My college experience was terrific. In addition to working hard to get a good education, I saw my role in the marching and pep bands as part of my duty to extend my University’s goodwill and mission. It wasn’t until I was well out of college and living in a faraway state that I considered picking up that mission again as an alumna. I’d been to several game watches and socials with my local alumni chapter over the years. One day, out of the blue, I received an email from our club chair that went something like this:
I’m moving out of town next Thursday. If you’re interested in taking over the chapter leader role, meet me at our game watch on Saturday.
I hadn’t considered being a chapter leader but it sounded interesting. That Saturday I went to the game watch. I was the only one who showed up. “It’s yours,” she said. I got the password to the email list and the name of my contact at the University. Without any training or guidance, I became the chapter leader that day. That summer I found another local alumni chapter leader from a different university who shared her tips and tricks with me. Eventually we formed a small group with other local alumni leaders in our town and had a few meetings to share what we knew. With her encouragement, I started to hold events and reach out to alumni until I was able to attend a leadership conference held by my University. It was a great, if not a little rocky, start to what would become a very fulfilling volunteer role.
And then I received my University’s technology requirements and really wondered what I’d just signed up for!
I’ve learned a lot in the six years since. But I’m in software development as my day job so while it was a little bit of a juggling game at the beginning, I managed. However I realized that not everyone who steps into the chapter leadership role has my skills (or patience) with technology. I want new and current local chapter leaders to avoid that overwhelming feeling of “what have I just gotten myself into” so they can focus on the fun part of chapter leadership – connecting alumni. More importantly, I want to give the local alumni chapter leaders and the University staff who support them the tools they need to manage their chapter communications and technology. This education goes beyond the leadership training that the universities give their chapter leaders. This blog will focus on those gray areas of alumni chapter management and will share tips on:
- using social media to engage alumni
- building an email following
- technology for managing and sharing the chapter events and news
- managing board member information
- online fundraising
- templates and paperwork to have handy
- many, many other topics!
So that’s my introduction. If you’re a chapter leader and have questions, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note using the contact form below. And stay tuned!