Success Story

BrenConnect: Driving Student & Alumni Engagement Through Salesforce Communities

The Premise

The Bren School used YourMembership to engage 1000+ active alumni via an online community. The existing platform delivered some basic capabilities of allowing alumni members to create profiles, enter basic information, form groups and browse career resources offered by the Bren Career Team. However, the platform database was not extensible and not capable of capturing the depth of information desired by the Bren team. Additionally, the user interface was not modern or mobile friendly. The Career and Alumni Team at Bren also used HighRise as their CRM to track the services they delivered to current students. Although most needs were met with this system it did not have reporting or dashboard capabilities and summarizing student data had to be done manually.

The Opportunity

The online alumni community needed significant modernization. A more modern user experience (UI) and mobile experience were key objectives. Due to the lack of a robust database system, the Bren team maintained most alumni information in spreadsheets. Information was channeled into spreadsheets via surveys or direct communication between students and alumni in person or in email. Bren staff manually input captured data into spreadsheets, searched spreadsheets for information and provided that information to external parties. Capturing data and proving requested information to students, alumni, staff, faculty, and other outside parties was labor intensive. In addition, given that data was stored in spreadsheets in free text format, trends and statistics were not easily generated into reports or for insights.  

The Solution

Urgensee began by exploring and understanding the value which the dedicated Career and Alumni Team at Bren endeavored to deliver alumni and students through an array of support services. Career services are still provided to Alumni free of charge resulting in high alumni engagement and dedication. Urgensee helped Bren re-imaging the user experience and design an online community that would optimized the Alumni expertise and help Alumni grow their professional networks.

A Connected Community

Urgensee created BrenConnect to serve as the platform for the alumni experience. Powered by the Salesforce Community Cloud using the Napili Template, BrenConnect is a confluence where alumni and students gather to learn, search and collaborate together. My Profile: Taking full advantage of Salesforce extensibility, Urgensee created BrenConnect to empower alumni and students to view, manage, create and share data in the Bren Salesforce database. Additionally, Urgensee eliminated the onus on Bren Staff to personally manage information such as work history, education history, school projects etc. LinkedIn Integration: Urgensee removed the redundancy of managing multiple online profiles by leveraging available API capabilities of LinkedIn. Such integration enabled users to sync key information from LinkedIn profiles to BrenConnect profiles and effortlessly populate data such as profile summary, photograph, most recent employer and position. Alumni Finder: Urgensee fulfilled one of the major needs of alumni and students by developing the Alumni Finder which transitions queries previously handled manually by the Bren Career Team to self-accessible answers. Alumni Finder empowers BrenConnect users to search through the Bren Salesforce database and filter results by various categories including geographic location, academic program/class year, specializations, skills and industries. Additionally, improved functionality created by Urgensee enables users to discover fellow alumni working at specific organizations and to facilitate strategic and meaningful networking. Single Sign-On: To encourage frequent login and eliminate the hurdles of multiple online profiles and forgotten passwords, Urgensee introduced Single Sign-On with Google and LinkedIn. Single Sign-On enables BrenConnect users to register and login with their personal, university or professional social media accounts.

A Wealth of Resources

Bren excels at career resource development for alumni and students whom leverage such resources while navigating careers in the ever-growing field of environmental sciences and management. Urgensee incorporated Salesforce Lightning Knowledge to create a Knowledge Base that would empower the Bren Career Team to develop distinct, well-categorized resources and target such resources to the right audiences via BrenConnect. Urgensee designed this new resource with internal capabilities such as version history tracking, metrics and insights that include view counts, search history and voting. The Bren Team gained a feedback loop on specific resources to determine what resources users most often search and consume.

Networking & Collaboration

Urgensee delivered expansive capability for alumni to collaborate and discuss by means of Chatter Groups, Topic Discussions and Feeds. Offering a contemporary substitute to listservs, BrenConnect offers alumni the ability to create and join interest-based groups and select desired level of engagement on a group by group basis.

Powerful Reporting

Finally, by having their alumni community and internal CRM on the same platform, the Bren Team could leverage powerful Salesforce reporting capabilities to track community adoption and engagement, login activity, record creation and more at a very granular level. For example, "How many alumni from the Class of 2014 registered on BrenConnect?" In addition, the Salesforce powered system allows the Bren team to track: student and alumni advising through the use of Cases; initial career placement through the use of Campaigns; and prospective students through Leads. Having one system that houses both students and alumni has allows the Bren Team to be more data driven and has streamlined data gathering and reporting.

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