Alumni In 5: Should I Give Alumni Swag?

5 min to read
alumniex Author

In this Alumni In 5 episode, alumniEX CEO, James Sinclair provides a quick take on the subject of offering swag to your departing employees or those that join your formal Alumni Network. Mixed views between different community leaders, but ultimately how you treat your employees as they transition to Alumni is critical and swag is a nice way of recognizing their service and wishing them the best.


Hi everybody, James Sinclair here, CEO of alumni EX, the alumni experience platform.

Today I want to talk about a topic that has a lot of people talking a lot of people asking a lot of differing opinions, and that is, should you give swag to your new members, there are so many schools of thought, and I feel really strongly about my opinion on this, which is, do what’s right for your company, do what’s right for your culture for your organization, do something that’s going to make people smile, there is this view that by offering swag, you are basically putting a tangible result on doing something.

So you are training your users, your alumni community that in return for something, they’re going to get something tangible back. And you know, the books potentially say, don’t do that. Other forms of giving back feeling good appreciating recognizing are equally as important as giving people a polo shirt and a branded water bottle. But actually swag and your alumni community and leaving are all independent items.

You see a lot of companies out there, that when you leave independent, if you join the platform independent if you take the action, you get a leaving back LinkedIn, really well known that their LinkedIn alumni t shirt, and that bag of swag goes to everyone, independent of whether they then formally join the community engaged in the community. And it’s almost a rite of passage, because the only way you can get that LinkedIn alumni t shirt, is by leaving. You see the same with Salesforce, that when you come back to Salesforce as a boomerang hire or returning alumni back into the organization, you get a special polo shirt that highlights you as a boomerang, so other people know you’re a returner. So the point I want to make about swag is if it makes people smile, and it puts your brand and your logo and your organization inside someone’s home. And potentially as they wear it, use it or whatever that might be outside their home, then that can only deliver a feeling of smiles of brand advocates and all of those other conversations.

So yes, I actually think it’s a tremendous thing to do that says, hey, when you leave, here’s a box of thank yous we’re celebrating you wish you the best of luck, here’s something to remember us by. And here’s something valuable as in, you can use it. And at the same time, some companies actually make registration as part of the alumni program as part of getting that swag. And that’s okay, too. People are leaving, they’ve got a million new ideas and new thoughts. They’re rolling through my new job, my new opportunities, my day one with new people and making new friends and all of these things. And if you can do something, to move the scale one little bit so that they actually enroll in your network become part of it as they’re leaving, then I think a tangible reward is totally fair. And I think it’s a nice touch, and a great touch.

So overall, I believe in it, I think it’s fantastic. I think it’s a great thing to do. I have seen companies that even when you’re an alumni and you’ve left if you change job again, they’ll send you some cookies, or a good luck note or an email. We have companies that will send birthday gifts, both tangible or email. The point is, there is nothing wrong than staying in someone then you know, kind of staying in their head, stay in their mind space to showing you care about them, and you celebrate them, even though they’ve left the organization.

Ultimately, you’re going to do what’s right for your company. But I think it’s a great token of appreciation a great way to get your brand out there. And whilst not everyone needs another t shirt or another branded water bottle. It’s more of a thought it’s more of the Act. And if you can turn that swag bag into part of the company culture, as in it’s a rite of passage to get this to get this swag, then really on your way to creating an incredible community.

Thanks so much for joining me