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Alumni Programs & Services

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Talking Shop: Boring Benefits Can Kill Alumni Engagement
CURRENTS Article For more than 25 years, Gary Toyn has worked with clients to enhance their member/donor acquisition, retention, and engagement. He is the lead researcher of numerous studies related to constituent engagement, including the Voluntary Alumni Engagement in Support of Education survey, which analyzes how institutions attract and engage their alumni. In a recent blog series, Toyn discussed the most beneficial and the "lamest" alumni benefits institutions offer.

Access and Allies
CURRENTS Article While universities in Scotland—and around the world—are eager to take advantage of these kinds of missions, they are often hampered by limited resources and can struggle to draw enough alumni to North American events to make the planning and effort worthwhile. These institutions have discovered that joining forces—with each other, the government, and private organizations—is the key to building a more effective international alumni engagement program.

Online Giving: Key Insights from Around the Globe
Article,  BriefCASE Article Donors from around the world are increasingly embracing online fundraising—but there are key regional differences in how individuals engage online, a new study reveals.

U.S. Educational Fundraisers See Slower Growth in 2016-2017
Article,  BriefCASE Article Chief development officers at U.S. colleges and universities estimate that institutional fundraising grew just 2.3 percent during the academic year that ended June 30, 2017, compared to more optimistic projections of 5.5 percent growth made at the start of the year in July 2016.

Asia-Pacific Institutions Report Record Growth in Donors, Giving
Article,  BriefCASE Article Colleges and universities in Australia and New Zealand are investing more in fundraising and alumni engagement operations, according to the results of a CASE survey.

Make Your Network Work for You
Article,  BriefCASE Article When it comes to your career, don’t expect your next promotion or job to be the result of good fortune.

How New Managers Can Be Great Bosses
Article,  BriefCASE Article New managers can grow to become great bosses by recognizing typical challenges and focusing on improvement, according to advancement professionals with firsthand experience.

Cross-Cultural Communication: 3 Best Practices
Article,  BriefCASE Article Educational advancement, for many institutions, has gone global. Use these three ideas from a recent CASE Twitter chat to build cultural understanding.

Survey Shows Partisan Skepticism of Higher Education Impact
Article,  BriefCASE Article Attitudes about the impact of higher education in the United States is a growing partisan issue, reports a recent survey.

CASE Internship Program Highlights Importance of Diversity
Article,  BriefCASE Article Aspiring advancement professionals will benefit from recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in their profession, according to two CASE leaders.

Engaging Alumni with Their Own Stories
Article,  BriefCASE Article An institution's decision to feature monthly profiles of its graduates has led to greater alumni engagement and social media activity.

Checklist: Student Orientation on Social
Article,  BriefCASE Article Though most U.S. college and university campuses are quieter in the summer, there’s still a wealth of content heating up their social media feeds.

Campaigns & Stewardship: 4 Survival Tips
Article,  BriefCASE Article The first rule of managing a campaign stewardship plan? Forget the campaign stewardship plan, say two CASE speakers.

CASE Highlights Successes at Annual Membership Meeting
Article,  BriefCASE Article CASE ended its fiscal year in a strong financial position.

Update on General Data Protection Regulations
Article,  BriefCASE Article In a recent blog post, CASE Europe Interim Executive Director Jennie Moule shares GDPR updates and details of a recent meeting with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Information Commissioner’s Office organized by the University of Cambridge.

More Institutions in Asia-Pacific Region Deploying “Robust” Alumni Engagement Tactics
Article,  BriefCASE Article A new white paper reports that institutions in the Asia-Pacific region are investing more in their alumni relations programs, suggesting a growing institutional awareness of the importance of a strong and robust alumni program.

CASE Europe to Host Fundraising UK Study Tour This Fall
Article,  BriefCASE Article In response to growing demand, CASE Europe is introducing the Fundraising UK Study Tour, which will take place 25-27 October 2017.

CEAC 2017 Early-Bird Rates Available
Article,  BriefCASE Article The CASE Europe Annual Conference 2017 gathers the most valuable talent from educational institutions and other forward-thinking organisations from around the world to network, share best practices and discuss innovative solutions to global education issues.

CASE Europe Annual Conference Registration Open
Article,  BriefCASE Article The CASE Europe Annual Conference 2017 gathers the most valuable talent from educational institutions and other forward-thinking organisations from around the world.

Asia-Pacific Charitable Giving Survey Open
Article,  BriefCASE Article The 2017 Charitable Giving to Universities in Australia and New Zealand Survey is open through 10 April 2017.

Register for the North American Fundraising & Alumni Relations Study Tour 2017
Article,  BriefCASE Article The North American Fundraising and Alumni Relations Study Tour, held 8-12 May in Boston, is a unique opportunity for members to visit and learn from the operations of leading North American institutions.

Alumni Employability Reinforce Global Networks
Article,  BriefCASE Article Global alumni relations, mobility and employability go hand-in-hand in a global economy, according to Gretchen Dobson, vice president, international alumni and graduate services for Academic Assembly Australia.

Master Class: Harnessing the Potential of Philanthropy at Your University
Article,  BriefCASE Article The CASE Asia-Pacific Master Class on 3 March in Canberra, Australia, will address why and how academic leaders should be involved with fundraising at their institutions.

CASE Europe Graduate Trainee Scheme Seeks Applicants
Article,  BriefCASE Article The deadline to apply for the CASE Europe Graduate Trainee Scheme is Monday, 13 March. CASE Europe is looking for graduates and post-graduates interested in a career in fundraising to participate in the Graduate Trainee Scheme.

Enhance Your Marketing Skills at the Strategic Marketing Institute
Article,  BriefCASE Article The Strategic Marketing Institute, 7-9 February in York, UK, will explore skills needed to be an outstanding marketer, and help attendees build a network of supportive peers.

Australia Universities Philanthropy Symposium Offers Next Steps
Article,  BriefCASE Article Last month, more than 80 leaders from more than 30 universities attended a philanthropy symposium hosted by CASE Asia-Pacific and Universities Australia. The event was designed to extend philanthropy capacity and capability among Australian university leaders.

Master Class: Discussing Collaboration between Alumni Relations and Career Services
Article,  BriefCASE Article The CASE Asia-Pacific Master Class on 16 February in Gold Coast, Australia, will explore synergies between alumni relations and career services functions within institutions.

Engaging C-Suite Alumni
Article,  BriefCASE Article Superstar alumni can be obvious picks for major gifts or campus honorifics, but engaging these alumni in a more pragmatic way can have tremendous payoff, writes one CASE member.

Having a ‘Hamilton’ Moment
CURRENTS Article Hamilton College students and alumni were fans of Alexander Hamilton long before the musical about him became a Tony-winning sensation. But the New York institution is happy to revel in the attention surrounding the first U.S. treasury secretary: Excitement about Hamilton has become an undercurrent of the campus culture, says Ellen Hotchkiss Rainey, executive director of alumni and parent relations. Here's how three institutions are connecting with the production's popularity.

Talking Shop: What’s in It for Them?
CURRENTS Article Daniel Cohen and his father, Marcel, founded Graduway in 2009, which builds branded alumni networking and mentoring platforms to help institutions stay in touch with their alumni. Daniel Cohen talks about how universities can enahnce the alumni experience.

A Narrative View
CURRENTS Article Whether it's to honor loyal donors and volunteers, showcase alumni achievements, build trust and intimacy within your community, or tap into nostalgia, telling alumni stories can be a powerful way to engage and enlighten your graduates. But alumni stories don't have to just be profiles in the back of the university's magazine. They can take many shapes and serve different purposes.

Talking Shop: Value Added
CURRENTS Article The online financial services company SoFi was founded in 2011 by four Stanford Graduate School of Business classmates to provide alumni-funded student loans. Since then, the company has expanded its financial products to mortgages and wealth management and seemingly adopted an alumni relations approach to customer service, offering members social events, career counseling, and webinars. Macklin shares the key to SoFi's success: Be relevant in several aspects of members' lives.

Grateful Graduates
CURRENTS Article Colorado's Craig Hospital, which specializes in treating brain and spinal cord injuries, invites former patients to a block party that builds on the close relationship hospital staff develop with patients. The party helps to connect graduates with patients who are experiencing challenges that come with a disability, from walking and balancing issues to financial burdens due to medical expenses and loss of full-time employment.

Thinking Outside the Quad
CURRENTS Article Whether it's tying physics research to Star Trek or bragging up your soccer team during the World Cup, popular news events can lead to exciting opportunities for alumni and community engagement. Here's how institutions from Catholic University to Lafayette College used current events to energize past and present students.

Yep, This Is a Virtual Event
CURRENTS Article From class reunions to networking, more and more universities are getting savvy at hosting virtual events. Here's how eight institutions are doing it right.

When Alumni Don’t Care about Tradition
CURRENTS Article An institution's relationship with its alumni cannot be completely based on nostalgia. While most alumni value their alma mater's history and tradition, even diehard reunion attendees want to talk about more than their freshman year. They want to know that their degree keeps increasing in value, that new facilities are being built, and that the university is rising in national rankings. If your alumni crave a relationship with your college as it is today, not as it was back then, then your programming should reflect that.

Paging All Postdocs
CURRENTS Article The University of Cambridge in the U.K. is extending alumni benefits to its current and former postdoctoral researchers. In May 2014, Cambridge established an Office of Postdoctoral Affairs to serve the nearly 4,000 postdoctoral researchers on campus. The office offers advice to newcomers, hosts a range of intellectual and social events to connect the community of researchers, and provides career programming and job listings. The office also wants to keep the researchers engaged after their appointment ends.

Expert Advice on Starting an Alumni Relations Program
Article,  BriefCASE Article Advancement shops at four-year institutions that are thinking about starting an alumni relations program could look to a few community colleges for inspiration.

In Good Company
CURRENTS Article The RedTire program connects rural business owners with aspiring entrepreneurs and graduates of the University of Kansas, where it is based, and the state's five other public universities and 11 community colleges.

To Affinity … and Beyond!
CURRENTS Article Universities are becoming more involved with niche affinity groups that either speak to postgraduate professional and personal interests or hark back to those nostalgic memories. Finding those pockets of alumni can boost engagement in ways that hosting class reunions may not.

The Road to Lifelong Engagement
CURRENTS Article By targeting specific alumni groups, alumni associations can create powerful connections that increase engagement, volunteerism, and giving.

The Write Stuff
CURRENTS Article This year, the Cornell Black Alumni Association created a grant to assist members in publishing a book.

Numbers Aren’t Your Nemesis
CURRENTS Article Institutional leaders are taking a more business-like approach to alumni relations, focusing increasingly on the bottom line and a clear return on investment. Alumni professionals need to better exercise the basics of financial management, both for survival and to make a case for future investment. This story details steps your alumni office can adopt right now to do just that.

Laws of Attraction
CURRENTS Article In an era of tight budgets and increased accountability, giving alumni what they want—and how they want it—is critical. Developing an effective engagement strategy requires alumni professionals to reconsider how alumni identify themselves, relinquish control of some programs, and meet alumni where they are—on land or online. Most of all, it requires a willingness to listen and to change.

Swifter, Sharper, Stronger
CURRENTS Article A growing number of chief alumni officers are striving to make the alumni board a more strategic entity. To achieve this, chief alumni officers recommend aligning the alumni board's goals with the institution's goals, rethinking the board's membership and nominating process, and making the board's work meaningful to alumni and the institution. The end result is a more positive experience for alumni relations' VIPs: the volunteers.

The Journey Is the Reward
CURRENTS Article The alumni relations profession has undergone profound changes in the past 100 years. As the field celebrates the centennial of the Association of Alumni Secretaries - a predecessor of CASE - eight alumni relations leaders share their thoughts about the challenges and opportunities the profession faces at the dawn of its second century.

Selling for U
CURRENTS Article Brandeis University maintains a fruitful, 64-year relationship with a group of "friends" who hold book sales and other fundraisers for the institution year after year.

Network Views
CURRENTS Article The financial crisis of 2008 brought with it a deepening sense of insecurity, and the desire to be connected to a network increased. The MIT Alumni Association wanted to respond to this change in the economic landscape, and in doing so, staff found a new way to partner with alumni and enhance the roles they play.

Advance Work: Powering Up
CURRENTS Article The United World College of South East Asia starts a robust alumni relations program from scratch.

Know Your Market
CURRENTS Article Surveys may not be the solution to every engagement conundrum, but good research can help institutions understand how to better connect with alumni. Alumni relations officers and research pros share what they've learned and provide tips on how to get the most useful data.

Community Writ Large and Small
CURRENTS Article At many institutions the majority of students are women, the student body is increasing, or more ethnically diverse students are enrolling. Alumni officers are smart to revise their programming to serve these alumni.

Advance Work: Creepy Campuses
CURRENTS Article Campus ghost stories can build affinity with students, who can develop fond memories of telling spooky tales on campus, and attract fans of history and the supernatural who otherwise have no ties to your institution.

AdvanceWork: Membership Has Its Privileges
CURRENTS Article The Wisconsin Alumni Association and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries teamed up to offer WAA members free online access to library resources--a benefit previously available only to students and faculty on campus.

One Craft, Different Cultures
CURRENTS Article More alumni directors outside North America are reaching out to their alumni audiences to encourage lifelong relationships with alma mater. However, these alumni directors face unique challenges. In Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australia, school and university alumni often don’t have the tradition of giving to alma mater that’s a given in the United States and Canada. The institutions might not have maintained close ties with alumni, and poor record keeping can hinder relationship-building efforts. Some institutions' goals for alumni relations include encouraging continuing education and career networking by alumni as well as fund raising. Campus alumni offices also can become resources for groups of alumni who are more connected to each other than to the institution.

All Hands on Deck
CURRENTS Article Turnover can create havoc in an advancement office, leading to holes in the institutional memory and breaking fragile links between donors and the institution. The advancement staff at the University of Massachusetts Lowell has reinvented its operations to create a team approach that strengthens long-term relationships and focuses staff members on securing cash gifts, especially major gifts. Using a structure of four interdisciplinary teams, advancement officers focus on offering relevant alumni programs and services, meeting face-to-face with donors, involving all staff members in gift cultivation, and maintaining an attitude of mutual respect across advancement.

The Many Faces of Alumni
CURRENTS Article Your alumni’s needs and preferences change as they age. But has your alumni association kept pace? Alumni associations must become more professional, business-driven organizations. They must hire staff with more marketing and technology skills, and must learn to segment their markets in order to develop customized program. Market research can help associations target their limited resources toward their most promising growth markets.

Infusing Education Into All We Do
CURRENTS Article Educational programming often attracts alumni who don’t participate in other alumni activities, and it can also help the alumni office build on-campus relationships and support. This article presents a broad definition of educational programs and describes examples such as reunion seminars, community service projects, alumni club lectures and tours, student-alumni workshops, vendor-led seminars on financial matters, and online career networks.

Joining Forces
CURRENTS Article Small colleges may have trouble hosting alumni events in locations where their alumni base is small. Three liberal arts colleges in Maine--Bowdoin, Colby, and Bates--teamed up to hold combined programs for alumni in cities nationwide. The three alumni offices now work together to organize arts and sports events, travel programs, and networking parties, as well as a joint annual retreat for alumni officers from nine New England colleges.

Setting Up Shop
CURRENTS Article The author presents stories of how institutions, ranging from two-year colleges to independent schools, have launched or revived alumni associations. Alumni officers can adapt the strategies she describes to match the needs of their own campuses.

Be An Alumni Relations Revolutionary
CURRENTS Article The article summarizes advice for alumni relations officers from Guy Kawasaki, a leading tech-industry figure, member of the Stanford Alumni Association board, and author of the book Rules for Revolutionaries. Included are examples of alumni associations that have, in keeping with Kawasaki’s philosophy, experimented with new and better ways to operate, allowed innovation to flourish, and boosted alumni loyalty.

AdvanceWork: For Keeps
CURRENTS Article This article outlines the basics of establishing an "e-mail for life" or permanent e-mail address service for alumni.

Proceed with Caution
CURRENTS Article An alumni relations executive offers event and programming tips that respond to and capitalize on societal trends.

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