Start Up Your New Alumni Chapter With This Essential Checklist

Starting up a new chapter or sprucing up an existing one requires a some work and organization.  Most of your efforts will go towards alumni outreach. To do that successfully, you’ll want to make sure that you have a set of tools and processes in place to get you going. I’ve run alumni chapters on a dime in the past so I know that you don’t have to spend a bunch of money to get these items in place. This week I’ve created a list of what I believe every chapter should have on hand to run their club (a link to a consolidated list can be found here). And just for fun, I’ve added some extra credit items so that if you have a budget or some eager volunteers you can turn up your chapter swagger to “11.”

The Essentials

These are the items that I believe every chapter should have. Use this checklist to check your chapter’s records and supplies and determine where you may have gaps.  These items are free – or nearly free – and just require a little effort to collect.

University Contacts

  • Name of your university’s alumni chapter coordinator with contact info
  • List of alumni in your area including their email or mailing addresses

Chapter Leadership Training

  • Alumni chapter leader handbook or training provided by your university
  • Alumni chapter blogs and forums (like this one!) to answer your questions

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Communication Tools

  • Chapter Email address – make sure you have an email address for your club. Your university may provide you with one (just ask!) but if not a Gmail or Yahoo email address will do just fine.

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  • Event planning calendar to help you plan out your activities for the year. Here’s some more info on Event Calendars: Organize Your Club’s Year . Here’s the link to the planning calendar I use. This also includes tabs to collect event registrations and RSVPs and information after the event has ended.
  • Event sign in sheet template so you’re ready to collect names and contact info for the alumni that attend your events. Here’s a Sign in Sheet Template that I use.
  • Supplies like pens, scissors, tape (Scotch and packing), raffle tickets and name tags

Extra credit

So you’ve got the essentials covered? Great! Take a look at the extra credit items to see if you can add a few more items to chapter’s toolkit.

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A chapter website is a great way to not only share news and events with your alumni but also to engage them in your club’s mission around fundraising or service events.
  • Name badges for alumni chapter leaders and volunteers
  • Chapter business cards or flyers with your club contact info to hand out at your events. Your university’s club coordinator may be able to provide these to you at no charge.
  • Alumni chapter website and an administrator. AlumniSpaces is free alternative if your university doesn’t provide you with one.
  • Post-event details spreadsheet – to collect data such as head count, money collected, and lessons learned for next time. This will make your annual reporting a breeze (if you’re required to do that). This is the third tab in the Club Calendar Planner.
  • Social media policies – defines how your chapter volunteers will use the club’s social media accounts. Here’s a sample you can use.
  • Email tool like MailChimp to create your local email list and send regular newsletters and emails to your group. Here are 6 Email Tools That Will Make Alumni Emails Easy
  • Mailing list sign up form to collect email sign ups from your website or social media. Check out the instructions for this #FacebookHack: Add an Email List Sign Up Form to Your Facebook Group Page
  • University-themed event supplies like a chapter flag/banner, a tent, folding table, tablecloths and other items. Pro-tip: These items can get very expensive but many times your alumni will let you borrow their items. Keep the contact info for those alumni so you can reach out to them in the future. 
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I scoured eBay for years to find an 8 ft inflatable school mascot. This big guy is a real hit at our events.

Want a one-pager to share with your board members and volunteers? I got you covered. It’s located here. #GoTeam

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