The Alumni Relations Office hosts the University of Cape Town for a benchmarking exercise

By Esther Lihavi

The USIU-Africa Alumni Relations Office recently hosted Mr. Lu Ntenya, the Alumni Relations Officer of the University of Cape Town (UCT), on Friday, May 19, for a benchmarking exercise. The event was attended by members of the USIU-Africa fundraising team, Mr. Eannes Ongus and Mr. Solomon Mainye. Ms. Linet Aguko, the Director of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at USIU-Africa, and Ms. Eunice Madzo, the Program Coordinator of the Transitions Office, also graced the occasion. This gathering followed a networking dinner organized by the UCT alumni office on Thursday, May 18, for their alumni based in Nairobi, to which the USIU-Africa Alumni department was invited.

During the benchmarking session, Mr. Lu expressed his enthusiasm to learn about the best alumni engagement practices implemented by USIU-Africa, as well as the programs that impact fundraising from the alumni. He was also introduced to the Raiser's Edge Advancement system, which facilitates alumni relations, engagement, and fundraising activities at USIU-Africa. Furthermore, the USIU-Africa team briefed Mr. Lu on the interconnected platforms they utilize for networking within the alumni community and automatic data updating, namely Graduway and DevMan. Graduway allows alumni to communicate with each other, post opportunities, and update their contact information.

Both teams also exchanged information about various alumni engagement programs featured in their respective calendars of events. UCT organizes events focused on Youth Month, Women's Month, Heritage Month, and others. They also participate in lifestyle events in which their alumni are involved, such as marathons, and share the highlights with other alumni through their monthly newsletter. To support these events, UCT partners with corporations like Cars Jaguar for sponsorships. Similarly, the USIU-Africa Alumni Relations department also seeks sponsorships for its events. They also engage with student activities such as orientation week and graduation, similar to the USIU-Africa Alumni Office.

Mr. Lu was particularly impressed by how the USIU-Africa Alumni Office utilizes its merchandise to promote itself through the USIU-Africa brand store. He was also amazed by the level of social media engagement demonstrated by the office. Recognizing that social media is an effective tool to reach a majority of UCT's over 200,000 alumni, he acknowledged it as a valuable resource.

The benchmarking activity was organized and coordinated by Mr. Michael Kisilu, the Principal Alumni Relations Officer, along with Lihavi Dainah, the Alumni Relations Officer, and Winnie Tewendi, the MasterCard Graduate Associate at the Alumni Relations Office. Through this benchmarking exercise, the Alumni Relations Office identified new opportunities to engage and support alumni in the future, as well as explore potential partnerships with UCT.

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