#417. Alumni Recruitment

Posted on | The Agurban
Alumni Recruitment

Craig Schroeder is Senior Fellow for Youth Engagement and part of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship’s HomeTown Competitiveness team. Craig brings his knowledge and passion to practitioners and community leaders who are interested in working to engage young people in both leadership and entrepreneurship.

In Craig’s newsletter, Youth Engagement Update, he recently shared his six steps 
to help you build an effective alumni recruitment strategy and get started on the right foot right away!
  1. Do inventory on any existing alumni recruitment activities in your community. It’s often easier to build upon what you have than to begin a new program, especially if it puts you in the position of supporting duplicative efforts.
  2. Consider how current alumni-focused events can be used to send clear messages about opportunities to move home. Also think about how you can make spouses and children of alums feel welcome. Brainstorm simple ways to welcome young families when they are home for upcoming community festivals or later this year when alumni are home for the holidays. For example, host an open house or booth where visitors can interact with local leaders about their interests in moving to your community.
  3. Determine how best to communicate to high school students that their hometown cares about them and invites them to return to live, work and raise their families in the future. This message should be personal. Thank them for being part of your community, remind them of the investment made in them and their future, and invite them to come back to their hometown and contribute to its future.
  4. Maintain periodic and sustained contact with alums, especially those who are considering options to move. This includes college students who are pursuing their first career, couples with young children, and families undergoing economic distress and looking for new opportunities. Consider writing short articles for the alumni newsletter or a social media site that already connects alums with former classmates.
  5. Make follow-up contacts with alums that respond and express interest in moving back to your community. Consider recruiting several volunteers who are outgoing and would enjoy visiting with former classmates, hosting community tours and introducing alums and their spouses to community leaders.
  6. Make returning alumni and their families feel welcome and invited to get involved. A disappointment I hear from young adults who have moved to a small community is that they don’t feel welcome. Often community leaders are surprised to hear this and tell me they simply didn’t think about being proactive in reaching out to them. Sometimes this frustration results in young families leaving again, so this is a very important issue to address.


Brookfield, MO high school students receive mailboxes at graduation as an invitation to return home.





We love the idea of giving mailboxes to local high school graduates. What are you doing to bring your alumni home?

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