Working closely with clients over the years, we have discovered that institutions using LinkedIn alumni data can apply certain strategic processes to save time and money while engaging alumni.
Often, simply changing the way the data is used can help improve results.
For example, we’ve noticed that higher education institutions typically use ‘current employment’ as their primary research data point. Whilst current employment is certainly important, it represents just 10% of the information available on a person’s LinkedIn profile, and does not give you a comprehensive view of who they are.
To develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your alumni, you should know their interests before engaging them. However, people’s interests often lie outside of their current employment.
This is why analyzing an individual’s complete profile is so important.
So what other data points are of value on a LinkedIn profile and how can it help prospecting? Here are our top tips:
Universities often report that many years (and jobs) later, an alumnus’ address in their database is still listed as their parents’ residence. Make sure to check the person’s current employment location against the address (city/state) that you have in your database.
Analyze their career experience. Has your alumnus been with their current employer for a while? Has their career in this company grown? Can you expect their career path to continue to rise? If so, consider adding them to a short list of individuals to monitor and starting building a long-term relationship.
Look at the employer’s industry, company type and company size. High-level executives at large companies in specific industries often earn significantly more than their counterparts at small or medium-sized businesses.
Next, assess the individual’s education path. Where else have they studied? People with postgraduate degrees such as MBA’s tend to have more senior-level positions.
Data on education can also reveal another telling piece of information – time spent overseas, learning different languages, etc. You might discover, for example, that your alumnus studied a year in Paris AND got a minor degree in French. This is valuable information for a development team because it provides an enriched view of the alumnus and their interests (in this case French and travel). It makes it easier to create synergy and connect with this individual to build the foundation for a lasting connection. 
The volunteering interests of your alumni can provide great insight into the chances of them becoming a major donor. Typically, people who sit on boards are more likely to donate.  Alumni volunteer roles can also reveal information about what connects that person to his or her community and what charitable causes and interests they feel an affinity for.
You can also check the groups they have joined. Who do they admire? What groups have they connected themselves to? By looking into this additional volunteering data, it will be easier to approach prospective donors. 
Using the key data points that we’ve identified above, you will be able to conduct a much more comprehensive analysis of your alumni with your existing LiveAlumni account. Our clients have identified high net-worth individuals by looking at factors such as:
- Senior leaders at Fortune 500 companies
- Investment management and venture capital industries
- Entrepreneurs in tops cities like New York and San Francisco
- Expats who have been well compensated for working abroad
Expanding your research to look at the ‘whole person’ will assist fundraising campaigns and alumni event planners meet their targets.
Strategic research strategies will lead to effective and long-lasting alumni relationships.
Sources & Additional Reading
 How to Recruit Major Donors, KnowHowNonprofit.org
 Why Everyone Should Join a Nonprofit Board, JoanGarry.com
 Find Major Donors with ‘Incredible Prospects’, LiveAlumni.com
 Identifying Alumni Donor Prospects: Top Industries, LiveAlumni.com
 Track & Engage Expat Alumni, LiveAlumni.com