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How to Grow Your Local/District Alumni Association

Can you believe that the Tau Beta Sigma Alumni Association is celebrating our 10-Year Anniversary? In those 10 years, we have had many successes, and experienced growing pains as well. The key to making progress, though, is making sure that the challenges that you are facing today are not the same challenges that you were facing a year ago. That has been the insight that has allowed the Tau Beta Sigma Alumni Association to grow. So how can you grow your alumni membership?

  1. Define Your Relationship as Alumni
    Your membership level has changed. You are no longer an active member, but an alumni member. You have to allow the active members, and the active chapters the same opportunities that you had to grow as a member, a chapter, and as leaders. If they seek out guidance, offer it. Make sure that the active members and chapters seek out your guidance, though, before telling them how to do it.
  2.  Remember Your Successes and Your Opportunities
    Create best practices as an alumni organization. We are human. Not everything we do will be successful, and sometimes we will surprise ourselves with how well things turn out. After any project, though, brainstorm why you were successful, and how you could have improved, then record it. You will have a recorded playbook to pass down to allow future projects to continue to evolve, and consistently become better.
  3. Offer Programs to Benefit the Membership That You Serve
    When our role changes from active to alumni, it’s natural to want to offer programs to support the active members. It’s what we know since we are learning how to be an alumni. You have to remember that the people you serve need to benefit from their membership, too. What can you do to benefit your alumni members? Career advice, grants, and networking are great alumni benefits.
  4. Build Awareness of Your Organization
    Part of growing your alumni organization is making sure that alumni know that you exist and what you have to offer. Create a marketing plan for recruitment, and understand what your target members are looking for, and highlight it. Is it continued service? Continued philanthropy? A social outlet? You will have different target markets, and each market will have different recruitment needs. The key is to step back and understand your membership.
  5. Keep Your Alumni Engaged
    An engaged alumni is one that is an aware alumni. Keep the communication lines open, and share what you are doing. Communication is not one size fits all. You have to vary it to reach a broader audience. Utilize personal communication, social media, newsletters – just plan it out. You never want to overwhelm people, but also make sure you don’t have long gaps either.

by David Alexander, Membership Chair