How the University of Tennessee increases alumni engagement through alumni awards

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How the University of Tennessee increases alumni engagement through the 40 under 40 awards

In this webinar, Kyle and Jordan sit down and discuss the background of the 40 under 40 alumni awards as well as dive deeper into how the University of Tennessee Alumni Association leverages Reviewr to power the alumni awards, manages the intake of awards nominations, as well as review and select the award recipients using the Reviewr award management software.

2020-2021 was the inaugural Volunteer 40 under 40 alumni awards which recognize young alumni who have had a significant impact on their industry or field, demonstrated outstanding civic or professional achievements, or served UT in an exemplary manner. The goal of the award program is to not only celebrate 40 of the nearly 250,000 alumni manifesting the Volunteer Creed, but also as a way to engage with young alumni and increase their alumni engagement scores – leading to future participation in alumni engagement activities and endowment contributions.

In this webinar we discuss:
  • Introduction to the Volunteer 40 Under 40 Awards.
  • Alumni award nomination process.
  • Nominee application process.
  • Award management workflows.
  • The review and selection of award recipients.

The nomination/application Process

  •  5-7 month nomination/application window.
  • Data is essential.
    • Nomination forms are essential for both the award program as well as capturing up-to-date information about alumni that later updates the alumni engagement score.
      • Many participants had a low score prior to the program.

Scholarship Application Form 

  • In the future, the short answer questions will use bullet points.
    • More clear and concise responses.
    • Easier and less time consuming to review.
  • Dual nomination workflow.
    • Nominator starts the process with a basic nomination form.
    • Nominee is notified and submits their own award application.
  • Goal of the nomination form:
    • Short, sweet, and simple.
    • Marketing focused to get word out and increase volume.
    • Captures who the nominator is and who they are nominating.
  • Goal of the award application by nominee:
    • Puts the heavy lifting on the actual nominee.
    • Captures personal info, employer, location, letters of recommendation, resumes, photos, etc.

Scholarship Application File Uploads

    • Because this comes from the nominee themselves, we can ensure data accuracy.
    • Creates a fair and consistent judging process.


The award Management Workflow

  • Monitor data in real-time.
    • Track nominations received, applications started, and applications finished.
    • Utilize the Reviewr all-in-one award management portal.
    • Send reminders to incomplete applications.
      • Reminder campaigns begin one month out from the entry deadline.
      • Integration allows sending of emails from personal address directly within Reviewr to avoid spam filters and increase open rates.
    • Creates insight into potential total volume and a leading indicator if additional review members are needed.

AdminDashboard 5

  • Award Nominations are categorized utilizing Reviewrs “groups” feature.
    • “Phases” or “Rounds”.
    • Sub group broken down by age of nominee.
  • First phase of review is done by an internal steering committee

Submission management software assign submissions to judges

        • Narrow down to a smaller pool of candidates.
  • Second phase of review done by the young alumni council.
  • Both phases of review have a structured scoring process.
  • Monitor review team progress through reporting.
    • Track login activity.
    • Monitor completion percentage.
    • Communicate.


The Review and Selection of award Recipients

  • Evaluation team assigned to review phases.
    • Leverage Reviewr grouping feature.
    • Can assign a committee to groups of entries, auto distribution, or manually assign specific committee members to a specific nominee.
  • Review committee accesses the Reviewr evaluation portal.
  • Presented with a “menu” of award nominees to evaluate.

Submission management Software Judge submission listing screenshot

  • Data such as demographics and personal photo are blinded from the review committee.
  • When viewing an award nomination they have a split-screen.
    • Half the page is the nominee content – files, short answer, etc.
    • Other half of page is the selection criteria/evaluation workflow.

Submission Management Software Judging Page

  • Both phases of review utilize a simple 1-5 scorecard.
    • Simple scorecard makes process efficient for review committee.
    • Automated tabulations output initial rankings.
  • Once scores are submitted, a deliberation occurs where some fine-tuning can be done.
  • Award recipients are sent to a celebration page.
    • Live stream of award ceremony.
    • “Swag Box” mailed to award winners
      • Champaign toast during live stream celebration.

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