Executive summary of the Danida Alumni Information Survey 2020

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In addition to the preliminary results of the Danida Alumni Information Survey, which you received in the last DAN newsletter, please find the more detailed results below. In the coming months, the DAN team will prioritize and process the survey results and will consult the local alumni network coordinating teams to make room for their experiences, views and ideas for improvement of the network.

The survey

The survey was conducted amongst 3,000 members of the Danida Alumni Network with a response rate of 23%. The majority of the respondents were between the ages of 30 and 50 years. They reside in 50 different countries: 60 % in Africa and 25 % in Asia. The vast majority of respondents had participated in non-degree courses, while 26 % had attended Master’s or PhD courses.

The survey offered feedback from the alumni in the following areas: Danida Alumni Network services, news and information, and local alumni network engagement.

Key Findings

Overall, the survey shows general satisfaction with the website and various services that the Danida Alumni Network team provides, although there is room for improvement, additional services and new ways of engaging members.

The results do not give a clear and unambiguous indication as to which news channels, services or activities the respondents prefer. This conclusion reflects the fact that the Danida alumni network consists of a diverse group of people in terms of education, age, countries, and connection to Denmark. It shows that it is important to retain a broad spectrum of news channels, services, and activities in order to ensure that our communication and services reach this broad audience.

That being said, the great majority of respondents have a distinct common objective for both social and professional networking and interaction, namely staying connected with fellow alumni and Denmark. And there is a widespread desire for professional and career-based training courses, activity grants and invitations to conferences.

The study has both substantiated our current knowledge and provided us with new insights, such as the fact that many respondents get their information from the Danida Alumni Portal and that news on professional achievement and learning is of high interest.

Some suggestions for the improvement of our services include more compelling calls-to-action, such as columns dedicated to articles from members and country sections in the DAN newsletter, as well as more variety and balance in our news coverage, reflecting the diverse professional interests of the alumni.

Social activities are important in the local alumni networks as they engage members and lay the foundation for carrying out community projects and organising learning and professional development activities. Another factor that engages and motivates the membership is their connection and cooperation with the Danish embassies.

In some local networks, members expressed a clear need for greater focus on recruitment and member involvement, as well as better, regular and timely information. These expressions came primarily from networks with a large and less homogeneous membership and less from   the country networks where members had recently participated in Strategic Sector Programme courses.

Danida Alumni Network Services

60 % of respondents look on the Danida Alumni Network mainly as a place for networking and staying connected with fellow alumni. About 40 % engage with the network to obtain new professional knowledge as well as to look for grant opportunities.

Respondents show interest in taking active part in network activities such as the newly introduced alumni webinars where 60 % would like to participate but fewer wish to facilitate. A new activity we are proposing is the mentoring of young Danida alumni and Danish students by experienced alumni. Here 40 % reply that they are very interested.

Here are some of the suggestions made for improving DAN services:

  • More regular updates, greater visibility and outreach to members of the network
  • More opportunities to attend professional and career-based training programmes or community outreach initiatives
  • Network content with more compelling calls-to-action such as mentoring programmes, discussion forums, speaking opportunities and blog contributions
  • A stronger relationship with the embassies, such as a one-day annual event organised by the embassy, to motivate and create a sense of belonging

News and Information

About 85 % of the respondents are satisfied with the DAN news and media channels in general. Most members receive their news via the quarterly DAN newsletter (38%), the DAN Facebook group (29 %) and the Danida Alumni Portal (26%).  Only 7 % receive their news via LinkedIn.

Asked how they would like to receive news, the respondents provide answers that cover the various categories quite evenly, making the interpretation of their preferences less obvious. For example, 31 % of the respondents would prefer to continue receiving the DAN newsletter only, while 25 % would prefer to receive both the DAN and the DFC newsletters.

The survey indicates that the vast majority of respondents are satisfied with the news content we provide. All news topics score a high amount of interest. The two topics that top the list are news about the outcome of research and learning programmes, and calls for grants.

Here are some of the suggestions for improvements in news and information coverage:

  • More variation and balance in coverage
  • More news on local initiatives by the Danish government and Danish companies
  • More news videos than articles
  • Contributions from members to the newsletter, e.g. columns dedicated to articles from members and country sections
  • Addition of more social media such as Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp
From Alumni event at the Danish Embassy in Mexico
From Alumni event at the Danish Embassy in Mexico 2019

Local Alumni Network Engagement

More than 50 % of the respondents indicate that they are active in their local alumni network. The initiatives that appeal to them are quite evenly distributed across social activities, local community development initiatives and lifelong learning. Many respondents are very keen on playing a part in community development activities by contributing their knowledge and skills.

Here are some of the suggested improvements:

  • Greater focus on recruitment and internal communication amongst alumni
  • More regular information sharing and more timely updates on activities
  • Members Activity plans and more member involvement in general

In light of the current COVID 19 restrictions, many respondents express the need to conduct meetings virtually to stay connected. Some of the suggestions are online activities targeting different sectors, local webinars, virtual introduction programmes for new members, and videos about local life and life in Denmark. At the same time, however, many also emphasize the challenge they have in finding time for online meetings while others share their frustration with their bad internet connections.

See the graphs/preliminary results of the Danida Alumni Information Survey here

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