Samples, Research & Tools
Alumni Relations Benchmarking Template

The Alumni Relations Benchmarking Template was originally developed by the Association of Private College and University Alumni Directors (PCUAD). In April 2009 the template was adapted and formally adopted by  the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations to provide alumni relations practitioners at all types of institutions with examples of questions they might use to benchmark their programs with those of peer organizations.

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.

Meanwhile, the full template is provided here to stimulate discussion and serve communities of practice planning to use the toolkit for peer-group benchmarking.

CASE is grateful to PCUAD for sharing these benchmarking questions for the benefit of the entire alumni relations community.

Organizational Management
Does the alumni relations office have a strategic operating plan that is shared with key stakeholders? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a marketing and communications plan for the alumni office/association? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a plan to recruit and retain a diverse alumni relations staff? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have up-to-date job descriptions for all staff? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have an up-to-date organization chart? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a plan for staff development (professional, management, technical, etc.)? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have written office procedures (handbook, online, etc.)? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have adequate office space? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office hold regular staff meetings? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have an annual planning retreat? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office reward or recognize staff innovation and initiative? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office conduct annual staff evaluations? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office conduct annual program evaluations? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office create an annual report? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a written crisis management plan in place? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a written disaster recovery plan in place? YES/NO
Demographics
Number of undergraduate mailable alumni
Number of undergraduate unmailable alumni ("lost" or "do not contact" undergraduate alumni)
Number of emailable undergraduate alumni
Number of graduate mailable alumni
Number of graduate unmailable alumni ("lost" or "do not contact" graduate alumni)
Number of emailable graduate alumni
Number of emailable alumni (total)
Number of undergraduate students (enrolled full-time)
Number of graduate students (include all graduate students, full and part time, for this figure)
Number of alumni relations professional staff (FTE)
Number of alumni relations support staff (FTE)
Number of student worker FTEs in the alumni relations office
Total number of staff dedicated to frontline fundraising and alumni relations
Total number of unique alumni who attended any institution/alumni event over the last year
How many alumni live outside the country?
Do you have an international alumni relations engagement plan? YES/NO
Senior Administration Partnerships
Does the alumni relations executive director meet regularly with senior administration? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office educate institution leaders about the value of alumni relations? YES/NO
Do volunteer leaders meet regularly with senior administration? YES/NO
Do senior administrators meet with alumni in general? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations executive director meet with or present to trustees or committee? YES/NO
Does the board of trustees have a committee that focuses on alumni relations issues? YES/NO
Is the alumni relations staff represented on institution-wide initiatives or committees? YES/NO
Institutional Fundraising
Number of undergraduate alumni who gave a gift
Number of alumni who gave a gift
Percent annual giving (participation rate reported to US News and World Report magazine)
Is there a good/productive working relationship between the alumni office and the development office? YES/NO
Is there collaboration between the alumni office and the development office? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office have a role in communications to alumni about fundraising? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations staff file contact reports on activity with key alumni? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office participate in capital campaigns? YES/NO
Overall, is fundraising at your institution more centralized or more decentralized? More centralized/More decentralized
Does the alumni relations office financially support the fundraising model at your institution? YES/NO
If so, briefly state how (in 50 words or fewer). YES/NO
Database Management
Do you have a single central database? YES/NO
Do you have a written policy for volunteer use of alumni data? YES/NO
Do you have an active program for ensuring data integrity? YES/NO
Do you code event attendance? YES/NO
Do you code awards? YES/NO
Do you code volunteer activities? YES/NO
Do you code affinity groups? YES/NO
Do you code club membership/participation? YES/NO
Do you code travel program participation? YES/NO
Student Outreach Programs
Total number of student participants in student-alumni events
Senior class gift participation percentage
Number of students in your student alumni group
Do the student outreach programs have a written mission, plan, and goals? YES/NO
Is there a job description for student volunteers? YES/NO
Does a student-alumni group exist? YES/NO
Is there a good/productive working relationship between the alumni office and the student affairs staff and appropriate student leaders? YES/NO
Does the alumni board address student-alumni relations (committee, accepts reports, etc.)? YES/NO
Publications: Electronic Communications
Number of registered users within online community
Number of institution-activated or email forwarding addresses activated
Unique logins to online community per month (average)
Number of people who have registered for an event online
Do you have an alumni Web site? YES/NO
Do you have an online community (communications and services)? YES/NO
Does your alumni office have a marketing plan aimed at emerging social networks? YES/NO
Do alumni have the ability to update their personal information online? YES/NO
Do alumni have access to a variety of electronic newsletters? YES/NO
Does your alumni office have a broadcast e-mail policy? YES/NO
Do you have an online alumni directory? YES/NO
Is the alumni Web site managed by the alumni relations office? YES/NO
Does your board consider issues pertaining to technology and electronic communication? YES/NO
Do you have a staff member responsible for training alumni relations staff in electronic communications? YES/NO
Do you assign any staff member to lead electronic communications in their job description? YES/NO
Do you have a written plan for incorporating technology in alumni relations? YES/NO
Do you have tracking and evaluation mechanisms in place? YES/NO
Is there a good / productive working relationship between the alumni office and the campus technology office and/or outside vendors? YES/NO
Do you have a printed alumni directory? YES/NO
Do you offer online event registration? YES/NO
Publications: Magazine
Number of issues per year
Circulation per issue
Does the magazine includes class notes? YES/NO
Does the magazine include alumni association message or news? YES/NO
Does the magazine includes alumni profile(s)? YES/NO
Does the magazine include student, faculty, and campus culture coverage? YES/NO
Does the magazine include athletic reporting? YES/NO
Does the magazine include the president's column, or news about presidential activity? YES/NO
Does the magazine include fundraising in each issue? YES/NO
Is there a partnership between the magazine and the alumni relations office? YES/NO
Is there an electronic magazine presence? YES/NO
At least one issue of your alumni magazine is sent to all alumni in U.S. YES/NO
At least one issue of your alumni magazine is sent to international alumni YES/NO
At least one issue of your alumni magazine is sent to current parents YES/NO
At least one issue of your alumni magazine is sent to current students YES/NO
Where does the primary responsibility for the alumni magazine reside? Alumni Office/Other Office
Does your institution send other printed alumni publications to all alumni? YES/NO
Budget and Finance
Does the alumni relations office have an annual budget review and planning process? YES/NO
Does the alumni relations office review staff salaries on an annual basis? YES/NO
Which entity provides the largest source of financial support for your alumni relations operation? Institution/Foundation/Alumni Association/Other
Alumni relations self-generated support (in dollars)
Alumni relations staff salary support (in dollars) from institution (exclude benefits)
Alumni relations program support (dollars) from institution
If your institution has an alumni center, is this facility supported primarily by the institution’s budget? YES/NO
Additional Questions
Does the alumni relations office have an alumni association? YES/NO
If YES/NO, does the alumni association charge dues for membership? YES/NO
Are membership dues counted as gifts? YES/NO
Are your regional clubs or chapters supported by the alumni relations staff? YES/NO
Do your regional clubs or chapters have any reporting requirements to the alumni relations department or association to maintain its “member in good standing” status with your organization? YES/NO