How to partner with your alumni to address your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats) analysis

Recognize your alumni can become great partners to promote your school AND meet the needs you are PRESENTLY facing.  

  • If you have no alumni board or officers overall or even in a particular age segment, create a steering committee within the university to decide who are your dream candidates regardless of your opinion of their availability.
  • Once you have your list, create an additional list of who (University President, VP, Deans, active alumni, etc) would be best in making the ask for each person to be on your “dream team.”  
  • Regarding your “dream team,”  ask who do you think the alumni cannot say no to and WHO can make the best case for their involvement in alumni affairs.  
  • Make a very clear presentation to the “dream team” of their exact expectations and what it involves.  Give them a beginning and ending point of service.  Do not UNDERSELL what they will be exacted to do. 
  • Once they say yes–make them HEROES!!!!
  • Send them university/school business cards with their name and title.  They are a BIG deal!
  • Write articles on their biographies on your website and use them as brand ambassadors.  They are our “grads done good”  and the FACE of the university/school in their area.
  • With territorial VPs, shows the scope and breadth of university/school’s worldwide impact.
  • List them in your publications and catalogs. 
  • They become an extension of what you are doing and become a point of contact for your university/school in their area.
  • They become our Alumni Advisory Board. 
  • Allow for Alumni leadership to be organic and have volunteer leadership pushing for further involvement and in the direction of the future of university/school.
  • You are leveraging their expertise, their influence, their credibility in their community to expand the network and reach of your university/school.
  • Once they have laid this foundation and given you organic guidance in how to move forward, you can begin to cultivate a fundraising campaign once they see value.
  • Task the Alumni Officers with a number of responsibilities (some of these from the Strategic Plan SWOT analysis):
    • Create a system of mentors for students
    • Ask them to create an alumni referral plan
    • Ask them each to write a letter we can send to students and prospects about HOW their education has assisted them in their career (retention aid).
    • It would be their task to name the Alumni of the Year
    • Answer how they would like to see an Alumni Association?  How it would benefit them?
    • Advice on how university/school can assist alumni in career development
    • Provide ideas on how to increase enrollment for students ON CAMPUS
    • Ideas for how your school can compete with fellow competitors.
    • Ask for them to represent you at their local area conferences.
    • Host alumni luncheons in their area.  Expand your alumni luncheon reach outside of your present region
    • Talk quarterly via Google Hangout video chats for meetings.  No need to fly everybody onto campus.  Use Skype, Google Hangouts, Cisco Webex to facilitate meetings.  

These are just some ideas of taking advantage of the expertise, wisdom, and love for your school of your alumni.  Please post questions and would love to dialogue with you.