Strong Alumni Chapters are Vital for Schools and Alumni
Strong alumni communities are unquestionably necessary to colleges and universities, as well as the alumni themselves. Colleges and universities need alumni organizations to thrive primarily for the promotion of the institution, financial contributions and access to enthusiastic volunteers. From a financial perspective alone, alumni donate roughly $10 billion representing a quarter of all contributions received. If you combine that with the additional $7.5 billion contributed by non-alumni individuals - friends, family and supporters often found as part of alumni chapters - the alumni community is responsible for nearly 45%of all contributions received.
Alumni gravitate to local alumni organizations for both social and professional reasons. For example, when new in town, alumni clubs provide an unconditional, welcoming environment for making instant connections. The local alumni pool is also an excellent source for building one’s professional network.
Consequently, thriving alumni chapters are in the best interest of both parties. So, why do they often fail to start, limp along or worse yet, fizzle out?
The Cold, Hard Realities of the Ultimate Mismatch
On one hand, you have the central alumni association (to which we are all thankful) typically accessible during standard working hours on standard working days in a single time zone. Then there are the enthusiastic association personnel (to whom we are also thankful) that have the luxury to be passionate, motivated and dedicated to the cause. In addition to their personal devotion, it is their job to do so. Further, they come armed with a robust operational infrastructure including various degrees of support and technical resources.
On the other hand, the equally enthusiastic local chapter leaders - dispersed around the nation and often around the world - are unpaid volunteers largely with family and paying jobs both vying for prime time and mindshare. Chapter-focused attention gets squeezed into the off hours. Compounding matters, the volunteers lack the basic infrastructure, support, tools and financial resources to adequately do the job. The two sides of the equation could not be more misaligned.
Barriers to Survival and Growth, The Culprits
It is not hard to see that the primary barriers to success rest with the local chapters. SACL spent time evaluating the issues and has identified five primary reasons alumni chapters flounder as follows:
The lack of synergy between the desire for alumni chapter health and the challenging realities results in a sub-population of floundering alumni networks across the country – and globally.
The good news is this is where SACL can help! Learn how.