Working with Alumni Relations and University Advancement
As chair, you have an important role in the department’s relationship with alumni and donors.
Periodically, University Advancement will send you a list of recent donations to your department’s funds (scholarship, chair discretionary, etc.) Be sure that you or someone in the department acknowledges these gifts, preferably with a personal note.
A word of caution is in order in regard to fund-raising. The “ask” should always come from a member of the University Advancement Office, not from you. University Advancement carefully coordinates fund raising efforts to avoid a potential donor from receiving multiple “asks” from different people. You can and should, however, make University Advancement aware of potential donors, and find out from them how you can best assist in cultivating relationships with these donors.
A member of the University Advancement team has been assigned to your college or program. Contact the Advancement office (email@example.com, 221-7121) and ask for the name of this person. You can help your advancement liaison by
- Putting them in contact with potential donors and by keeping them in the loop when potential donors contact you.
- Identifying departmental needs and letting your liaison know what they are. Your list of needs will help your liaison to navigate the conversation when they speak with potential donors.
- Consider inviting your Development Office liaison to a department meeting.
The Office of Alumni Relations works in very close cooperation with the University Advancement team. (http://www.alumni.apsu.edu/s/1806/17/interior.aspx?sid=1806&gid=2&pgid=458) Here are some ways that your department can work together with the Alumni Relations team to maintain relationships with your alums:
- When alumni come to events, they come to see faculty. There are a number of regional alumni groups and program specific alumni chapters. The current list is found here: http://www.alumni.apsu.edu/s/1806/17/interior.aspx?sid=1806&gid=2&pgid=528
If your program or college has a chapter, attending chapter events will help you to maintain a relationship between your department and its alums.
- Alumni Affairs sends regular email newsletters to alums. Consider submitting departmental news to Alumni Affairs for inclusion in these newsletters.
- Alumni Affairs solicits nominations for several annual alumni awards. Consider nominating your outstanding alumni for awards. Information about some of the awards and a nomination form can be found here: http://www.alumni.apsu.edu/s/1806/17/interior.aspx?sid=1806&gid=2&pgid=568 Watch for solicitations from Alumni Affairs for nominees for other awards.
- When you learn that an alum has moved, encourage them to update their contact information by filling out the secure form on the Alumni Relations web page: http://www.alumni.apsu.edu/s/1806/17/interior.aspx?sid=1806&gid=2&pgid=565
- Alumni Relations can help you publicize departmental events by giving you access to names and contact information of alums. Here is a link to the data request form:
Since most donors donate to scholarship funds, the Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an important part of the fund-raising picture. Do you have scholarships that are difficult to award because the donors criteria are too restrictive? (For example, the donor may have specified that the scholarship only to go Cheatham County Students, but in some years there are no Cheatham county students in your major, etc.) Your scholarship committee must follow the donors’ criteria when awarding scholarships, but if you let the Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships know of problems with the criteria, they may be able to work with the donor to revise the criteria.
One final word regarding alums. Take advantage of their expertise! Some programs have Advisory Boards composed of alums and other members of the community with expertise in their discipline. Members of these boards can advise you on curricular matters, help you find internships for your students, keep you abreast of trends in the job market, etc. Working on a departmental self-study? An alumni focus group can give insight into your program that it would be impossible to obtain any other way.