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Alumni Outreach & Engagement

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Claiming Our Story: The Imperative for Higher Education
Claiming Our Story: The Imperative for Higher Education

A Campus Away From Campus
CURRENTS Article Helping online students feel connected to your institution is a major challenge for engagement professionals. In 2015, the Penn State San Diego alumni chapter created an "adoption" program to engage the hundreds of virtual students in its neighborhood and make them feel part of the Penn State family. The chapter assessed its ongoing programming to see how it could include and assist San Diego-area distance learners. It offered the students free membership, invited them to a networking event, sent encouraging notes during finals week, and hosted a family-friendly afternoon holiday party.

An Emojional Connection
CURRENTS Article In 2017, school spirit is spelled out in emojis. As alumni's relationships with their alma maters go digital, institutions have started branding their own emoji keyboards. Emojis, GIFs, and stickers that come in keyboard packs are great for repping an institution on Facebook, Twitter, and via text messages. But having branded emojis doesn't mean spamming the internet with icons of your mascot making goofy faces. Institutions have to be strategic about their icon designs and rollout to get the most out of their media.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article The University of Melbourne's "Collision" brand campaign shows that the university is a research institution tackling the world's challenges; Rice University's Owl Edge Externships help undergraduates explore career opportunities and engage more alumni volunteers in the process; and Cheshire Academy's "One Word. One Gift." campaign asks supporters to submit a single word to describe their Cheshire experience and make an annual fund gift in honor of their chosen term.

Gifts in Kind
CURRENTS Article Remember the stress of your freshman exams? So does the alumni relations team at Western University in Canada, who thought a little bit of kindness and inspiration might make students smile and connect with alumni. During winter finals in 2016, the team solicited alumni to write postcards to students living in their old residence hall.

Listen Up
CURRENTS Article Longwood University's Day After Graduation podcast, launched in February 2017, gets real with advice for navigating life after commencement. Alumni recall their own experiences during those first few years after leaving the Virginia institution.

A Novel Approach to Alumni Engagement
CURRENTS Article Are some of your alumni more interested in turning through chapters than in leading them? Institutions have begun offering virtual and in-person fixes for the book addicts among their graduates. Most of the programs are no- or low-cost, easy to manage, and attract new pockets of alumni. Check out these different ways to appeal to literature-loving alumni.

Volunteer by the Minute
CURRENTS Article No time? No worries. Longwood University has found a way for busy alumni to volunteer in 15-minute bundles. The Virginia institution asks graduates to give one hour a month, and alumni can contribute anytime, using any device.

The Matchmaker of Silicon Valley
CURRENTS Article Dee Dee Mendoza works in development, but she thinks like an entrepreneur. As managing director for West Coast advancement for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, she teams with alumni volunteers to host the Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum in San Francisco, an annual event for networking, sharing ideas, and learning from speakers such as PayPal Chairman John Donahoe (Class of '82). A recent survey from the Entrepreneurs' Organization, a global network of more than 10,000 business owners, found that 81.6 percent of respondents were interested in starting a new business. With entrepreneurship on the rise, Currents asked Mendoza for her insights on building relationships between entrepreneurs and institutions and what she's learned from working with more than 500 company founders.

Copy and Share Everything
CURRENTS Article Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary helps prospective students envision their place at the Kentucky institution; the University of Melbourne's advancement staff members create short, informal messages to prompt alumni recipients to update their contact information; and Miami University's Snapchat newsletter releases a Snapchat story filled with images of event fliers and details for activities happening on the Ohio campus each day.

Talking Shop: We’re All Ducks
CURRENTS Article Vu Le is the brains and comedic voice behind the Nonprofit with Balls blog. As an executive director of a nonprofit, Le often writes from the perspective of a grantee, producing no-nonsense articles such as “9 annoying nonprofit trends that need to die.” His Seattle-based organization, Rainier Valley Corps, trains people of color for nonprofit leadership positions, so he has lots to say about improving diversity.

Decking the Halls
CURRENTS Article Fun holiday traditions at the University of Virginia, High Point University, Seton Hall University, and the University of Dayton.

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.

4 Tips to Inspire Alumni Advocacy
Article,  BriefCASE Article Alumni can be your institution's most ardent advocates—if armed with the tools and support to do it, say participants in a recent Twitter chat.

Alumni Appreciation on Social: 3 Tactics
Article,  BriefCASE Article When it comes to alumni engagement and ultimately donor stewardship, never underestimate the power of surprise swag.

Why Alumni Do and Do Not Give to Their Alma Mater
Article,  BriefCASE Article Alumni and donors who hold degrees from two or more institutions prioritize giving to their undergraduate institution, according to a recent study.

The Great Alumni Hunt Continues: Student Sleuths Track Down More Alumni
Article,  BriefCASE Article A collaborative effort between one institution and its foundation netted hundreds of newly found alumni and stronger communications between faculty and advancement staff.

Endowment Growth Stays Average, but Giving Continues to Rise in 2016
Article,  BriefCASE Article The rate of growth for endowments of U.S. colleges and universities maintained an average rate in 2016, according to the NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. The 805 U.S. institutions that participated collectively reported an average return of -1.9 percent for fiscal year 2016 compared with 2.4 percent for fiscal year 2015.

Time to Pause
CURRENTS Article Project Pause, developed by two Northwestern University alumni, is a mentoring program that offers seniors a chance to take a break to ponder their future, with the aid of young alumni, before embarking on the chaos of their final year.

By the Numbers: Put a Stamp on It
CURRENTS Article At the University of Puget Sound, volunteer alumni handwrite a personalized postcard to each student accepted into the university one month before the crucial May 1 decision date.

Keeping the Faith
CURRENTS Article Alumni relations is not a religion—but many of the same tenets that bind religious systems can also be applied to our profession. You may think that comparing alumni relations to organized religion is itself a leap of faith, but alumni relations can and should be a lifelong source of guidance and inspiration. Educational institutions' responsibilities go beyond the academic education of students, and likewise the purpose of alumni relations and its networks go beyond the institution. Alumni relations can be a powerful force for good in the community as well as for the institution and the alumni.Not convinced? Here's how viewing alumni relations through the lens of a "new religion" can ground your work in a larger context.

The Art of Fundraising
CURRENTS Article The University of Houston's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards Gala helped some students and graduates earn cash. The gala included live and silent auctions of student- and alumni-created art inspired by UH's mascot, a cougar named Shasta.

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.

Donors Unite
CURRENTS Article Texas Christian University needed to fund its media convergence center for journalism students. It wanted to renovate an existing building to contain a pooled newsroom combining space for print, online, and broadcast journalism. It identified two nonexempt charitable trusts as possible partners: The trusts were administered by a local bank and focused on higher education or journalism. Normally, to be funded, you have to apply to each trust individually. But TCU wanted a pooled grant to create a larger gift than either could make on its own. TCU needed to get the trust officers to vote together as a committee on grant decisions. Here's what it did.

Aligning the Satellites
CURRENTS Article See if any of these situations sound familiar: Your alumni association staff emails alumni the same week that athletics sends out its annual appeal. A faculty member hosts a group of former marching band members, but no one takes pictures. The challenges of campuswide alumni engagement can be tricky, and without a strategy, you can duplicate efforts or miss opportunities. The result? All your efforts are sinking into a black hole. Does your central alumni office know how your campus units, departments, and offices talk with alumni? Are faculty and staff informing you of interactions with alumni? Do they understand your alumni association's goals and messages? If you cannot answer these questions—or you don't like the answers—then it might be time to reassess cross-campus collaboration. Here are some ways to energize and revitalize your alumni engagement efforts.

When Your Alumni Council Is Wilting
CURRENTS Article In 2011, the Alumni/ae Council at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in Minnesota was nearly nonexistent. Other than holding monthly meetings and a lackluster fundraising phonathon, the council sponsored no programs or events; it did not follow its bylaws and had no reporting structure or processes for recruiting new members. Most of the 11 council members were suffering from volunteer fatigue, particularly the president. Few members attended meetings, which were unproductive. The council frequently discussed the need to recruit new members but never developed an action plan. In short, it was time for a change.

The Case of the Covert Cash
CURRENTS Article Since September 2015, an anonymous alumnus has twice slipped onto the Ferris State University campus to leave five envelopes in random places addressed to "A Ferris Student." Each envelope contains a letter and $50. The note instructs recipients to purchase food, books, or other necessities and is signed Woody Jr., a tribute to the Michigan university's founder, Woodbridge "Woody" Ferris.

Clocking In for Campus
CURRENTS Article Each May, more than 200 alumni volunteers arrive at Berry College in Georgia for Alumni Work Week to reconnect with classmates and help maintain the 27,000-acre campus. Alumni do everything from weaving chair seats to restoring doors and cleaning the barns, gazebos, nature trails, and vegetable cooling rooms.

Loved, but Lost
CURRENTS Article Your lost alumni have become untethered, drifting away from their beloved campus, and you're not sure how to bring them back. Some don't update contact information when they relocate; others ignore your correspondence because they think you only want money. Still others might like to reconnect but don't know how or are too busy to realize they haven't heard from you. Search-and-rescue attempts aren't easy. Tight budgets don't help, nor do increasing numbers of graduates, many of whom hop jobs and locations early in their career. But even with these challenges, institutions are designing affordable, innovative campaigns for finding alumni who could become a valuable part of the college's mission. Here's what you can learn from them.

Advance Work
CURRENTS Article CURRENTS April 2016 Advance Work stories: MIT students continue the tradition of a piano plunge during class drop day; a recent poll gives insight into why alumni don't give; Princeton University social media staff use a game to streghthen skills and teamwork; Lakefield College School boosts giving through an alumni challenge campaign; and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, students place apples at the feet of a statute of Minerva for luck during finals.

Training Camp
CURRENTS Article Using alumni volunteers as university ambassadors is a no-brainer, say advancement professionals. Most universities and colleges offer some kind of orientation or training for their alumni volunteers, but in recent years the trend has been to provide more robust, dedicated training. Many institutions hold training days, often tied to another on-campus alumni event, such as homecoming or an alumni weekend.

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.

‘G’ Is for Giving
CURRENTS Article When Louisiana's Grambling State University announced that state funding would cover just 30 percent of its budget, two alumnae created a unique giving program. The "I'm a G: 10 for $10" campaign challenged alumni to give $10 and to recruit 10 friends to do the same.

Do Traditions Matter?
CURRENTS Article Illinois State University's traditions website features 15 traditions that combine the best of the 159-year-old university's history, student life, academics, and athletics. The goal is to improve alumni engagement, encourage philanthropy, and "reflect what ISU strives to be" by identifying the university's traditions, which include places, activities, and historical events, and making them a core part of ISU's culture.

Saving Sweet Briar
CURRENTS Article The inside story of how a scrappy group of passionate alumnae raised money, fought in the courts, and gathered support from community leaders to keep Sweet Briar College's doors open—and what advancement can learn from it

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.

Amazing Alumni Spaces
CURRENTS Article Whether it's historic or modern, intimate or enormous, a good alumni house enhances its university's culture and caters to alumni needs. It can be the backdrop of a memory-making wedding photo, the scenic start of a tour, a place to recharge school spirit, or a cozy nook for relaxing. Here are seven noteworthy alumni spaces that will impress you with their backstory, technology, collections, and character.

Door-to-Dorm Service
CURRENTS Article For freshmen transitioning to college life, care packages invoke a feeling of home.

Spring 2015
CURRENTS Article A 25-year-old assistant director of alumni relations shares the lessons learned during her first year at Williston Northampton School.

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.

Forge New Alumni Ties with Service Program
Article,  BriefCASE Article A service program can engage alumni in a fresh, new way and empower volunteer leaders, says an alumni relations expert.

Making Transition a Tradition
CURRENTS Article The ways alumni associations welcome their newest alumni can set the stage for a lasting relationship.

Game Plan
CURRENTS Article Your alumni are begging for something fun that will grab their attention. Let's look at ways your university can dust the stuffiness off of its giving campaigns and attract the attention of long-lost alumni.

Liberal Arts & Alliances
CURRENTS Article Arts and sciences colleges tend to be the largest on campus, but the extensive donor base doesn't usually translate into the biggest gifts. Colleges and their donor bases are not identical. This means that liberal arts colleges need to take a unique approach to alumni engagement and development. The strategy also requires new talent management policies and cross-college collaboration.

Identity Crisis
CURRENTS Article Whatever the intention behind an institutional change, straying too far from the identity former students grew fond of can alienate and anger your biggest fans.

Outlook: Solicit Behavior
CURRENTS Article Dealing with alumni who don't want to be contacted seems uncomplicated. Yet the process isn't as simple as it seems. The do-not-solicit policy at many colleges and universities is imprecise and can undermine your institution's culture of giving—and lead to the loss of big gifts. It's time to rethink the do-not-solicit policy: Does it refer to all communications or just some? Is it temporary or permanent? Who has the authority to classify alumni that way? When do we re-engage alumni, and how?

Everything You Need to Know About Campaigns
CURRENTS Article While fundraising campaigns seem ubiquitous, especially in the United States, growing numbers of universities from Australia to Europe are undertaking inaugural campaigns. Here are several strategies for success.

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article Alumni relations staff partnered with an English 101 class to interview graduates about their time at Elgin Community College, what the institution means to them, and their lives after graduation.

How Alumni Relations Professionals Can Work with Academics
Podcast Kathryn Chedgzoy of the University of Birmingham discusses what alumni practitioners should know about academics before reaching out to them. Also, learn some ideas for involving academics in alumni relations efforts.

Play Makers
CURRENTS Article Alumni officers need to invest in family-friendly programming to stay connected with young alumni. But it's not as simple as hosting a children's carnival at your next reunion. This articles covers key strategies for success.

Beyond the Classroom
CURRENTS Article In the past decade, as states slashed postsecondary education appropriations, and college presidents responded by prioritizing academics over cocurricular programming, hundreds of large and midsize universities began fundraising for everything from new student union facilities to transportation to off-campus cultural excursions. Student affairs fundraisers face many hurdles, among them educating campus constituents about the importance of their work, finding prospects amid scant student records, and getting donors to support areas not directly related to attaining a degree.

Foreign Service
CURRENTS Article Are you looking for new ways to involve your international alumni in the life of your institution? CURRENTS examines the specifics of engagement initiatives at the University of Toronto, the University of Queensland, and London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, among others, and offers recommendations that other institutions can implement.

Engagement with an Endpoint
CURRENTS Article Last year the University of Michigan's 30-Minute Mentors program brought 50 graduates back to campus to provide quick career consultations for 164 students. This year, the university added a virtual complement to serve more students and diversify the pool of alumni mentors.

What’s the Idea?
CURRENTS Article How can institutions communicate the urgency of increasing the alumni giving participation rate? This brief article includes advice from Hilary Shepard, Boston University's annual giving director.

It’s Academic
CURRENTS Article Alumni consider relationships with professors to be critically important to their educational experiences—and a primary source of their affinity for their college, university, or school. Yet alumni offices and associations often struggle to build relationships with these important institutional ambassadors. To improve relations with alumni, advancement professionals need to enlist faculty members as partners. This article offers advice for doing just that.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Article,  Community College News Article Community colleges leaders should recognize the importance of using different engagement and cultivation strategies to reach and garner donations from different generations of alumni, says a leading alumni relations practitioner.

Recruit. Retain. Repeat.
CURRENTS Article Gone are the days of volunteers responding in large numbers to an institution’s blanket request for help. Free time is in short supply today, and your alumni and other stakeholders who are considering a volunteer opportunity want assurances that their time will not be wasted. How do institutions recruit and manage volunteers in this environment? One piece of advice: Find the right person for the job, and be clear about expectations.

Time = Treasure
CURRENTS Article Advancement leaders should promote and recognize nonmonetary contributions and alumni engagement the same way they do financial gifts. Many institutions understand the need to find, train, evaluate, and retire volunteers, but few spend time creating the case for participation, setting and communicating alumni volunteer goals, making a targeted ask, and acknowledging services rendered.

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.

A Little Help from Their Friends
CURRENTS Article Today’s economic climate is accelerating the trend of institutions investing in alumni legislative advocacy. These programs typically follow one of two models: Grasstops advocacy, which engages targeted groups of alumni who have a personal connection with public officeholders, and grassroots advocacy, which involves the larger alumni body and mass communication efforts. Despite having somewhat different needs from their four-year, public counterparts, private colleges and universities, community colleges, and international institutions all can benefit from forging closer relationships between graduates and their elected representatives.

Wicket Ways
CURRENTS Article The yearly croquet match between St. John's College and the U.S. Naval Academy engages the community and both institutions' stakeholders.

Narrowing the Field
CURRENTS Article Traditional alumni programs are about prompting graduates to do something—anything—for the institution. But these mass approaches, on their own, deliver small returns on large investments. Allocating some significant resources to a smaller group gives alumni professionals the opportunity to better engage a population that can truly advance the institution.

Alumni to the Rescue
CURRENTS Article The oldest alumni association on record, the Williams College Society of Alumni, was founded in 1821 to support the institution during a time of economic uncertainty. Nearly two centuries later, the organization still takes to heart its mission to protect the college through service and philanthropy.

Maximizing Alumni Relations in a Major Campaign
Podcast Hear Donna Arbide from the University of Miami talk about what campaign goals alumni relations offices should set and how they should be measured. Also, hear her discuss how playing a key role in a major campaign can bolster the position of the alumni relations office within advancement.

Not a Moment Too Soon
CURRENTS Article As advancement professionals seek new ways to build passionate alumni bases prepared to devote time and financial resources to their alma maters after graduation, many alumni offices and associations are bringing alumni into programming even before first-year students begin classes. Alumni leaders go about this task in different ways, including send-off parties, orientation events, mentoring opportunities, and traditions books.

Social Prospects
CURRENTS Article This brief article looks at how Cornell University is using the profile information its alumni provide in its social media communities to identify potential donors.

The Pages of Time
CURRENTS Article Three graduates of Whitman College organized the Whitman College Letter Project, which used the personal correspondence of students to tell a history of the institution in the 1960s. The project was inspired by a presentation by a noted professor during their 40th class reunion in 2011.

Alumni Relations Pros Share Strategies to Triple Engagement
Article,  BriefCASE Article Institutions that want to significantly grow alumni and financial support must take bold, calculated risks, be authentic with alumni and communicate as much as possible with key constituencies. That’s the advice of two advancement leaders who will discuss their institution’s goal to double alumni engagement by 2015 at the upcoming 2013 CASE Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference.

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.

Mascot Madness
CURRENTS Article Mascots can foster school spirit and energize sports teams but also can breed discord. Some schools have been challenged to replace controversial mascots while others have encountered resistance when introducing different mascot designs. Whether it's an adorable animal or a menacing vegetable, a mascot serves to keeps students, teachers, alumni, and fans engaged with the institution they love.

A More Perfect Union
CURRENTS Article From annual funds to capital campaigns, alumni relations and stewardship professionals are finding their paths crossing more than ever. Strategic collaboration between development and alumni relations enhances an advancement operation's bottom line.

Office Space: Prime Time
CURRENTS Article This column discusses how and why annual giving has grown more sophisticated and more important at higher education institutions in the past couple of decades as well as the challenge of engaging alumni in a weak economy amid rising college costs and student loan debt.

Major League Bragging Rights
CURRENTS Article In competing to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field to start off one of two Chicago Cubs "Salute to the Big 10" night baseball games in October 2012, Big 10 alumni chapters in Chicago, including Michigan State University's Chicago Spartans, gained an attractive opportunity to engage alumni and demonstrate the benefits of Big 10 alumni networking to high school guidance counselors.

A Vested Interest
CURRENTS Article A new endeavor recruits alumni to advance loans students at their alma maters need to stay in school.

The Debt Threat
CURRENTS Article A young alumnus would like to give to the annual fund, but his student loan debt is holding him back. What can advancement do to address this burgeoning problem?

In Service to Others
CURRENTS Article At Stonehill College in Massachusetts, a service initiative helps local schoolchildren and serves as an extension of the undergraduate experience.

Office Space: Personal Invitations
CURRENTS Article The LGBT community is growing in visibility and formal acceptance. How can institutions better welcome and integrate this community into their educational advancement efforts?

States of Emergency
CURRENTS Article Given the stakes and the current economic climate, U.S. higher education officials across the country are stepping up their advocacy efforts.

In Their Own Words
CURRENTS Article Annual young alumni panel pleases parents, boosts admissions

Let’s Get Together
CURRENTS Article A growing number of institutions are recognizing the importance of reaching out to and involving alumni in meaningful ways—even encoding that outreach into a specific campaign goal.

Bright Prospects
CURRENTS Article Graduate students have different campus experiences than undergraduates and are generally not immersed in the social energy of the campus—at least not to the extent of undergraduates. But that doesn't mean they don't want to contribute to the alumni community, if approached in the right way.

Giving by Example
CURRENTS Article A group of Morehouse College alumni who received scholarships from Oprah Winfrey start their own scholarship fund, spurring other alumni affinity groups to do the same.

Please Feed the Website
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the Harvard University Alumni Association's effort to both connect with public-service-minded alumni, as well as other like-minded members of the Harvard community and help them connect with one another through its Public Service on the Map website. Though the website wasn't intended to stay around longer than a year, the HAA has learned important strategic lessons from the site's successes and failings and is looking at ways to breathe new life into it.

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

Putting on a New Game Face
CURRENTS Article The University of Mississippi recently introduced Rebel Bear, the new mascot that replaced Col. Reb, the previous controversial mascot that the university banned in 2003. In this article, Michael Thompson, senior associate athletics director for communications and marketing at Ole Miss, discusses the challenges of creating and developing a new mascot and introducing it to the university community.

An Alumni Love Story
CURRENTS Article Antioch College closed in 2008 after years of mismanagement and acrimony. But since then, alumni have raised millions, and a new class of students will start this fall. What will the revived Antioch look like, and how will advancement's role at the college differ to keep history from repeating itself?

Slam Dunk
CURRENTS Article Two different goals--providing professional connections for alumni and filling a basketball arena--were met when the Northwestern Alumni Association and the athletics department came together to put on networking nights at home basketball games.

On the Ground Floor
CURRENTS Article At Texas Woman's University, the alumni association was involved in the creation of an online student honor society, which is now helpful in turning those stellar students into engaged alumni.

Icing on the Cake
CURRENTS Article The University of South Carolina offers a wedding giveaway contest each semester. Current students, alumni, and children of alumni are eligible to win a free wedding, and a USC wedding planning class handles all of the decisions and details. Local vendors provide the dress, rings, flowers, etc., and the university's president, alumni relations office, and other campus departments have all been involved in the giveaway.

A TASTE for Adventure
CURRENTS Article Johns Hopkins University's Take a Student to Events (TASTE) program fosters informal relationships between alumni and current students. Alumni volunteers sign up to take individual or small groups of students on outings such as zip-lining, spelunking, job shadowing, etc.

Membership Has Its Benefits
CURRENTS Article Each year, Lebanon Valley College holds the Lazern Lecture Series, a two-day alumni residency program that brings alumni back to campus to visit classes and connect with students.

Conducive to Success
CURRENTS Article The best alumni relations officers understand the direct relationship of their work to resource gathering, and they integrate awareness of philanthropy and development programs and even solicitation into their work.

To the Rescue?
CURRENTS Article Faced with large and continued cuts in state funding, U.S. public postsecondary institutions are looking for new ways to both communicate their needs and garner support. This article discusses how they are calling on long-time supporters, enlisting new allies, developing strategic alliances, and crafting new messages and campaigns, all to underscore the importance of higher education.

More than a Penny for Your Thoughts
CURRENTS Article The College of Santa Fe awards scholarships to students who are recommended by an alumna or alumnus. It's a way for alumni to feel they are giving back to the school without costing them anything.

Research Shows Alumni of Small, Private Colleges More Engaged
Article,  BriefCASE Article A recent survey on brand connection and affinity indicates that alumni of small, private colleges are generally more engaged with their alma maters than graduates of large universities.

Odds and Ends: Enthusiasm Required
CURRENTS Article In this interview with comedian Susie Essman of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, Essman talks about her roles as a comedian, a supporter of arts education, and an involved alumna at her alma mater SUNY Purchase.

Cómo encontrar el enfoque correcto
CURRENTS Article Las asociaciones de ex alumnos cambian entre hacer conexiones con los ex alumnos y apoyar los objetivos de desarrollo

Finding the Right Gear
CURRENTS Article Even in the best financial times, the relationship between the development office and the alumni association can be uneasy. While some alumni leaders would never try to calculate an event’s success in funds raised, others find that their most important and successful events happen with development goals in mind.

Advance Work: Travel Program Plus
CURRENTS Article The University of Toronto organized a 12-day alumni trip to Kenya to help a nonprofit build a village school.

HBCUs Can Build Stronger Support through Faculty, Others with Vested Interest
Article,  BriefCASE Article Historically black colleges and universities that engage faculty, staff, alumni and other "vested" individuals in their overall fundraising efforts enjoy stronger giving and volunteer support. That’s according to three presenters at a recent CASE Online Speaker Series.

Advance Work: Better with Age
CURRENTS Article The alumni relations director at Siena Heights University created a new advisory group for former board members in response to their desire to remain engaged.

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

Office Space: Foreign Affairs
CURRENTS Article As more institutions expand operations abroad, setting up satellite offices in various countries that have high concentrations of alumni makes sense.

CURRENTS Article 邀请教授参与各种校友活动,不但能吸引更多的校友共同参与,还为校友会创造新的机会向校友宣传母校在科研和教学方面令人振奋的成就。然而,怎样才能让教授在校友工作中发挥更大的作用呢?校友工作者必须开拓新的沟通渠道,培养更紧密的合作关系,加强宣传校友工作对学校发展的重要性。

Island Hopping
CURRENTS Article Including faculty in various aspects of alumni programming can attract more alumni to events and provide the alumni association with another means to communicate the exciting research and academic offerings of alma mater. However, creating a larger role for faculty in the alumni association doesn’t magically happen. Alumni professionals must open new lines of communication, forge new relationships, and educate faculty on the importance of advancement to the institution.

Meet the Next Generation
CURRENTS Article Alumni admissions programs can be a boon for both the admissions office and the alumni association. The size and scope of such programs can vary, however, as evidenced in this article.

Advance Work: The Eagle Has Landed
CURRENTS Article An international independent school has come up with an easy and relevant way to keep its alumni engaged. It involves a stuffed eagle, some pictures, and a blog.

Advance Work: Taking It to the Troops
CURRENTS Article University of Iowa clubs are sending gear and goodies to Iowa-based troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.

Special Delivery
CURRENTS Article Some institutions welcome input from admissions consultants; some won't give them the time of day. Some consultants are independent "packagers"; others are members of regulating associations. This article describes the difference between the two kinds and in the ways they work to help students get into their choice of college.

A League of Their Own
CURRENTS Article The 2006 Circle of Excellence award winners profiled in this article are hitting it out of the park. This article describes a few of the grand gold and gold medal award winners.

Advance Work: Class Connections
CURRENTS Article The Northwestern Alumni Association works with professors to involve alumni in class projects.

The Art of Advocacy
CURRENTS Article As more state budgets are slashed, lobbying has taken on more prominence, with some campuses keeping lobbying firms on permanent retainer. States are being squeezed by health care, Medicaid, and K-12 costs on one side and a low-tax ideology on the other. The article looks at these and other related issues and what the government relations function looks like in this new political environment. The article gives an overview of the how the political and legislative climate is affecting higher education, and in turn, how campus government relations and advocacy functions are responding and changing.

Close Partners or Strange Bedfellows?
CURRENTS Article Some campuses have great success running the annual fund out of the alumni office. At other institutions, the functions remain successfully separate as long as the development and alumni relations offices coordinate their efforts.

Collaborative Programs: Penn State Alumni Association - Silver Medal
Best Practice The Penn State Grassroots Network works with network volunteers (mostly alumni) to communicate Penn State’s initiatives and needs to elected officials in state and federal government. In fall 2005, the network's "9.5=0" initiative successfully sought to increase Penn State's annual budget appropriation from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Leveraging Leaders
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the University of California, San Diego Alumni Association's process for developing alumni leaders who donate their time, talent, and treasure to their alma mater, serving as catalysts for others.

Closing Remarks: States of Emergency
CURRENTS Article Even as federal and state dollars for U.S. higher education decline, for public institutions the proportion of public funding from all sources still exceeds that of private gifts. With that in mind, the author questions why public institutions spend so little time and money on state and federal government relations. Using alumni and donors as campus champions and understanding state and federal budget cycles are two strategies she suggests for improving government relations.

Advance Work: Up Close and Personal
CURRENTS Article A new video magazine is bringing the University of Texas football program into the homes of alumni and fans. The Texas V-Mag delivers full-screen, broadcast-quality video stories to paid subscribers.

Cream of the Crop
CURRENTS Article This article profiles a few of CASE's 2005 Circle of Excellence award winners in the fields of fund-rasing, special events, campaigns, marketing, alumni programs, stewardship, and advancement services operations.

Learning Curve
CURRENTS Article The University of Virginia Alumni Association has developed two approaches to help alumni and their children navigate the legacy admissions process. Alumni Family Days events bring alumni and prospective legacy students in contact with admissions officials, and the alumni association's admissions counselor helps legacy prospects with the admissions process, gives them a realistic picture of their chances of admission, and serves as a contact point for alumni and their children whether they are admitted or not.

Inner Workings
CURRENTS Article As alumni officers search for ways to engage former students, they often overlook opportunities to build partnerships that support the strategic initiatives of the institution, not just the alumni office. Alumni staff members at the University of Iowa medical school have found a way to meet a vital campus need with the Help Our Students Travel program, in which alumni host students who are traveling around the United States for residency interviews. The HOST program is just one example of how alumni offices can work in partnership with campus colleagues. Alumni officers on other campuses can develop similar efforts by examining the goals and needs of their institutions and examining how the entire campus can serve and be served by alumni.

AdvanceWork: Et Tu, Alumnus?
CURRENTS Article Are alumni effective fund raisers? Winston-Salem State University’s advancement officers seem to think so: To date, they’ve trained two dozen alumni to solicit gifts from fellow graduates. The training program, funded by the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, is part of WSSU’s effort to increase alumni giving and involvement.

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.

Winners at Heart
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 winners of CASE’s 2004 Circle of Excellence awards. The winning alumni relations programs offered creative ways to generate revenue, use technology, or support a campus cause. In the development categories, campuses showed how to use flash e-mail annual giving solicitations and speech-writing students to attract donors. Communications winners relied on humor, creativity, and unconventional publications. And top advancement services shops highlighted the importance of identifying top campus prospects, working as a team, and maintaining accurate data.

Following a Class Act
CURRENTS Article With careers at their peak and children leaving the nest, Baby Boomer alumni are often looking for ways to give back to alma mater and society. One such effort is Princeton Project 55, which matches students and graduates with paid internships and fellowships in nonprofits around the United States. The project--named not for its founders’ class year but for their age at its inception--has developed several flourishing programs since it began in 1989. As the time draws near to turn the program over to a younger generation, Project 55’s founders must look for ways to prepare new talent.

Good Sports
CURRENTS Article The reputations of intercollegiate athletics and education institutions have been marred by destructive sports spectators who dismantle goal posts, damage fields, and riot in community streets. Some campuses, alumni associations, and athletics conferences have banded together to clean up intercollegiate athletics’ act.

Mining for Gold
CURRENTS Article Profiles of 12 CASE Circle of Excellence 2003 winners. Member institution nominees were judged on the creativity of their alumni relations, communications, and development initiatives, including alumni publications, reunions, constituency giving, stewardship, and alumni relations programs. Profiled winners include Brigham Young University/University of Utah; Columbia College Chicago; Georgia Tech Alumni Association; Goucher College; Imperial College London; the Institute for Shipboard Education; Lehigh University Alumni Association; Monroe Community College Foundation; Pennsylvania State University; the University of Chicago; the University of Iowa Alumni Association; and the University of Miami.

Leap of Faith
CURRENTS Article Annual giving volunteers need to feel that their efforts are appreciated and that their contributions are making a difference. As Phillips Exeter Academy's development officers discovered, engaging volunteers by raising expectations can result in higher enthusiasm and greater fund-raising success.

Brain Trust
CURRENTS Article Several institutions are making use of their graduates' "knowledge capital" by expanding alumni volunteer opportunities beyond the usual realms of fund raising and admissions. Alumni volunteers may assist students with coursework, act as mentors, or aid faculty and staff with projects. This story looks at efforts by the Association of Alumni and Alumnae of MIT, Stanford Alumni Association, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Alumni Advocates
CURRENTS Article As alumni relations officers are aware, alumni advocacy groups serve their campuses, and the larger community, in a variety of ways. Some groups seek to protect or increase state funding for their institutions, or address other campus issues. Others are organized by academic discipline or professional fields and work to advance relevant social issues; for example, an organization of law school graduates.

AdvanceWork: Double Duty
CURRENTS Article Many alumni organizations take volunteer service into account when hiring, and some urge employees to experience volunteering firsthand. For alumni officers, volunteering helps them to appreciate the time constraints volunteers face, to form realistic expectations of volunteers, and to understand what alumni look for in the professionals who manage their efforts.

AdvanceWork: Art for Alumni's Sake
CURRENTS Article Putting graduates' artistic talents to work for alma mater

All that Glitters
CURRENTS Article Profiles of selected 2001 Circle of Excellence winners, including alumni relations programs at Oklahoma State University, the University of Indianapolis, and Lake Forest College; communications programs or publications at Providence College, Hotchkiss School, Art Center College of Design, University of Natal, Carleton College, and Baptist College of Health Sciences; and development programs at Georgia State University, Lord Fairfax Community College, and the University of Utah.

AdvanceWork: Community Service in Paradise
CURRENTS Article Alternative spring break programs have become wildly popular with undergraduates.

Valuable Volunteers
CURRENTS Article Community service projects are becoming a staple of alumni programming. Alumni organizations develop these projects in response to such reasons as: 1) an institutional mission to further social change; 2) expansion of student service programs; 3) a desire to reach specific groups of graduates; 4) a motivation to "do good." Community volunteer projects offer such benefits as diverse alumni involvement, increased giving and visibility, and a large payoff from a small investment. The article includes advice on forming partnerships with national, regional, and local organizations, and for handling challenges of staffing demands and volunteer management. A sidebar provides information on trends in volunteerism.

AdvanceWork: Dollars from Diplomas
CURRENTS Article AdvanceWork: Dollars from Diplomas

In Advance: When Bigger Isn't Better
CURRENTS Article Rather than trying to mobilize the masses, Georgia State University focuses its legislative advocacy efforts by engaging a select 60-member team called AlumNet.

Political Performance
CURRENTS Article As educational institutions have to fight harder for state and federal financial support, campuses are finding that their alumni volunteers can be some of their best advocates with legislators or provincial representatives. This is especially true in states like Wisconsin and Minnesota, where there are severe restrictions on professional lobbying activities.

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