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Affinity Groups

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LGBTQ Alumni: A Growing Force in Giving
Article,  BriefCASE Article Shifting alumni demographics and the growing role of LGBTQ alumni in leadership and giving must be considered by advancement leaders, according to information presented at CASE's LGBTQ Engagement and Fundraising Strategies conference, held earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

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.

Elite and Greet
CURRENTS Article Successful professionals find value in building connections and talking about their work with others in their field, which is why we created a networking program at Marquette University called CIRCLES. The program helps our professional alumni do business together—while helping us identify donor prospects.

Lyrical Intervention
CURRENTS Article Massachusetts' Wheaton College went coed in fall 1988. That year saw the formation of the a cappella group the Gentlemen Callers, which played a practical and symbolic role in Wheaton's transition. The group still exists today and has added fundraising success to its achievements.

Inclusion Illusions
CURRENTS Article For many alumni of color and other minority populations who matriculated when campuses were newly or barely integrated or otherwise unwelcoming places, the sting of racism and isolation still lingers. For this group, diversity matters. Embarking on an honest discussion about the institution's perhaps not-so-hospitable past is a challenging, but necessary, step toward successfully engaging diverse alumni. Other requirements: commitments from both the institution and alumni, sound volunteer-management techniques, and inclusive alumni programming.

Launching an Alumni Affinity Group
Article,  Community College News Article Community colleges should develop affinity groups as an alumni engagement strategy, according to a presenter at a recent CASE virtual conference.

LGBT Development & Alumni Relations Samples
Sample Collection The Library maintains this collection of LGBT development initiatives, alumni associations and affinity groups, publications and programming samples for all members.

LGBT Development & Alumni Relations
Good Question Do you have any resources about alumni relations and fundraising efforts tailored to LGBT constituencies?

Home Is Where the Goal Posts Are
CURRENTS Article Although their dormitory was razed more than a decade ago, Ohio State's Stadium Scholarship Alumni Society keeps its traditions alive by engaging with current students and funding their scholarly and service activities.

To Go Big, Go Small
CURRENTS Article An alumni volunteer at Cornell University in 2008 created a successful affinity group recruitment plan to boost attendance at the institution's class reunions. The six-step model provides an easy-to-follow structure that can be used by virtually any class or alumni group at any institution, large or small.

Smaller Is Better
CURRENTS Article Bronx Community College in New York is piloting alumni programs that organize graduates by small, tight groups with specific interests and needs.

An Overdue Homecoming
CURRENTS Article In an effort to attract alumni of adjacent class years, the Association of Yale Alumni experimented with a new kind of reunion in October based on residential colleges students lived in. The Ezra Stiles College reunion celebrated the dormitory's 50th anniversary and set the stage for future reunions of its type.

The Mindful Development Officer
CURRENTS Article Veteran advancement officer Deb Taft offer tips for reaching out to diverse alumni and volunteers and ensuring they're involved in meaningful ways.

The Diversity Imperative
CURRENTS Article As the United States as well as college enrollment grow more diverse, advancement shops are challenged to improve outreach to alumni and donors of difference. Many colleges and universities are trying new approaches, such as meaningful engagement of minority communities and business groups in their areas or a rethinking of race-based affinity groups.

Network News
CURRENTS Article Baylor University in Texas uses a network model to link the Baylor community worldwide. The network has generated more than 1,700 events since September 2003, indicating that the Baylor Network is a success.

Engaging Minority Alumni Strengthens Loyalty, Gifts
Article,  BriefCASE Article The reason more minority alumni don’t give to their alma maters is often as simple as this—they aren’t asked.

New Program Initiatives: Arizona State University - Silver Award
Best Practice Arizona State University created a special program within the Alumni Association to engage faculty and staff who are also ASU alumni. The U Devils program was successfully launched with a series of events and activities and a membership campaign.

Untangling Diversity
CURRENTS Article Diversity is a complex issue, and the concept has different meanings, depending on your institution and advancement office. But one thing that everyone can agree on is that diversity is important, and reaching communities of color is imperative.

Postcard from Beijing
CURRENTS Article A look at U.S. and Australian universities that organized alumni events for the Beijing Olympic Games.

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.

Finding Their Voice
CURRENTS Article Five years ago, Hamilton College in New York created the Multicultural Alumni Relations Committee to engage alumni of color with the institution. This article looks at how the group formed, how it has grown and flourished, and how it has overcome some of its challenges.

Diversity Programs: Villanova University School of Law - Gold Medal
Best Practice Villanova University School of Law: Why Diversity Matters - 2007 Circle of Excellence Awards Program gold medal-winning program in Alumni Relations Programs: Realizing the need to engage the larger legal community in the discussion of the importance of and ongoing challenge to achieving meaningful diversity in the legal profession, the Villanova Law Minority Alumni Society launched its first annual program on diversity in Center City Philadelphia.

New Program Initiatives: Villanova University School of Law - Overall Grand Gold and Gold Medal
Best Practice The primary goal for all Villanova Law Minority Alumni Society programs is to support and promote diversity at Villanova University School of Law and within the legal profession at large. Realizing the need to engage the larger legal community in discussion of the importance of, and ongoing challenge to, achieving meaningful diversity in the profession, the Minority Alumni Society launched its first annual program on the topic in Philadelphia in 2006.

Sweet Smell of Success
CURRENTS Article The 2007 CASE Circle of Excellence grand gold and gold medal winners profiled in this article have taken their advancement publications, events, and programs to a higher level. These featured winners, however, are a small sample of the 319 winners from 195 institutions.

All Business
CURRENTS Article Many campuses are developing programs specifically to meet the needs and harness the energy of entrepreneurial alumni. Engaging these alumni from the get-go will make it easier to approach them if they hit major donor status.

Like With Like
CURRENTS Article Young alumni might not be as excited as your older alumni about coming back to campus for a traditional homecoming or reunion weekend. How do you keep them engaged? Think affinity programming.

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.

Guess Who's Coming to Reunion?
CURRENTS Article Affinity groups for homosexual alumni typically represent a small percentage of the alumni body at any institution. But the growth of such groups during the past decade signals increased campus awareness of the need to provide services and activities that reflect and respect alumni diversity. Alumni directors can manage these affinity groups in a sensitive way by communicating carefully with alumni, letting former students determine their level of involvement, and following the group's lead on what services and activities interest them. Religious institutions that don’t condone homosexuality look for ways to make all alumni feel welcome on campus while upholding the institution's religious beliefs.

AdvanceWork: Bona Fide Girl Power
CURRENTS Article Under the leadership of its first female board chair, St. Bonaventure University launched a new alumni award program to honor female graduates. The "Great Women of Bona's" program was tied successfully to an annual fund appeal by having the chair and female trustees do a phonathon to selected alumnae that raised $35,000 in a matter of hours.

AdvanceWork: The Latest Student Recruitment Niche
CURRENTS Article San José State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, are among the first institutions to form affinity groups for gay alumni. Advancement professionals offer advice on cultivating affinity with that or other constituencies.

Overcoming Dual Loyalities
CURRENTS Article Graduate school alumni officers continue to keep their former students involved with traditional offerings, such as reunions, educational programs, and career programs. In addition, they’re using such community-building techniques as grad-student centers and low- or no-cost alumni association memberships.

CURRENTS Article Women are starting to constitute a greater portion of college and university alumni bases. It’s time to assess solicitations, programs, and services in relation to this ever-growing market segment; alumni organizations that appeal to female graduates will have a competitive advantage.

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