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How We're Transforming Alumni Engagement One Community At A Time

Tyler Baker

Most would agree that a university’s Letterwinner base is filled with a diverse population of incredibly smart, funny, and talented people. These former-athletes span the spectrums of age, generation, ethnicity, race, background, gender, career field, and more. These individuals range from retired military, to working mothers, to professional athletes making plays on Sundays. 


So why is there so little effort placed on giving these valuable individuals a way to contribute to the lives of student-athletes in meaningful ways?


Here’s the truth that no one wants to admit….


By and large, athletic departments approach alumni engagement through the lens of value extraction rather than value creation.

By and large, athletic departments approach alumni engagement through the lens of value extraction rather than value creation. Letterwinners associations are pointed at 20,000 former-athletes and commissioned to “go find a way” to bring them into the fold and turn them into good dues-paying, ticket-buying citizens. Without a clear mandate, staff scramble to capture value in a web of local events, newsletters, and a new Instagram account called the ”_____________ Club.” 

Full disclosure: I fully support  administrators getting former-athletes to be a part of their Letterwinners’ association. After all, I’m a proud member of my alma mater, the FlamesClub.


But we need to do more to captivate Letterwinners to play a meaningful role in student-athlete success. Discounts on season tickets and preferred parking aren’t cuttin’ it.

There has to be a larger role for us to play. A way that provides equitable access for any Letterwinner to give their knowledge, network, creativity, and time to impact the people that they are in a prime position to serve— younger versions of themselves (aka student-athletes).


There has to be a larger role for us to play. A way that provides equitable access for any Letterwinner to give their knowledge, network, creativity, and time to impact the people that they are in a prime position to serve— younger versions of themselves (aka student-athletes).

Alumni engagement needs to be pointed at a purpose. It needs a new life. Administrators charged with leading these efforts need strategies that work. Tools that scale. And ultimately, administrators need to switch from a lens of value extraction to one of value creation— in other words, from alumni engagement to alumni empowerment


Enter Fabriq.


We enable an athletic department to channel its diverse alumni ecosystem into a community with one unifying purpose: equipping student-athletes for career. It’s a purpose that empowers alumni to give back their time and attention to serve the needs of students who can seriously benefit from their expertise. These empowered and enriched alumni are naturally more engaged in every sense.  


Creation of impactful community happens in three core steps:

1. Fabriq customizes and builds your very own Athlete Career Community app.

The app is the university-branded front door to your career community. But customization goes far beyond a logo— every aspect of the app is designed with intention and care to maximize user engagement for each of your community's user types.


2. We inform Letterwinners of the opportunity to join, tell their stories, and make a difference.

We guide this process with helpful, engaging prompts that let Letterwinners tell their stories in bite-size chunks. Nothing to be intimidated by here. A super-low barrier to entry, and the opportunity to give back is open to as many alumni as you invite. Every story you record becomes a searchable nugget of career wisdom gold, ready to be mined by students.

3. We bring student-athletes in to the community to watch videos, engage in live Q&As, and, ultimately, connect to the Letterwinners who can open up doors of opportunity for them.

Impromptu, personal videos from your alumni become the bridge between accessible alumni and impressionable student-athletes. Because every user touch is tracked, you're able to quickly identify students who are ready for 1-on-1/in-person interaction with your team. This allows you to focus your efforts efficiently.


This process pushes an athletic department past three very important milestones on the road from alumni engagement to alumni empowerment.

Key milestones on the road from alumni engagement to alumni empowerment:

1. We bring your alumni online and give them the opportunity to be on the team again.

- They get to be a valuable member of the program again

- They don’t have to be on campus to contribute

- Giving back doesn’t cost them any money

- We’re asking for their ideas, experience, and network (not money)

- We’re unlocking an entirely new community for them to give to and get from

2. We provide incredible value to your current-student athletes (soon to be Letterwinners) creating a sustainable pipeline to keep future generations engaged around the purpose of career.

3. When you have attention in a digital context, you have power. Power to serve your members and build affinity.


Naturally, empowered and fulfilled alumni are more engaged in every sense, including the financial one. After all, when you have someone’s most valuable resource, their time and attention, the money is the easy part.


This is why communities like University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletics are leading the way through initiatives like Forward360. And alumni are deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve: 


“I thoroughly enjoyed hosting a broadcast. It was awesome to be able to help fellow Badgers by sharing what I’ve learned from my professional and personal experiences.” -  Jonathan Orr, Executive Director, ATS


“It was a great opportunity to shed some light on my career path. Touching on things that I wish I would have known prior to graduation. The feedback with thumbs up, hearts and clapping provided nice responses during the broadcast.” - Jake Keefer, Account Executive, phData



Are you serious about finding new ways to unlock value for your alumni and get them back in the fold for years to come? We can help with that. Get in touch with us today.

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