Browse by Professional Interest

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Celebration Central
CURRENTS Article From homecoming and family weekend to smaller gatherings such as presidential hospitality dinners, CSU Events is the creative force that oversees and implements the smooth execution of all social gatherings at Colorado State. CSU Events’ executive director explains why and how the institution created this unit and provides steps for setting up a similar system at your institution.

Integrated Advancement
Good Question Do you have any articles about communications, development and alumni relations working collaboratively? I'm looking for resources on integrating the advancement functions.

Taking the Lifelong View
CURRENTS Article This article discusses the heretical and holistic approach that Indiana University East took in reorganizing its advancement operation, which now includes the campus life office, to align with the engagement lifecycle. The result is a division that rid itself of traditional advancement silos and developed an operating structure that would shepherd its audiences—prospective students, current students, alumni, and donors—through the transition points between lifecycle stages and communicate and engage them with a consistent strategy and customer service-based approach.

Foundation, Major Gift Experts Promote Collaborative Partnerships
Article,  BriefCASE Article Institution-wide fundraising goals, supportive leadership and department-wide working groups can all contribute to more effective development departments—but it takes proactive collaboration efforts. That’s according to foundation and major gift professionals who spoke on building partnerships during the recent CASE Annual Conference for Corporate and Foundation Relations Officers.

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.

What C&M Professionals Wish Their Colleagues Knew
Article,  BriefCASE Article "When you know better, you do better." This quote from poet Maya Angelou sums up the advice of one communications expert who shared tips on how colleagues in alumni relations, fundraising and communications can best work together.

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.

Fundraising Fundamentals, Section 3.2
Article This section from Fundraising Fundamentals discusses key working relationships and links between the development office and other offices and departments.

What I Wish
CURRENTS Article Three professionals from the three branches of advancement discuss what they'd like their colleagues to understand about their jobs. Andy Gurd of The Ohio State University Alumni Association is now working more closely with his development and communications colleagues than when the alumni association operated independently. Florida's Nova Southeastern University is at the midpoint of its campaign, which has given fundraiser Susan Peirce more of an opportunity to work with her alumni relations colleagues—and to appreciate how they help her do her job well. And, Sarah Morris, a communications professional from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, points out a few things that her development and alumni relations colleagues could learn about what is—and isn't—possible in her job.

United by Goals
CURRENTS Article This article looks at the importance of communications and marketing being an integral part of the integrated advancement team and the benefits that can result from such an arrangement.

Integrating Advancement
Podcast Connie Kravas from the University of Washington discusses how institutions can bring together the traditional disciplines of alumni relations, development, communications, marketing and advancement services.

Office Space: Artists of Advancement
CURRENTS Article When personalities in the office clash, it can affect productivity. Find out how creative employees operate so you can work together to advance your institution.

Office Space: Sweeping the Data Clouds Away
CURRENTS Article Managing an unwieldy data system can be overwhelming, but by prioritizing projects and assessing processes, the database can become a friend rather than a foe.

Strong Marriage Between Development, Alumni Relations Vital in Slowdown
Article,  BriefCASE Article Advancement professionals at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., say maintaining a strong, successful “marriage” between an institution’s development and alumni relations offices is not only possible but vital, especially with today’s economic uncertainty.

Office Space: Space Age
CURRENTS Article In this new column about issues in the advancement office, the author discusses the problem of space, and how collaboration improved by bringing staff together.

Piece of Mind
CURRENTS Article The advancement team at Rollins College in Florida learned that collaboration was key to success. They overcame cross-departmental conflict, learned to work together, and realized what each member of the team contributed.

Banding Together
CURRENTS Article Many institutions still shy away from involving the alumni association in capital campaigns. But as campaigns get larger and longer, it makes sense for the two disciplines to work together.

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.

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.

Room for Expansion
CURRENTS Article Today’s advancement professionals must look for ways to manage budget and staff reductions and do more with less. An alliance of alumni relations and fund raising offers a creative way to address these concerns. For alumni relations officers, a move into fund raising can be a positive--and often required--career move that also benefits the future of the discipline. Playing a bigger role in fund raising also helps alumni officers communicate with alumni and respond to constituents’ needs. Alumni directors should greet the prospect of friend raising and fund raising as personal and professional enrichment that benefits institutions and former students.

Open-Door Policy
CURRENTS Article When alumni and development officers work together and share many tasks and responsibilities, they can help their campuses attract much-needed resources and enhance the bottom line. Although many senior advancement officers might be reluctant to fully commit to such integrated efforts, the advantages are becoming too numerous and powerful to overlook. Alumni relations professionals are in the best position to identify new donors. What’s more, integrated initiatives result in better services for millions of alumni donors. Campus leaders can integrate their advancement operations by building multidepartmental teams for specific tasks, celebrating major successes with all advancement officers, and relying on a single advancement mission and vision.

Evolutionary Thinking
CURRENTS Article Today’s alumni directors are playing more significant roles in fund raising--even as they stress the importance of carefully nurtured alumni relationships. Several top alumni professionals talked with CURRENTS recently about trends in their discipline-- including the need to demonstrate value, meet the diverse interests of alumni, and increase funds as well as good will. Alumni directors say they can respond to changes in the profession by playing bigger roles on campus, conducting major self-assessments regularly, and focusing on customer relations.

A New Breed
CURRENTS Article This article examines the complex and often convoluted relationships between admissions and advancement. It describes how marketing is the place where all areas of advancement find common ground and how, for a long time, marketing had its place within the distinct silos in admissions and advancement. Now, however, institutions are developing more comprehensive structures that combine recruitment and advancement in the interest of adopting a true integrated marketing mindset.

Leaps and Bounds
CURRENTS Article Although capital campaigns often don't have a specific role for alumni associations, they don't have to remain in the shadows. Alumni officers can have a great effect on the current campaign--and build momentum for future ones--by taking a more targeted look at staffing needs, homecoming and campus events, advocacy efforts, alumni programming, and market research strategies.

Tension and Synergy
CURRENTS Article Advancement managers must set the tone to prevent stereotypes about and gripes among the advancement disciplines from interfering with the work. Regardless of advancement office size and structure, policies throughout advancement that encourage communication, professional growth, and inclusiveness will enhance the working relationship among the disciplines.

Goals and Assists
CURRENTS Article Prospect researchers and development officers must form a partnership to identify potential donors' ability, interest, and desire to give. This article provides three guidelines for building a productive relationship and includes a table showing the differences in the information that researchers and development officers are likely to uncover. This article is of interest to development officers and prospect researchers.

Manager's Portfolio: You Never Get a Second Chance
CURRENTS Article Though often underappreciated, a top-notch receptionist can be a valuable “director of first impressions.” This column explains why receptionists deserve respect and offers numerous recruitment and retention strategies. It is of interest to advancement staff managers who hire and supervise.

Don't Miss the Boat
CURRENTS Article Alumni associations have long avoided being active campaign players or have been marginalized by development colleagues who haven't seen the value of involving them. We need to better incorporate alumni associations into campaigns and use their strengths to our institutions' advantage. Playing a campaign role can bring benefits to alumni associations as well.

Rethinking Our Craft
CURRENTS Article Stone, former president of the Stanford Alumni Association, describes the multiyear process that led to the merger of the alumni association into the university, in sharp contrast to the association’s century-old tradition of independence. His key points: (1) Institutions must “own” their alumni relations responsibilities, and (2) alumni relations requires an entire institution’s commitment to lifelong relationships. Stone also offers advice to alumni relations officers on their role and responsibilities.

Closing Remarks: Expanding the Definition of Advancement
CURRENTS Article The continuing separation of the specialties--alumni relations, communications, and development--may keep advancement professionals from establishing and maintaining relationships with their colleagues. The author argues for more professional unity and also encourages recognizing the advancement role of many others on campus who are outside the core functions, including faculty, admissions officers, student affairs officers, and executive officers and their staffs.

Shifting Gears
CURRENTS Article Cornell University development officers successfully shifted to a project- and team-based approach to fund raising, leaving behind the previous organizational model based around schools and units. This new approach has allowed the university to raise funds for priority projects without launching an institution-wide campaign. As an example, the authors describe the successful team-based effort to fund renovation and expansion of Cornell’s music building.

Vision of the Future
CURRENTS Article A participatory strategic planning process can enable an institution to start moving its integrated marketing efforts out of the communications arena and into the entire institution. The article describes nine steps: 1) State program objectives. 2) Select participants and leaders. 3) Compile background information. 4) Select task force topics. 5) Set up a Web site. 6) Train task force facilitators. 7) Plan a kickoff event. 8) Create the final report. 9) Implement the best ideas.

The Editor and the Fund Raiser: Partners or Adversaries?
CURRENTS Article Publications veterans Walt Collins (formerly of Notre Dame University), Lawrence Hincker (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), and Mary Ruth Yoe (University of Chicago) join Darrell Loyless, vice president of for development and external affairs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, for a roundtable discussion. The professionals react to three scenarios of editorial conflict between an alumni magazine staff and development officers.

Marketing Across the Board
CURRENTS Article An integrated marketing program that coordinates student recruitment, public relations, and resource development throughout campus can help an institution increase applications, build stronger constituent relationships, and raise overall visibility. To initiate such a program, follow these eight steps: 1) Find a "cheerleader" who is willing to lead the effort. 2) Get the president's attention. 3) Establish an all-campus, three-tier system consisting of an advisory board, a management committee, and action groups. 4) Define quality by identifying the niche your institution serves. 5) Develop a marketing blueprint that can be continuously improved. 6) Sell the program on campus. 7) Embrace creative budgeting. 8) Structure the communications office in a way similar to that of a PR or ad agency.

Surveying the Field
CURRENTS Article Moore, of marketing/communications firm Lipman Hearne, reports on a survey of marketing programs at nearly 150 institutions. Among the findings: 1) Institutions whose integrated marketing programs have the support of an alumni or trustee committee report the greatest improvements in fund-raising, applications, and enrollment yield. 2) At least half the institutions surveyed have campuswide marketing committees. 3) These committees typically represent enrollment, communications, administration, development, student services, and faculty, but less than half represent alumni affairs. 4) Committees focus mostly on project management and rarely on conducting market research. Moore also offers tips on establishing a successful integrated marketing program.

End Notes: A Declaration of Interdependence
CURRENTS Article In 1998, after 106 years of independence, the Stanford Alumni Association became an official division of Stanford University. The change followed three years of study, extensive negotiations, and a vote by SAA members. In an interview, association president Bill Stone explains that SAA and Stanford leaders decided a merger would provide better access and increased resources.

Sound Off: Blurring the Lines
CURRENTS Article Thomas College director of alumni affairs and assistant director of development Guarino stresses the value of friend-raising by both alumni and fund-raising professionals. He credits the success of the Thomas College program to the willingness of staff from both alumni relations and fund raising to continually communicate about their respective goals and expectations when planning events, to be honest with each other, and remain flexible.

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