The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) is an early partner using Career Moves — EverTrue’s human-verified career updates. We deliver data as alumni change jobs, continually keeping career information fresh and prompting teams to reach out to their graduates at key points in their lives.
“Current employment information is one of the most important pieces of data, as we use it for prospecting, event invitations, potential opening of doors for corporate and foundation fundraising, possible career services assistance, and more.”
— Jessica Kuhlman, Senior Director of Donor Strategy and Analytics at the West Point Association of Graduates
Here’s a recap of how West Point is using this new career data… and how every advancement team can do the same. Or skip ahead to the session recording. Up to you.
1. Update the CRM
This one’s obvious. Career data is really important for prospect discovery, segmentation, tracking alumni outcomes, mentoring platforms, matching gifts, and more.
You want all this information in your system.
(With Career Moves, this is easy. EverTrue maps the new information directly back to each constituent ID, making import a snap. And since it’s human-verified, you can trust the information you’re putting into your system.)
If you’re looking for a new source of career data, make sure it’s easy to get it back into your database.
2. Notify assigned gift officers
At most colleges, fewer than 2 percent of alumni are assigned to a gift officer. That means fundraisers should know when every one of their assigned prospects moves or changes a job.
With EverTrue’s saved searches, West Point’s gift officers can receive alerts when one of the people in their portfolio changes a job.
Then it’s time to reach out, say congratulations, introduce that alum to other graduates at their company, and make sure they’re plugged into the regional association. All of this to deepen relationships and show alumni that they are important to the institution.
3. Update prospect ratings and make new portfolio assignments
“When combined with past giving, current career information is one of the best indicators of gift capacity. It’s also one of the hardest things to keep up to date,” Jessica said.
Depending on the institution, about 5% of career changers are making a C-level move (based on a review of EverTrue customers). If someone takes a CEO or President-level position or joins a board, they’re a far better prospect than someone who’s taking on an entry- or mid-level position.
With a steady stream of career moves, it’s easy to review prospect ratings and make sure the newly rated prospects have the right assignment.
In this example, the West Point team uses EverTrue’s integration with Windfall to identify prospects with the greatest giving potential based off of fresh career data. They team reviews recent Career Moves, see which of those job-changers are unassigned, high net worth donors (based on Windfall’s calculations), and then reach out to ask for a qualification visit.
4. Reach out and steward the relationship
When Bentley University received more than 1,000 career updates, they put that information into action immediately, sending a congratulatory note to every alumni who took on a new job or promotion.
That email had a 60% open rate (roughly 3x’s the industry average), generated dozens of responses, and was even shared by happy graduates on Instagram.
So when you find out a graduate has a new job, take time to celebrate with them. Send an email. Mail a sticker for their laptop or a mug for their desk. Connect them with the regional association or other graduates working at their company. Use the power of surprise and delight to deepen relationships with your alumni.
5. Identify potential campaign volunteers or leaders
“We spend so much time at work. Often, a donor’s current career or role reveals their interest in giving more than their major,” says Stephanie Wolfe, Prospect Analyst at WPAOG. “We look at a graduates industry as we think about prospect lists for different campaigns or to build lists of potential volunteers.”
The industries that alumni work in reveal their interests. If you’re going into a campaign focused on science and technology, look for leaders in the engineering field. If you want to know who might be interested in sustainability, see who’s working in green technology. By starting with a person’s industry of employment, then digging into past giving and their net worth, you can quickly build lists of likely candidates for your next campaign board or fundraising priority.
6. Build lists of potential corporate or foundation partners
As you see a critical mass of alumni at a specific company, you can flag that for your corporations and foundation fundraisers to apply for grants or build connections with that organization.
Knowing a donor’s current company is also key for identifying matching gift opportunities (here’s a list of the top-20 matching gift companies). Within EverTrue, you can set alerts for anytime a donor joins Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, General Electric, CarMax, or any company with a strong matching gift program.
7. Set up a stock alert
For alumni that work at publicly traded companies, you can set up a stock alert and track when it might be a good time to approach. You can also use career data to see if anyone worked at a company that was recently purchased or if someone exited a start-up.
Tracking wealth events like these give insight into the lives of your alums and when might be an appropriate time to build a relationship.
8. Coordinate new events
Industry-based events are always popular, especially now. As alumni move into new fields — green technology, urban planning, or venture capital for example — design live, virtual events like a panel discussion or TEDx talks around those hot new industries as well as the more established industries where you have a critical mass of graduates.
West Point has used career data to create programming for entrepreneurs. They look for job titles that include “entrepreneur,” “angel investor, “investor,” or “board member” at startups to build invite lists for these events.
9. Share updates with Career Services
Your Career Services team wants to track alumni outcomes, show the ROI of a degree from your institution, and also find out if the graduates they help do in fact end up in new positions. This data is helpful for their work and can help deepen the partnership between Advancement and Career Services teams.
At West Point, their Career Services shop uses the updated job information to identify alumni they helped land a new position and expand “employer contact” lists at key companies.
This is also great data to have for reporting alumni outcomes (How many graduates are CEOs? How many work in startups?) to support both Career Services and Admissions work.
Watch our full webinar with the West Point Association of Graduates!
EverTrue’s Career Moves feature delivers human-verified job changes automatically every 90 days. Since these updates appear directly in the EverTrue platform, they’re immediately searchable, trigger alerts of new C-level prospects, employees at matching gift companies, or notifications for assigned gift officers. No importing, no manual reviewing, no stale updates.