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3 Ways to Strengthen Your International School's Alumni Relations Program
Connor Gleason

As graduates say goodbye to their schools around the world, their journey is just beginning. These alumni scatter across the globe, ready to embrace new adventures and opportunities, but how do schools keep the connections alive and ensure graduates stay connected no matter where life takes them?

For international schools, the challenges of staying connected with graduates are often multiplied. With far-flung constituents, staff turnover, and the loss of institutional memory—not to mention limited budgets for expensive events overseas—schools may suffer when fewer alumni feel engaged and, therefore, less likely to donate or serve in leadership roles.

Apart from this, many expatriate families, which form a large part of the constituents at international schools, may only stay enrolled for a few years, making it challenging to develop a strong alumni community and spirit.

And, while many international schools have a social media presence for alumni—a practice that makes sense given that 90% of Facebook users are outside the U.S.— there are many more ways to reach graduates online and in person.

Here are some inspiration and alumni relations strategies to keep alumni engaged and connected, even as they venture to the far corners of the world.

Improving Alumni Relations - Tips for International Schools

1. Extend your reach with an online alumni program and representatives.

If you think traveling around the world is too expensive or you don't have the staff, you already have more resources at your fingertips than you think!

One benefit to the transient nature of international school alumni is the fact that your school probably has a graduate in one of the world's major cities, which greatly expands opportunities for you to reach other alums and prospective families at a low cost.

UNIS class rep screenshot

United Nations International School has a well-organized alumni relations program that keeps its alumni in touch online and via international events, newsletters, and a class representative program that acts as a liaison between their class and UNIS, allowing the school to stay connected with their community from afar.

For Singapore American School, the benefits of a nearly 70-year history and large enrollment mean that thousands of graduates are spread around the world, ready to recoonect.

SAS alumni page screenshot

The idea is to give alumni a chance to get involved from afar as hosts of mini-reunions, where the graduates are responsible for planning the informal event, and the school teams provide contact lists and help to promote the event on social media and their website.

For example, TASIS England offers a handy resource to alumni organizing their own events with an event kit complete with a banner, info cards, and helpful resources to connect back to the school. Great idea!

Tasis Alumni Kit

2. Offer Valuable (and Fun) Chances to Connect Year-Round

If you're engaging alumni only when you need something, like a donation or gift to the school, you're not setting the foundation for a meaningful two-way relationship. Keep your community engaged with regular communications and updates throughout the year.

Aside from reunions or annual appeals, offering alumni engagement opportunities to volunteer together, mentoring programs, network at a career event, join a professional development network, or attend a fun social event with students and alumni can reap big rewards and boost the value of being part of the alumni community.

FIS alumni connections screenshot

Hosting alumni events, like Frankfurt International School's alumni ski trip, athletic games, and dinner events, are fun ways to bring alumni families together while keeping them engaged with the school.​ Plus, alumni profiles, news, and more offer ways to connect all year long.

The Lycée Français de Chicago connects alumni with volunteer and networking opportunities in and around the city, giving graduates the chance to give back to the community and gain valuable volunteer experience.

Lycee France Chicago Alumni page screenshot

Need a photographer? What about an accountant? Ellesmere College's alumni network lets users reconnect with their fellow graduates, expand their professional networks, and search for alumni offering professional services in different fields with an alumni business directory.

Ellesmere alumni business listing on a mobile mockup

3. Getting Alumni to Your Website

While we know that Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to share event photos or encourage career networking, they aren't the best spots for graduates to request transcripts, update their information, or ask specific questions.

Alumni Newsletters as Regular Touchpoints

Alumni newsletters play a vital role in keeping graduates connected to their alma mater. Just like the American School of Paris' newsltter, they provide information about upcoming reunions, important updates, and school news, and as they link back to your website, these emails help maintain a sense of community among alumni, right at the top of their inbox.

american school of paris alumni newsletter mockup

Use Portals to Keep Graduates Connected (and Your Office Organized)

From posting bios to the alumni directory to sharing yearbook archives or giving students the opportunity to request a copy of their diploma or class rings, private, password-protected alumni portals have the added benefit of providing a central spot for alumni information of all kinds.

The American School of Guatemala puts all these resources in one spot, and since Finalsite's alumni portals can be personalized to the user, they can pull in just the information alumni want to see—like photo galleries from reunions, the latest alumni magazine, or a calendar of upcoming alumni events. Plus, it give your website engagement numbers a huge boost from alumni, driving all traffic directly to your site.

GAS alumni portal

And what could be better for an alumni engagement program than recent updates and news about graduates right on your site? Jakarta Intercultural School's Dragon News offers alumni news, class notes, graduate spotlights, and even memorial and throwback notes within its alumni section, powered by Finalsite's Post module.

Dragon page news screenshot

Key Takeaway

Maintaining strong connections with alumni is crucial for international schools despite the challenges they sometimes face. By leveraging digital tools and creating meaningful engagement opportunities, schools can overcome these logistical hurdles with online programs, alumni portals, and year-round engagement activities to help graduates around the world feel like they never left.

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Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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