How to Start an Alumni Association
An Alumni Association acts as a bridge between the old and the new blood of any institute. It helps to strengthen the bonds between the institute and the students who have benefited from the institute. It does the institute a lot of good to keep in touch with its student base who have grown and developed over the years and can give back to their Alma Mater. Opportunities for job placements, donations, sponsorships, faculty positions are also possible through such platforms that help connect alumni members with the institute and present students. So, ever thought of having an Alumni Association Website for your institute, but don’t know how to start? So, here’s your answer.There are basically two requirements to start an Alumni association, viz.,(i) An enthusiastic and willing team to take up this initiative with all its challenges and see the entire process through.
(ii) A body of alumni and present students willing to participate on the venture and make it a success.
An important role in an Alumni Association is that of a leader. He/she would be the one who would spearhead all activities and ensure they are going in the right direction. For this he/she has to be level-headed, charismatic and enthusiastic person who is willing to go that extra mile to rebuild lost ties.
Based on your requirements, you could have an informal or a formal Alumni Association. If you have a relatively small group of people in a region or area who want to come together, you could have an informal Alumni Association led by one or two individuals. The ability of these individuals to lead and motivate the other members would determine the course of action rather than a code of conduct and strict guidelines. They would be the ones who would coordinate with the institute and other members, circulate any notifications or announcements and be a contact point between others and the Alumni Association.
On the other hand, if the group is bigger and system-oriented, a formal organization would work better. You could have a code of conduct, standard policies and procedures, goals and objectives and if required, a constitution. Registration of an Alumni Association is a legal mandate in some countries and hence their rules would be per-determined. A formal association may have a formal hierarchy and line of authority as well with a President / Vice-President to preside over all meetings and take major decisions. There could be other roles such as Secretary, Treasurer, Events Organizer, Communication Officer etc.
Once you have finalized on what group you wish to form, here are the actual steps to create an Alumni Association:
- Form an informal group – Contact the alumni in your Alumni Network and others in your geographical region to get a members’ listing. Use your institute’s Alumni Database to get in touch with all the members and seek their willingness to be a part of such an Association.
- Spread the word – An initial message needs to be sent to all the participating members informing them about the group constitution, leader’s profile, group members’ information, and other important details.
- Get started – Once you have all members updated about the Association, have a meeting where the Alumni Group can decide through mutual consensus on the goals and objectives of the group, the activities to be undertaken, code of conduct, standard operating procedures and further course of action. There could also be plans made on further induction of other Alumni Member into the group. If the group so decides, there could be a committee formed to handle the administration and other functions of the Association.
- Follow-up meeting – After the inaugural session, a follow-up meeting should be arranged on an immediate basis to reinforce the establishment of the Association and check for more participation.
- Plan for funding – Your Alumni Association could get funds in three ways : by an annual membership taken from all alumni members or by contributions / donations received by alumni on specific occasion or specific purposes or a combination of both these methods. There could also be sponsorship opportunities provided through advertisements in Alumni Magazine/Alumni Directory as well.
- Make your presence known – Using modern day tools such as social networking sites, Alumni networking site, online web etc., make your presence known to all your Members of your institute and build your membership base.
So, here’s to a smooth start to creating your own Alumni Association. You may find on your way, some members who do not actively participate in all activities or who find such things a waste of time. Yet, most members would do it voluntarily and rap immense Benefits of Alumni Associations.