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Back in the Game: Alumni Engagement Ideas Using School Athletics
Connor Gleason

Scan the crowd at any big home game and you’re sure to catch a familiar face or two — alumni and graduates are “regulars” at school sporting events, and it’s not just because they want to see your school crush your rival.

Your school’s athletics are a major anchor to your alumni network and whether it's because of the game-winning basket at the buzzer or the lifelong friendships that flourished in the stands, your school’s athletic events are the backdrop to some of the most memorable moments your students have on campus.

Aside from boosting school spirit, athletic programs have the power to support alumni connections, cement donor relationships, and re-engage graduates, and your school's website is one of the biggest alumni engagement tools that make your biggest fans feel like they never left.

Let's explore using your school's athletics program to brainstorm some alumni engagement ideas!

Build a bridge to college athletics

Many students discovered their love of the game at your school and keeping a running list of where your alumni and graduates have continued playing at the collegiate or even professional level is a powerful alumni stewardship tool.

These lists not only celebrate the accomplishments of your students and alumni, but they will certainly catch the attention of a prospective family and communicate the strength of your athletic program. Featuring athlete profiles with Finalsite Posts shows the versatility of your graduates, and hopefully, families will begin to form a connection of their own.

Clarkston Community schools college athletics

Clarkston Community Schools in Clarkston, MI celebrates student-athletes that have decided to study and compete at the next level with its college-signings page. These former Wolves have continued to play at some impressive schools, and sharing those exciting journeys will help solidify alumni relations as they transition to what comes next.

Create a hall of fame or virtual trophy room

Celebrating past accomplishments is a way to honor the legacy of your program and strengthen the connections within your alumni network. A list of major awards, virtual trophy rooms, or a hall of fame are all elements that you can create on your school website to feature the best of the best with your web design.

If you're lucky enough to be the parents of a college athlete or you're honored to be included in an athletic hall of fame, imagine the pride of having your name celebrated by your school for all to see. A call for nominations and providing a simple form for alumni to submit their nominations is a low-maintenance, easy alumni engagement activity and a great way to include your community as part of the induction process.

Servite high School Hall of Fame

Servite High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame includes the individual players, coaches, and teams that have gone above and beyond playing and leading as a Friar. Dating back to the sixties, the long list of players across sports tells the stories of dedicated athletes and coaches making an impact on and off the field.

University Milwaukee virtual Trophy Case

Check out the University School of Milwaukee’s virtual trophy room, and you'll see long lists of championship wins at the state and divisional levels. The accomplishments date back decades, and in the case of the school’s hockey program, over 100 years! A simple form for collecting favorite memories on the ice is a great way to engage alumni and former players who have benefitted from their time in the program.

Engage your alumni over social media

Alumni are heavily invested in how your teams are doing, and they want to read the latest recaps or live updates to see if you’ve bested your rival. Graduates love seeing photos and following those live streams to catch the games they can’t make in person, and using social media is a tried and true method to boost alumni engagement.

Posts using an alumni-specific hashtag or account are great options for sharing the wins and celebrating alumni in the news. It shows you’re still cheering for them and it works in tandem with your admission efforts too — it showcases the strength of your alumni network and exemplifies the bond that extends well beyond their time at school.

MSJA Alumnae mockup on an iphone

With an account just for its alumnae, the Mount Saint Joseph Academy Alumnae Association shares the latest news and profiles from its graduates who are doing great things, on and off the court.

Westminister alumni athletics social media post

Have big sports news to share? Westminster Schools uses the #alumnicats hashtag to call out alumni who are making a splash on social, and with a social media feed embedded directly on your site, you can automatically pull the latest posts or hashtags onto your athletics, alumni, or news section.

Set up an online school store for alumni

Offering your school swag online is a great way to support the fan experience long after students have left campus. Plus, an online school store can help put your latest school merchandise in the hands of your alumni community, no matter where they are in the world.

Cozy sweatshirts and ball caps just for your alumni network, special discounts for class reunions — with the Finalsite Store, you can offer your biggest fans a convenient, secure, and quick way to order their favorite gear, fully integrated right into your school’s website and alumni pages. 

Berkeley Carroll School Store

The online store at the Berkeley Carroll School makes its branded merchandise available to alumni across the country. With just a click, graduates can grab the latest apparel and wear their school spirit with pride.

Key takeaway

Their time at your school may be over, but the relationships and memories your graduates collected at your school last forever. Get back in the game and build that spirit across your athletic pages to offer graduates a chance to reconnect and cheer right alongside you.

Composer Navattic Demo

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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