The rapid change of communications offers opportunities and threats to the future of alumni magazines. The most effective magazines inform, entertain and engage readers of all audiences. Hard-copy magazines ideally offer a range of content and cover a wide scope of topics, such as sports, art, medicine and politics. All supporters, not just alumni, should have the option to subscribe to the print publication. These magazines serve as an alternative marketing piece to emails, social media posts and letters from universities and alumni associations. This Alumni Monitor report reviews nine hard-copy magazines with an emphasis on design and availability, content, promotions and advertisements.
Alumni Monitor found a number of new features and noteworthy changes since our last hard-copy magazine review in Winter 2016-2017. More magazines now include dedicated social media pages, which helps improve a school’s digital visibility. We found a 400% increase in calls to action encouraging readers to visit a corresponding website to learn more about an article, watch a video or enter a contest. Our review identifies a decrease in magazine advertisements. We track the phasing out of donation request inserts, which no schools included in their respective magazines. While many similarities exist, several publications stand out for unique features, such as James Madison’s devoted mobile app and Dartmouth’s infographics.