patterns since the pandemic, Tufts needed a solution that allowed them to expand their class reunion participation without placing a financial burden on the alumni relations department. That’s when Tufts turned to BrightCrowd’s digital memory books.

How Universities Benefit from BrightCrowd

At BrightCrowd, we partner with more than 200 colleges and universities on digital memory books for reunions. These books benefit university alumni relations departments in numerous ways.

Expanded Participation

First and foremost, BrightCrowd books can help improve alumni participation in reunions by 10-15%. Not all alumni have the means, availability, or even desire to travel back to their alma mater for an alumni weekend. BrightCrowd books are open to an unlimited amount of alumni, and as a digital solution, there’s no geographic limitation for who can participate. Participants can set up a page in as little as ten minutes and start reconnecting with their peers no matter where in the world they ended up after college. Plus, for those on the fence about attending, the BrightCrowd book may be that final convincing factor when they see just how many of their classmates will be there in person. Prior to working with BrightCrowd, Tufts only created hard-copy reunion books for their 50th reunion class. Now, Tufts launches 10 books per year.

Additionally, across their BrightCrowd books, Tufts experienced an average participation rate of 50%, engaging a much wider group of alumni than they ever had in years past.

Updated Contact Reports

Every page in a BrightCrowd digital memory book also serves as a fresh, updated contact report, a huge benefit when roughly half of all email addresses in existing alumni databases are typically undeliverable. While traditional contact reports through fundraisers or in-person events can cost universities hundreds per alumni, BrightCrowd’s updated contact reports can cost as little as $5 per participant.

Plus, the quality of the data goes much deeper than traditional contact reports. Rather than simply including generic information such as one’s name, contact information, and current place of employment, Tufts encouraged graduates to incorporate more personal facts relating to their time at the university with customized questions. Individuals were prompted to talk about their most memorable experiences, where they lived on campus, and what student organizations they were involved in. This provides greater insights for the former students and the alumni relations staff.

Replacement of Traditional Printed Books

Creating, printing, and distributing hard-copy books for alumni reunions can be a tedious task. Tufts always invested an inordinate amount of time and even monetary resources into creating traditional printed books for all of their class reunions. BrightCrowd’s digital memory books are fully created by the alumni themselves and serve as a long-lasting artifact of the class reunion long past the event date. They can even be turned into printed books if a university so desires.

Minimal Financial or Time Investment

Tufts University also turned to BrightCrowd books as they are significantly more cost-effective than most other alumni engagement tools. There is minimal effort required from university alumni relations staff as the books take less than an hour to launch. Plus, as a BrightCrowd partner, universities enjoy the added benefit of working with a team of alumni relations and advancement professionals who have decade’s worth of experience successfully engaging alumni.

Are you ready to expand participation in your university alumni initiatives? Learn more about how you can increase your reunion ROI with BrightCrowd.

Keith Hannon