Allegheny College Turns to Jitterbit to Amp Up Alumni Community
Allegheny College is a small, private liberal arts institution in northwest Pennsylvania. The college is dedicated to preparing students for “successful, meaningful lives by promoting students’ intellectual, moral, and social development and encouraging personal and civic responsibility.”
The school’s dedication to preparing students for meaningful lives does not stop after the commencement ceremony ends. The college also offers online resources for alumni, including a portal through which they may connect with one another to stay in touch, network with other alumni or volunteer for the College.
Too Many Moving Parts
Recently, Keri Fadden, the director of alumni engagement, and her team migrated to Salesforce as their new CRM system. During the migration, they needed to keep intact the system of record they used to maintain their online community. The administrators of the CRM system also needed to ensure the data from the community interactions would flow seamlessly to the system of record in a way that made sense for alumni engaging the community, a well as backend users.
Beyond the official alumni community on the college’s website, Allegheny also leveraged user information from several out of the box alumni communities. To enable the systems of record of the external communities to communicate with the official community required a multitude of spreadsheets and communication tools, a difficult undertaking that proved difficult, and untenable.
The Search for Simplification
Fadden and her team sought a platform for integration in order to smooth the processes of connecting multiple alumni networks and ease the migration to Salesforce. Their goal was to find a solution nimble enough to handle all of the moving pieces involved in the data transactions needed to maintain their alumni community. The moving pieces included some items their team still wanted to do by hand and some items they wanted to automate on a nightly or even real-time basis.
They needed an integration solution they could be tailored to support their unique requests of automation plus manual processes, and that could provide integrations that could be changed as the school’s needs would undoubtedly change over time.
As Keri’s team started to set up the CRM and community in Salesforce, they asked for guidance from colleagues in the admissions office, who were already using Jitterbit for their own integrations. The admissions team recommended Jitterbit so highly, that Keri “knew Jitterbit was the only tool we wanted to use to make the integration happen.”
The Jitterbit integration took just two months to complete. Though it was a large integration dealing with multiple types of data, the positive impact was almost immediate.
Jitterbit Helps Allegheny College Meet Success Metrics
One of Fadden’s key success indicators was the volume of new alumni users joining the online community. Within the first 10 months of using Jitterbit, the team was able to sign up 26 percent of all potential users. That number continues to increase each month. The alumni engagement team feels confident they will meet their goal of 5,000 active users, as well as 500 new job and internship postings within the first year of using their new system. Finally, the alumni engagement team has seen more than 600 alumni sign up for volunteer roles, an unprecedented amount of support.
Part of the team’s ability to meet milestones is due to Jitterbit’s flexibility. Alumni engagement found that it has been easy to change the integrations as the community changes. Previous integrations took 2-3 days to update alumni information when alumni made changes. Today, the changes appear instantaneously to the alumni community user.
The team also notices Jitterbit benefits on the back end. The integration allows them to have different objects communicate with one another, to make sure information was flowing between them freely. With Jitterbit, it has been easy to set up triggers or different processes to make different backend activities happen.
Jitterbit Delivers Unwavering Customer Support
Furthermore, the alumni engagement team feels Jitterbit has offered outstanding customer support and a willingness to be a partner with Allegheny College as they use the tool. Fadden “[Feels] a sense that [Jitterbit] want us to succeed as much as we want to succeed.”
Jitterbit also makes it easy for Fadden and her team to brainstorm with an IT colleague about something new they’d like to try with the integration and bring that idea to reality in just a matter of weeks.
Fadden feels she’s found both the right tool for her tasks and a vendor that treats its customers well. The combination has led to another Jitterbit success story, with others on the horizon. Fadden plans to use Jitterbit in the future to leverage manage awards badges and more interactive features for the alumni community.
- Salesforce Community Cloud
- Ellucian Colleague
- IBM SilverPop
- The Common Application
- Disparate systems made alumni network painfully complex
- Too much dependence on spreadsheets and manual processes
- Existing integrations could not be easily altered over time as alumni group needs changed
- Growing the alumni network was challenging in the face of so many moving parts
- Moving to a new CRM required a different platform to make the data migration more manageable
- The older backend system took too long to update records once users made changes
- External, non-official alumni site data was difficult to fold into the college’s alumni community portal
- Data from alumni community interactions flows seamlessly to the system of record
- The new portal is more user-friendly for alumni and easier for IT staff to use on the backend
- The new alumni community has grown and is nearing the 5,000 active users milestone within the first year of implementation
- More than 600 alumni signed up for volunteer opportunities in the first six months of using the new system
- Alumni relations office and IT team members are able to collaborate easily for new updates as the community evolves
- Updated system will be a catalyst for new integrations and tighter relationships with other campus organizations and functions