University planners are constantly on the lookout for cooler, more innovative ways to make their alumni and faculty events as successful as possible. From alumni event ideas, college event ideas, and team building activities for their staff and faculty, the buzzwords “ingenious” and “never done before” add up to the need for college event planners to think up more bodacious get-togethers and mixers.
Spend some time thinking through these factors that can ensure a lively and exciting time for your different alumni and faculty college events, which are:
- Tanking: making your alumni and faculty events not do this!
- Strategically place event attendees into meaningful mixed-up groupings.
- Gather prized data pre-event, during, and post-event for helpful, actionable conclusions.
College events without MAJOR attendee interaction are going to flop
Event planners agree that an alumni event with people standing around by themselves feels like a bad Sadie Hawkins dance! Alums are an important part of your school legacy – and if they feel a strong sense of belonging, they’re twice as likely to purchase, sign up, return, and most importantly – BECOME DONORS! So consider the importance of making sure your mixers have exactly the right types of planned attendee interactions as possible.
Now, consider a study conducted by Cornell University, which tracked a mixer event attended by 100 people wearing electronic-tracking name tags. The goal was to analyze the socializing patterns of the attendees in a minimally structured social environment – and their findings didn’t require rocket science to predict.
The author of this study coined the phrase “associative homophily” – meaning that attendees tended to only “mix” with other social groups if there was at least one other person of their race in that group.
This study reinforces the notion that how people “group up” at an event impacts whether or not the attendees have a dynamic experience.
But how do you bust up this “associative homophily” phenom without doing a ton of manual research in advance, and build out complex models for placing attendees in networking buckets by hand?
And frankly – who has the time for that much manual machination? Do YOU?
Create your event attendee groupings more intelligently
During your events, you are invariably placing groups of people together to either perform ice-breaker activities, accomplish some small task assigned to them, or to do quick introductions (a-la “speed dating”) for the purpose of quickly getting to know other attendees. And up until now, many institutions merely sort attendees into groups that are random (like alphabetically) and have no automated way to put thought and purpose behind the groupings (which, as we discussed above, is a major pain in the arse.)
You can crush this problem by looking into a platform (like Mixtroz!), where you have attendees downloading an app at the beginning of the event and answering questions YOU pose throughout the event. Based on their answers, you should use a tool having the ability to use an algorithm to place together small groups using whatever technique you deem important – alumni that collect stamps, people who’ve read Faulkner, or faculty and staff who come from disparate departments. Whatever way you wish. Whatever you think is important to the success of your attendee mixing.
Gather immediate data on your attendees to help you at the event, and in the future
“How’d We Do” surveys sent out a week after an event aren’t compelling people to answer your survey. In fact, research tells us that average survey completion rates are as low as 30-40%, even when they’re built with the respondent group in mind.
However, asking “How’d We Do” via a mobile phone app minutes before an event ends is a completely different story. Years of experience from tools like Mixtroz tell of a near 98% response rate, due to the immediacy and relevance to the attendee.
And that’s not the end of the story either. Typical event surveys tend to only be completed from people who either loved OR hated your event. Event management tools who offer surveys minutes before an event ends will get responses from virtually ALL attendees, giving you valuable data from attendees who fall squarely in the middle of that all-important Bell curve.
Imagine this type of data coming in real-time for you to immediately analyze. Then, imagine having this same data to guide and direct your next college event planning session. Also, imagine other departments within your institution gaining access to this data, and how many different applications for which this data can be used throughout your college or university.
The point: event planners should be leveraging technology (like Mixtroz!) where they can pore over data dashboards to execute current and future events more intelligently, making future alumni and faculty-staff events more awesomesauce!
Offer sponsors cooler, more enhanced ways to get their message out at alumni and faculty events
It is every event planner’s dream to have the majority of their alumni and college faculty events sponsored by businesses that resonate with the attendees in some way. In the past, your options were limited in how you promoted the sponsor: perhaps a banner placed somewhere at the event, a shout-out on the invitation, or a listing on the event agenda.
So, if your events are sponsored, you might consider tools that allow sponsors to be featured in clickable banner ads that can even play video in-app. The ultimate value is that they can ask questions in-app to learn as well, providing them a tangible ROI. These types of digital engagements are light years ahead of the value that event sponsors received from your events in the past.
Thrilling your event sponsors with the ability to digitally be in front of your event attendees makes sponsorships much more compelling to them. And you can bet your event sponsorship packages will start flying off the shelves!
Make sure that whatever technology you’re considering to help run your events, it allows you to target your event attendees with meaningful and relevant sponsor ads through the attendee’s event management app (like Mixtroz!)
Consider a college event software management tool like Mixtroz
Ok, so our name has popped up throughout this article, so we thought we’d explain why. Mixtroz is a data-driven event management software that intuitively permits event planners to guide alumni or faculty event attendees through the experience they want them to have at events and mixers. Attendees simply download an app as soon as they walk into an event, and event planners have already programmed questions for the attendees to answer at various times. Algorithms are already set up to group people appropriately in ice-breaker sessions.
All of this is set up effortlessly in advance. As the night of the event commences, this process kicks off, leaving the event planner to worry about other things, and leaving the app to guide attendees through a process of “mixing” at the event that was pre-planned.
Mixtroz is the best thing to happen to alumni events and faculty/staff get-togethers since someone first thought of stealing the school mascot’s head or spiking the punch bowl!
Mixtroz is event planning software that engages and improves events for attendees while collecting data for our event hosts – a 360-degree ROI. Users download the app, complete a virtual name tag and survey customized by the organizer. At a predetermined time, the app simultaneously matches attendees and guides them to an intelligently automated match of people for a curated group connection experience IN REAL TIME! At the completion of the “mix” the organizer gains the visualized survey data collected from the interactions which can be used to drive future marketing and programming decisions. Mixtroz can be up and running at your institution in no time at all. So, to get started working less and innovating more, contact us today!