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Assessment & Benchmarking

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CEO Transition Checklist
The CASE CEO Transition Checklist is designed to help in managing the transition period between outgoing and incoming CEOs/institutional leaders. It is intended to be inclusive but not exhaustive and not all items may apply to every institution.

Management Checklist for Alumni Relations
The CASE Management Checklist for Alumni Relations is intended to help alumni managers conduct internal self-assessments of information and programs. The checklist may be useful to both new and experienced managers as they assess their programs and may also be helpful in staff and board training and orientation. It is intended to be inclusive but not exhaustive, and not all items may apply to every institution.

Getting Your Metrics System to Work for You
CURRENTS Article From 2012 to 2016, Reggie Bustinza and Joe Volin were tasked with tracking engagement for the nearly 37,000 alumni at Lewis University in Illinois. They got big results, and their system continues to live on after their time at the institution. Here they share their secrets for taking alumni metrics to the next level.

Alumni Engagement Metrics
Good Question Does CASE have any samples of how other institutions are measuring return on investment for alumni relations?

Engaging for Excellence: Alumni Relations Programmes in European Higher Education
White Paper The 2016 ICARS survey reports on data collected September 2015 to November 2015 in the International CASE Alumni Relations Survey. The findings are drawn from 84 responding institutions across 12 European countries. 76 percent of respondents are from the UK and 24 percent are from other European countries. ICARS emphasises the link between alumni relations programmes and alumni engagement in terms of three success measures: the number of alumni attending events, the number of volunteers and the subsequent number of donors. Altogether, these 84 institutions served 8.6 million contactable constituents, employed 358 alumni relations staff, had a budget of £9 million, staged 4,843 alumni events and attracted nearly 107,000 attendees in 2015.

New ICARS Reveals What Makes a Successful AR Programme
Article,  BriefCASE Article What determines a successful alumni relations programme? One that attracts 174 attendees, 45 volunteers and 145 donors per 10,000 contractable alumni. That's according to results reported in the recently released International CASE Alumni Relations Report.

Benchmarking Alumni Relations in Community Colleges: Findings from a 2015 CASE Survey
White Paper This white paper, released February 2016, features key data on alumni relations programs at community colleges across the United States. The paper compares results from 2015 and 2012 across such areas as the structure, operations and budget for alumni relations, alumni data collection and management, alumni communications and engagement strategy, as well as fundraising activities with alumni.

The Good the Bad and the Easy
CURRENTS Article We need to create sensible and effective metrics standards for alumni relations. We need standards and policies to help us benchmark our efforts across institutions—not just at our own. But how do we corral the herd? Let's look at the good and the bad in alumni relations metrics.

A Categorical Decision
CURRENTS Article In 2010, the Indiana University Alumni Association launched a new era of inspired innovation in alumni relations by using typology to assess, organize, and improve its work.

What Does "Successful" Alumni Relations Look Like?
White Paper The 2015 International CASE Alumni Relations survey report draws a picture of alumni relations in Europe from 66 respondents from nine countries. More than three-fourths of respondents are from the United Kingdom and 12 percent are from other European countries. Altogether in 2014, these 66 institutions served 6.4 million living and contactable constituents, employed 347 alumni relations staff, had an aggregate budget of £7.8 million and staged 3,010 alumni events, which attracted nearly 65,000 attendees.

From Feedback to Road Map
CURRENTS Article In the mid-2000s, Wake Forest University’s annual giving began a five-year dip. This story explores how the North Carolina institution used its existing technology tools and dedicated advancement services professionals to chart a new course for alumni relations.

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.

Conducting an Alumni Survey
Article,  Community College News Article Alumni relations professionals launching new programs should survey former students to shape their programming, says a community college practitioner.

Tracking Alumni Engagement
Article,  Community College News Article To show the return on investment of alumni relations, two community colleges have developed systems to measure alumni engagement beyond donations.

Colleges See ROI in Alumni Engagement Tracking Systems
Article,  BriefCASE Article Two community colleges in North America have developed alumni engagement tracking systems that allow them to show a return on investment in alumni relations.

Putting Your Arms Around Smoke
CURRENTS Article The alumni relations profession recognizes the importance of charting return on investment, but the field lacks a definitive model to follow. Three leaders offer differing perspectives on what should be considered when deciding how to measure alumni engagement.

Track Alumni Engagement to Improve Outcomes, Speakers Say
Article,  BriefCASE Article Tracking alumni engagement can help alumni relations offices make better decisions, educate and build buy-in from campus leaders and deploy resources more effectively, according to four alumni professionals who are collaborating to explore tracking models.

Is ROI a Four-Letter Word?
Article,  BriefCASE Article More competition, increasing diversity, declines in membership and affinity programs, changing expectations of volunteers and donors, and business-minded leadership: This is the new reality for alumni relations officers, and as a result, they need to use data to show their value to the institution.

Benchmarking Alumni Relations in Community Colleges: Findings from a 2012 CASE Survey
White Paper This March 2013 white paper summarizes the results of a survey on alumni relations programs at U.S. and Canadian community colleges. The purpose of the survey was to help community college staff members benchmark their experiences and programs in alumni relations with their peers. The survey was conducted by the CASE research office in conjunction with CASE's Center for Community College Advancement.

Benchmarking the Alumni Relations Program
Report In June 2012, CASE fielded a survey about community college alumni relations programs. A total of 133 usable responses were collected from a range of demographic profiles reflecting enrollment size, geographic area and alumni base. Topics included alumni program staff and budget resources, data collection and management, communications and strategy, solicitation and fundraising, governance and alumni associations. This presentation reflects the survey results.

Recommend to a Friend?
CURRENTS Article Customer relationships built on loyalty lead businesses to higher growth and profitability. They lead our institutions to more alumni engagement, the currency of our industry. The Net Promoter system can help institutions better comprehend and meet the needs of various constituencies, including donors and alumni.

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni/Constituent Relations among CASE Members, 2012
Report This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. The report also looks at trends since the first study was conducted in 2010 and offers advice for dealing with technology-related advancement challenges. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and Ellucian, which fielded the survey.

Advancement Research Tools Available at Your Fingertips
Article,  Community College News Article Benchmarking data and research about community college advancement programs are plentiful—if you know where to look.

What Does "Successful" Alumni Relations Look Like?
Report A March 2012 analysis of data from the 2011 International CASE Alumni Relations Survey builds a statistical picture of which alumni services and activities are associated with greater success.

Volunteering Rates
CURRENTS Article Sweet Briar College's alumni office has created a volunteer management system analogous to the college's prospect management system.

Benchmarking Investments in Advancement: Results of the Inaugural CASE Advancement Investment Metrics Study
White Paper The Advancement Investment Metrics Study, or AIMS, benchmarked investments and staffing in each of the advancement disciplines (advancement services, alumni relations, communications and marketing, fundraising, and advancement management) as well as the return on the investment in fundraising specifically. This CASE white paper reports on the study's results by institution type, campaign status and other factors. The formulas and definitions used in the study are also included.

A Is for Affinity
CURRENTS Article A survey tool to gauge alumni affinity promises to help institutions prioritize fundraising, alumni relations, and communications efforts.

ICARS Opens for Participation in August
Article,  BriefCASE Article Members are encouraged to participate in the International CASE Alumni Relations Survey, which launches 8 August.

CASE Survey Reveals Most Successful Alumni Relations Services, Activities
Article,  BriefCASE Article A new CASE survey on alumni relations programs outside of North America reveals the critical need for email addresses and frequent communications via e-newsletters and magazines to grow the number of donors and volunteers. Time is also a key factor.

The Science Behind Alumni Engagement
CURRENTS Article As part of an effort to double fundraising over the next 10 years, the University of Waterloo surveyed its alumni and purchased external data to determine how to move potential leaders into a more active role with the university.

Use of Technology for Development and Alumni Relations among CASE Members
White Paper This research explores the role of "advancement-enabling" technology in helping institutions meet their development and alumni relations goals. It includes data on how technology is being used, barriers to effective use of technology, and strategies for effective deployment of technology. The report is based on data provided by 357 advancement staff in higher education institutions and independent schools. Isurus Market Research and Consulting analyzed the data for CASE and SunGard Higher Education, which fielded the survey.

Survey Reveals Most Successful Alumni Relations Services, Activities
Article,  BriefCASE Article An analysis of data from the latest international CASE survey on alumni relations programs builds a statistical picture of which alumni services and activities are associated with greater success.

CASE Europe Reports Findings from Latest ICAR Survey
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent CASE survey reveals that the median number of full-time alumni relations staff at institutions outside of the United States is three.

The Power of Data
CURRENTS Article Alumni professionals need to demonstrate more effectively the impact they have on the achievement of university ambitions. A group of alumni professionals—mainly from the United Kingdom but also from other parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific—created the International CASE Alumni Relations Survey in the hope of developing just such evidence.

Are We There Yet?
CURRENTS Article With an increased institutional focus on the bottom line and demand for accountability both inside and outside institutions, alumni relations can no longer rely on head counts or anecdotal feedback as indicators of a job well done. Alumni leaders now have to prove it, and to do that, they need to look at their programs with a critical eye, comparing where they stack up against peer and aspirant institutions on specific, measurable objectives. Alumni relations professionals need to benchmark.

Alumni Relations Benchmarking Template
The Alumni Relations Benchmarking Template was approved by the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations in April 2009 to provide alumni relations practitioners with examples of questions they might use to benchmark their programs with those of peer institutions. The questions are intended to serve as a template for communities of practice using the CASE Benchmarking Toolkit. CASE is working to test the integration of the questions into the toolkit so that practitioners can adopt and adapt entire sections for their own surveys. The full template is provided to stimulate discussion and serve communities of practice planning to use the toolkit for peer-group benchmarking.

CASE Benchmarking Toolkit
The CASE Benchmarking Toolkit is a state-of-the-art survey tool that helps advancement professionals benchmark activities, staffing, budgets and other aspects of their programs with peer institutions. The toolkit allows peer communities of practice to design and conduct their own surveys, review results and instantly download charts directly into reports. The toolkit is available to advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing or related professionals at CASE member institutions.

Alumni Relations Best Practice in Europe
With the funding support of Grundtvig, part of the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme, CASE Europe has been taking part in a project to enhance best practice in alumni relations within Europe.

Educational Development in Australasia: 2008 Benchmarking Survey
ADAPE Australasia Inc. and the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies at Queensland University of Technology
Report In 2005 and 2008 ADAPE Australasia (Association of Development and Alumni Professionals in Education) members were surveyed to gather benchmarking data about their operations. This September 2008 report includes data about survey participants; their institutions' fundraising offices, activities, and revenue; and their alumni programs. Ninety-four percent of institutions in the sample were located in Australia with the rest in New Zealand.

Advance Work: Fun with Ratios
CURRENTS Article Using data from the Association of American Universities and U.S. News and World Report, an alumni professional devised a way to determine how alumni relations staffing affects fundraising.

Easy as Pie
CURRENTS Article The author is a member of the Association of Private College and University Alumni Directors, a group of alumni directors who share benchmark information, provide professional support, and conduct research. The most practical application of the group is the in-depth program assessment and metrics rating system it has developed: the Alumni Relations Assessment and Metrics Program, which collects, analyzes, and reports on the effectiveness of alumni relations programs. This article includes a sidebar, "Strength in Numbers," about the Northeast Indiana Alumni Directors Consortium.

Room for Improvement
CURRENTS Article Golden Gate University’s alumni association was not reaching its potential. Therefore, the author of this article saw an opportunity to revisit the association’s goals and embarked on a project to document and improve the GGU alumni experience.

Conversation Piece
CURRENTS Article Alumni directors constantly seek new ways to evaluate their programs and services as they attempt to connect with their former students. A research model from the Performance Enhancement Group has helped provide alumni feedback to more than 50 private and public colleges and universities throughout the United States. PEG has aggregated the responses into a database of more than 50,000 alumni from all 50 states and many other countries. Among other things, survey findings reveal that alumni from all types of institutions feel a sense of pride in their alma mater, younger alumni are less satisfied with campus communications, and that academics matter to alumni. To get even more value from their own alumni research projects, alumni directors should communicate the survey results with a broad alumni audience, develop targeted communications for specific alumni segments, take action directly related to the results, and inform alumni that those changes stem from their input.

The Spectrum of Alumni Involvement
CURRENTS Article Benchmarking in alumni relations has historically been difficult. Keith Brant of the UCLA Alumni Association makes the case for assessing alumni relations programs by more than just alumni giving. Patrick Regan of the University of Portland offers his rating-scale system for measuring the variety of ways his office engages alumni in the life of the university.

Lend Alumni Your Ear
CURRENTS Article Well-run focus groups can help alumni relations officers determine what programs and services their alumni want. This article describes eight steps to conducting useful, cost-effective focus groups. These include identifying your most pressing issues and your target constituencies; developing a script; selecting a moderator, location, and participants; conducting the session; and analyzing the results.

AdvanceWork: Tracking Alumni Event Participation
CURRENTS Article Moving beyond head counts

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