We work in a fundraising environment... So why ask alumni to volunteer? Volunteering is itself a way of giving It lets alumni do something for the University – to give back through their time and expertise This advances our strategic goals by Letting us engage alumni intellectually in our work/plans It involves alumni in the life of the University – gives them an ongoing stake in our success
Wide range of ways this is enacted 500 alumni volunteered last year. Approx. 350 in activity, 150 in advising students via email. 4,000+ offers... Aside: one big question for us – how do we take advantage of these offers? The tangible benefits to the University, and that alumni see, are.....
Alumnus Richard Ward spoke about managing risk and his career, including at Lloyd’s of London (who insured aspects of Tom Jones’s career)
The audience contributed a selection of the ways alumni help at their institutions: Workshops; case studies; talks; graduation; boards; steering groups; open days; careers fest; recruitment; international events; alumni recruitment; mentoring – students and alumni; research; regional groups (circles); company presentations; careers stories and profiles; internships; critical feedback; ‘virtual’ groups – eg advisory, educational, regional, company; help with homecoming; back office support
Exeter’s campaign website
What does the alumni office do? We act as a strategic ‘matchmakers’. Linking our alumni to opportunities, for happy unions. We find out what and who a department needs. It also works both ways for us; we work with our fundraisers to provide suitable opportunities for prospects to get them involved so they can better see what Exeter is all about. The strategic part of what we do for engagement purposes is met by tracking who volunteers, how often they volunteer and building up a picture of how they’d like to help in future.
How do alumni get involved? - Our list of suggested ways alumni could support the University keeps growing and growing... Range from heading up advisory boards, mentoring ... to a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ cookery demonstration. -All of these opportunities should have a more detailed ‘spec’ of what that looks like, and an indicator of the time commitment involved. Main themes Ways to help vary, and we find can generally, but not exclusively, be categorised in one of four ways.
- We would expect that other institutions have alumni who help in a wide range of strategic activities. These are ours so far... At Exeter, alumni can sit on a wide range of boards, projects and events acting as external guidance for growth and development. Means we exchange their skills, interest and expertise for engagement and strategic advancement. - Alumni associations and event committees. Do things we can’t – like rustle up guests for dinners, networking events, etc to hear our message. Some were approached because they are alumni, some because they are simply big players in their field.
Giving advice to our student body on an individual basis is a very high-quality engagement tool for us . This takes on various different forms of mentoring. It allows students and alumni to share experiences, and enables alumni to share the benefit of their experience with their community.
Talks are another way of informing and sharing experiences. Careers or Employability Speakers: Student-focussed activities offer alumni the chance to meet enthusiastic students, and connect back with their ‘student days’. This is where volunteering and engagement really go together, connecting alumni to us in a tangible way. These talks also offer valuable networking opportunities for students with alumni and vice-versa. Events offer an opportunity for alumni to speak on a topic of interest, and to showcase our successful alumni and their support of our activities.
Profiles help with our marketing, showcasing great alumni and their employment routes. All profiles are giving time to support us, helps us engage with our alumni and students. Recorded about 60 alumni who helped us in 2009-10 by providing profiles. There will be more out there! Big advantage for engagement is it allows us to ask for in-depth information in a way that feels very easy and non-intrusive.
Volunteering is a way to engage alumni without a £ value. - It provides a way for those who want to give in multiple ways to get involved holistically, rather than just giving £ To gauge the ‘value’ and impact of alumni participation in the University, we are measuring the time alumni give to the institution. The next step might be to economically analyse the value alumni give. - We can gauge participation levels. Acknowledge Support Currently, the main way we do this is through our Donor Report and stories in publications and online. Future consider volunteer awards, perhaps ‘volunteer of the year’... Celebration of hitting target for the campaign.
Breakdown of hours Why think about hours outside of simply what someone does for you? It takes more to help than simply turning up to make activities happen. Preparation time – read a paper, prepare slides, practice talking. Travel Most of our alumni are based on the south east – Exeter is in the south west... 2 ½ hours by train from London. Recording travel is about acknowledging the holistic effort to support Exeter. Even without travel and preparation time, we would have met our Campaign target.
How do we collect from alumni? We estimate for strategic boards and other ‘standard’ tasks – e.g. our advisory board meets four times a year – usually in London. We know how long the meeting takes, and estimate prep time and travel. Usually don’t count travel if in London. Do count if they travel long distances. We ask ! As part of thank-you process. Can show up where alumni may use their own networks to support their work for us and enables us to provide a more considered look at their involvement.
Stand and Deliver : your money (and/or) your time Alumni Volunteering at Exeter Stephanie Anagnostopoulos, Alumni Volunteer Officer Holly Peterson, Head of Alumni Relations