10 Tips for Finding Lost Alumni

In a recent survey of our participating camps, they self-reported that less than 25% of living alumni are up to date in their donor databases. Below are some tips for finding the other 75%!

Engage on Facebook --A large percentage of your alumni is on Facebook now. Many are interacting with their camp friends. Make sure you are part of the conversation.

Create an Alumni Committee -- Appoint members from different ages to reach out to their friends to share their updated contact information with camp.

Post Old Camp Photos -- Use your website and/or Facebook to share old images. Ask people to identify "lost" alumni.

Use People-Finding Services -- Collect the names in old yearbooks and run them through online services, like AlumniFinder (for bulk updates or one-by-one internet searches) or Harris Connect (for bulk updates or an Alumni Directory project), to seek updated information.

Make Contact Easy - Enable alumni to submit updated contact information via a form on your website. Use online forms for online donations and event registration as well. Make sure that data gets into your database.

Start Tracking Campers Now -- Keep a system in place to keep track of campers and staff that begins at first contact. Add current campers and staff to your database. These are your future alumni. So, don't lose them!

Plan Alumni Events and Reunions -- Encourage your current contacts to attend gatherings. Ask them to spread the word about the events, too.

Share Your Stories -- Keep the alumni section of your website fresh and engaging with moving stories and photos of alumni, alumni donors, past staff of camp, camp history and so on (see related article, "How to Write Alumni Profiles that Tell Your Story"). Include links to this content in your alumni via eNewsletters and social media as well.

Track Multi-Generational Alumni -- On camper registration forms, ask whether a family member is an alum (grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, . . . you never know). Make sure this data gets into your database.

Keep In Touch --Continue to regularly mail and e-mail your alumni. Pay extra for return address information to be provided should your alumni move. Update your database with that information.