Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing (Richmond, Virginia) works to foster holistic lifelong learning through innovative career education designed to cultivate servant leaders who are passionate about bringing people and communities to health and wholeness.
Over the years, the College had devoted staff resources to alumni engagement but had not developed a consistent program to cultivate meaningful, long-term relationships with graduates. College leadership identified this as a strategic priority, hired a full-time staff member dedicated to alumni engagement, and partnered with Campbell & Company to build a comprehensive roadmap for this work.
Our team launched an in-depth alumni engagement assessment, gathering both internal and external feedback. We held detailed discussions with staff from various internal stakeholder groups.
Externally, we conducted focus groups with two sets of alumni:
1. Highly engaged alumni who regularly attended events
2. Alumni who were not deeply engaged with the College, but work at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center, which employs a significant number of the College's alumni
These groups shared invaluable feedback on events, engagement preferences, and professional development. They spoke to the need for engagement opportunities and programming that fit the busy nature of the nursing profession, such as programs scheduled in between shifts and lunch-and-learns held at the hospital.
At the same time, our Communications team held conversations with a select group of alumni, including some faculty. These conversations helped to uncover what messages resonate most with graduates and how the College should connect with its alumni base.
After analysis of the information gathered, we assembled an in-depth report with recommendations for all five pillars of alumni engagement: volunteer leadership, staffing and systems, communications, giving, and programming.
We created an accompanying 18-month work plan that outlined immediate implementation priorities for each pillar. Our report stressed the importance of ramping up to a focus on philanthropy, building relationships for 6-12 months before asking for gifts.