lost alumni is one of the hallmarks of a successful records tracing
Here are some ideas to use to increase
your effectiveness in this activity.
- List your lost alumni on your web site.
If they happen to use a search engine to find themselves, they can link
to the page and find out the explanation as to why they are on it.
- Display lists of lost alumni at
registration tables at your reunion events so that attendees can review
- Include lists of lost alumni in specific
class mailings with an update form so that fellow classmates can update
information on friends they may know that are not at the event.
- Trace alumni through their last known
addresses by contacting neighbors to see if you can find any forwarding
- Hand out brochures at athletic events
that offer participation in a drawing or receipt of a prize for helping
to find lost alumni.
- Enlist reunion volunteers by class to
help find missing alumni. This can be particularly effective where class
sizes at the time of graduation were small, or graduates tended to be
localized in one community.
- Keep your current address list up to
date and monitor trends. This will help to avoid losing alumni in the
- Enlist the aid of departments and
schools on campus to help find alumni that the central office may not be
as "close" to as a school or department is.
- For graduates of your institution that
also have degrees from other institutions, create a cooperative
agreement to exchange address updates if allowed by your internal and
institutional data management policies.
- Work with related societies and
organizations, such as professional societies to try and obtain contact
information, or have them forward pieces like an address update
questionnaire for you.
- Have your fundraisers take class lists
of lost alumni on visits and have the lists reviewed by prospect to see
if anyone can be located.
- Hire screening companies to try and
locate your lost alumni.
- Check corporate and organization web
sites and call the organization to see if they will give you an address
or contact update or forward your request to the individual. You can
also forward lists to alums working for the company and have them check
and see if they can get updated information.
- In any alumni surveys have a reference
to lost alumni and where survey respondents can go to review a list.
- Some institutions offer alumni a free
lifetime email address which can help you keep track of alumni and get
address updates. However, since people change their email addresses
often, you need to have similar maintenance practices in place that you
would for addresses, phone numbers and any other contact information.