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  • Writer's pictureLiveAlumni

The Power of Relationship Mapping for Higher Education

What is Relationship Mapping?

Relationship Mapping is a way to achieve your goals by connecting who you know to who you want to know. The bigger your relationship capital or the larger your web of contacts, the more you increase your chances of success.

With the mass amount of data that is available in this digital age, finding the connections between people has become easier – and relationship mapping has quickly gained recognition as a powerful tool to help people meet their objectives in a broad variety of fields.

The concept isn’t new – companies have been using it for some time in order to help bring in sales and revenue. It is a proven, for-profit strategy in the corporate world and we believe that higher education institutions should also use relationship mapping to track and engage targeted individuals. That’s why LiveAlumni will soon have a built-in relationship mapping feature.

Relationship Mapping & Higher Education

Higher Education Advancement & Alumni teams have gathered a wealth of data on their alumni and current donors, but the connections between these data points are often murky and unclear. Additionally, these known individuals do not add to or expand your list of potential donors. By mapping relationships using specific data points such as employment, nonprofit organization memberships and degrees, you can begin to expand and prospect your donor pool.

Getting Started: Relationships tend to be found between people with similar professional backgrounds. Two people might be senior executives at the same company, they may have attended the same university or graduate school, or they may sit on the board of the same non-profit. Since you are using your connections to find new contacts, it is important to define your search according to your goals.

Finding Volunteers: If you want to find volunteers for a specific campus event, you can begin by mapping the connections between alumni and the related philanthropic groups that they are involved with.

Identifying Major Gift Donors: Relationship Mapping is also an especially powerful strategy to find potential donors. Find out who your existing donors are connected to. Perhaps they work with or sit on a board with someone who could be a great prospective donor too!

Think Bigger Data: Who else may have a connection to your school? The larger your network, the more connections appear, and the more chances of finding companies and individuals to help you meet your goals. Consider broadening your data-set beyond just alumni to included board members, parents or grandparents of alumni, prominent community members and season ticket holders.

Simply put, relationship mapping highlights the advantages of networking when someone you know has personal or professional connections with someone you’d like to get to know.

Manual relationship mapping projects are time-consuming and confusing. However, in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing a Relationship Mapping feature in LiveAlumni. We look forward to showcasing your key connections and helping you leverage the full potential of your existing data set.


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