A Principal and a trustee needs to think about it.
A school needs to define the lifecycle of their students from entry point, lasting lifelong.
Interest from School to know where they are Communication Events & Forums Involvement in School Development activities Platform which makes them connected with others in the network
Put the balance photo First thing (Principle): 2 different entities all together Which doesn’t mean that they cannot coexist, each has a role to play, but very clearly two different setups with separate roles and objectives
Some Advantages of the Membership Dues Model Generates revenue in the form of dues. Life dues can be placed into endowment for 1) growth and 2) long-term higher return (life members pass away and no longer use benefits, but the association retains and reinvests their dues). Helps you identify who really is a more active than passive supporter (ie, they bothered to join, which is a form of engagement). Members feel privileged to some extent ("first class citizen"). Places the school in front of constituents through cyclical marketing and renewal process.
Some Disadvantages of the Membership Dues Model
Members may think that they are donating to the institution when they join an autonomous ("independent") alumni association. There's overhead associated with maintaining dues programs (benefits administration, renewals, payment processing, marketing) so, generally, only larger organizations can justify the relative opportunity cost. Most small shops will do better to allocate their membership management position to events or programs instead. Non-members resent the paying for things they think should be free (e.g., library access, publications, discounts, merchandise...). Marketing can leave non-joiners with a negative feeling toward the institution.
The primary alternative to due-based associations are so-called "inclusive associations," where all alumni automatically are welcome to participate in activities without regard to having actively joined an association or other alumni organization. Some Advantages of the Inclusive Model
Saves on overhead of marketing and administering a separate membership and benefits program. Reduced marketing and sales aspect to alumni relations. Helps creates the impression that the association has something of relevance to all alumni.
Some Disadvantages of the Inclusive Model
Alumni are not aware of the alumni association (or, they're not aware of their "membership" in it). All benefits potentially accrue to all alumni, which is a cost ineffective way to model service and product delivery. Removes a potentially significant revenue stream from the balance sheet. In our brief exchange, Paul also mentioned an off-shoot of the dues model, the Donor Benefits Model. This is a system where benefits accrue to individuals who contribute to the institution above a specified financial threshold.
Some Advantages of the Donor Benefits Model Allows you to identify, cultivate, steward and reward those who support the institution financially. Helps identify prospects for future giving, increased giving, and more diversified giving. Can generate attention and gifts from people who otherwise wouldn't bother (for example, they like having access to the institution's president or senior administrators and professors). Creates a framework for "more equal than others" outreach, which reinforces the culture of giving at higher levels (e.g., travel programs for President's Circle).
Some Disadvantages of the Donor Benefits Model
Alienates people who feel their non-financial contributions (e.g., career expertise, volunteer time at events, service on boards) is not valued at same level or in the same way as financial donations. Reinforces stereotype that only people who give money are "important" to the school. Distracts people from seeing relative value of volunteerism, and may discourage people from engaging non-financially.
The office is not a short term activity but a long term initiative by the school - patience is a key factor – results take time, do not expect changes overnight - having a motivated and engaged alumni community is essential – alumni office will only be successful if you have a happy and inspired alumni netowork and having the right approach to implementaion.
Building Alumni Communities
Building Alumni Communities
Mr. Sahil Dewan, FuturEd
Mr. Rishabh C. Sharma, The Doon School
What happens when
Alumni: Mutually beneficial
• Schools select
they are alumni
Introducing Alumni in the
How does you school define an Alumnus?
• What is your schools’ expectation from its
• How does the School envision to serve the
Build a visible
Integrating Alumni in the
What do Alumni expect
• Different things at different times – a young graduate vs.
a mature alum
• An opportunity to help and support current students and
the school, not just give away Cheque(s)
• Keep in touch with the news, updates and growth of the
• Opportunities to interact with fellow alumni
How can the School
• Need an Alumni Office/Team/Staff/Volunteers
• Define basic engagement models
• Use schools calendar to fit in alumni engagement
• Communicate effectively how alumni should serve the
school - Annual Day, Founder’s Day, New batch/session,
Clarity of Purpose
- Generate a feeling of connectedness among alumni
- Propagate a sense of pride whenever Alumni
engagement happens through events and other
The harsh reality:
- They do not have time to be end responsible for doing
things for their Alma Mater; they can’t manage Alumni
- They need nurturing, someone needs to be
responsible to guide and inspire them, consistently.
Clarity of Purpose
- To seek knowledge about where their alumni are and what
they are doing.
- To track and manage alumni networks in an ‘Organized &
- To generate value for Alumni and encourage stewardship
for the development of the institution.
- To harness the value that alumni networks could bring to
the long term goals of the institution.
The harsh reality:
- Institutions may not be not prepared to invest time,
resources and HR towards the ‘Alumni’ stakeholder
- Alumni network management may not feature in the
priorities of the institution
- Institutions may not have an understanding about how to
approach alumni relations.
Examples of Alumni Membership
The two alumni-centric models are:
The Membership Dues Model: Alumni choose to pay annual or life member dues, in
exchange for a set of benefits and privileges not available to non-members.
The Inclusive Model: All alumni have equal access to the same set of programs and
services provided by alma mater via the alumni office.
There is also a fundraising-focused offshoot of this:
The Donor Benefits Model: Individuals (including non-alumni) who donate at least a
specified amount of money to the institution receive exclusive benefits for their
- It is not a short term activity. Alumni should not perceive it an
outcome of over-enthusiasm or anxiety. There needs to be a plan.
- Be Patient, results will take time
- Alumni Association should be involved and meetings should be
planned to clarify the roles and intentions of the school office
- Recruiting/Managing Volunteers (Motivated Alumni) is the key.
- Decentralize activity through volunteers, chapters – will only happen
if the school is taking the lead and showing the direction
- It’s a lot about content, stories, nostalgia and IMPLEMENTATION