In August 2019, The University of Wisconsin partnered with Grafted to offer its current and former student-athletes a modern mobile app focused on providing peer-to-peer digital experiences that would foster actual career opportunities. The iOS and Android app was named Forward360.
"You can’t just pump more content at these kids—you’ve got to connect them to people who can help. Even with a team of 10, we can’t do it all on our own. The needs of our student-athletes are increasingly diverse, and we have to work smarter to properly serve each one,” says Assistant Athletic Director for Organizational Effectiveness, Bridget Woodruff.
With consistent awareness and curation efforts led by Executive Director of W Club & Strategic Partnerships, Nick Pasquarello, and Director of Career & Leadership, Brittany (McGowen) Root , the community has consistently grown since its launch in 2019. Today there are over 1,800 people in the community consisting of 650 current and 1,025 former student-athletes. These former student-athletes ("Letterwinners") have accounted for over 1,500 videos created that have generated over 29,000 unique plays within the community. The Letterwinners also account for over 1,100 unique in-app conversations. These engagement numbers are an order of magnitude higher than any previous time-span in the past.
In the Spring of 2021, the University of Wisconsin athletics department launched a giving campaign offered to its former student-athletes. The results were incredible!
Disclosure: What we're about to share is correlative data. There are several factors such (e.g. timing of last giving campaign, covid, etc.) that play into the results.
More and more institutions are acting on the fact that empowering career mobility is the number one way they can add value to alumni and in turn build a pipeline of engaged supporters.