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I am an alumnus from the Alpha Chapter of our fraternity. We are young fraternity with 9 chapters and founded in 1995. Our alumni base is growing and much needed steps are needed to be taken to support our growth. We have decided to organize an Alumni Association.
I am spearheading this expansion along with a few other Alumni. We are hosting a meeting in a little more than a month to all of the Alumni in Alpha Chapter. We are starting with Alpha Chapter first to test it, then propose it to our other chapters.
Do you have any advice for me as we go along this journey?
Congrats on taking on such a venture! Working with alumni can be a challenge, but you do have some things going for you. Being an alpha chapter, there should be an inherent point of pride in the Fraternity and the commitment that goes with it. Also, your relatively small size meant you needed more involved undergraduate members, which often times leads to more involved alumni after their graduation. Hopefully, this is true with you and your membership. We’ve hit on some keys in the past about how to increase alumni involvement, but we can look at it here for your case specifically:
– Get advice from those who have been there before
- Other fraternities on your campus probably have an alumni network or alumni associations. Why not ask how they do it? Why not look at what works for them and see how you can apply it to your Fraternity?
– Ask your alumni what they want
- This is an alumni association after all. Reach out to your alumni and gauge their interest and get their feedback on how to proceed. You will need to figure out their wants and needs in order to have a solid alumni association.
– Target specific leading alumni
- We all know who these guys are. They’re the ones that rally the troops better than anyone. They’re the ones that were the leaders of their peer groups and perhaps the chapter. In order to garner support and energy for your alumni association, you need to get the real movers and shakers involved.
– Understand your limitations
- You’re a new and small Fraternity. You don’t have the nation wide and 250,000 person deep alumni networks that older and bigger Fraternities have. It can be a hurdle, yes, but simply by understanding those key difference will help temper your frustrations.
– Avoid the money talk
- Of course we want alumni to donate money. We simply could not function without it. When starting out, you don’t want to lead with a message that hits the wallet first. Look for involvement and volunteer hours first. Engaged and involved alumni will donate more in the long run.
This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!