Alumni Relations Track
"The world is changing and we need to respond. We are facing complex challenges: to think internationally, act sustainably, inspire multiple communities with different values. Alumni are almost certainly your institution’s largest stakeholder group and our ability as alumni relations professionals to celebrate and realise this potential is critical to the success of our institutions. We do not just send a magazine.
The Alumni Relations track, following the CASE competencies model, will help you focus in on the key skills you need to develop in your career as an Alumni Relations professional."
Welcome From the Alumni Relations Track Co-Chairs
Tristan Alltimes, Deputy Director of Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving, Durham University
Kerrie Holland, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Aston University
Week 1: Tuesday 10 November
What does it mean to be world-leading in Alumni Relations? Hear from a panel of professionals.
Mapping the journey from students to alumni – what does that look like and how is it best achieved?
Week 2: Tuesday 17 November
What do you think of when you read the word ‘advocate’? And what does this mean in the context of alumni relations? UCL has a proud history of engaging our alumni community of over 300,000 members, however in 2018, UCL decided that it wasn’t enough to simply ‘engage’ with our alumni – we wanted them to be our voice, champion and public supporters. In the US, ‘alumni advocacy’ has become synonymous with government and public affairs, but at UCL we wanted this opportunity to be was more wide reaching. We wanted all of our alumni to feel proud to speak about us in their networks - from our most senior influencers to our grass roots. In this practical session, we will share our research, learnings and reflections from two years of building a culture of advocacy with our alumni, as well as our next steps on this far reaching topic.
With the global competition for talent in the knowledge economy, many higher education institutions face common challenges: Branding and reputation abroad; changing student demographics; tight institutional budgets; and an uncertain future brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Engaging alumni abroad matter now more than ever. International alumni can play a strategic role not only in helping universities advance their internationalization strategy, but also their third mission. In this interactive webinar, participants will review and reflect on why intertwining alumni relations in internationalization strategy can go beyond the traditional approach while facilitating internal alignment to reach the common goal: Serving society.
Week 3: Tuesday 24 November
How to ensure Alumni Relations is seen as a crucial, calculated and cost-effective element essential to the delivery of our institutions’ ambitions.
Alumni are our institution's biggest stakeholder group. They are also the living embodiment of our missions. Alumni relations is not easy or cheap - but it's more expensive, and makes life harder for all, if your institution fails to invest in it.
As alumni practitioners we have very real and tangible goals, ‘engagement’ is an aim with a purpose. We should be aligned to our institutional goals. Fundraisers work with donors to get gifts. Alumni practitioners work with alumni to get advocates, secure employment opportunities, recruit more students, enhance the student/graduate experience and get gifts.
All institutions are unique and so demonstrating value is relative to the context of our institution. Benchmarking to see where you "rank" isn't the point - the point is to develop best practice sharing. This discussion session will debate how we, as a sector, can demonstrate the impact of our work, offering tips for best practice, and the personal experience and encouragement from three of the industry’s seasoned professionals.
Shareholders Not Customers: How Radically Changing the Frame Can Impact Alumni Relations and Advancement
Recently the “student as customer” idea has seeped into our institutions. Through institutional policy, programmes, and, most poignantly, the expectations from students has, to some degree, normalised this position. The unfortunate outcome of this model is the impact on the institution’s long-term relationships, especially with alumni.
It is time for an inspirational and radical change.
Through empirical research and examples from a panel of innovative alumni relations professionals, this session will persuade you to become the champion of the “students and alumni as shareholders” idea. A shareholder has a vested interest in the institution and its advancement. Relationships are often lifelong ones and shareholders believe (and usually promote) the values of the institution. By fostering alumni shareholders in alumni relations and across all advancement activity, you can begin to shift the mindset internally, and, even alumni identity over the long-term. If alumni engagement remains a challenge for your institution, becoming a champion to change the frame from customer to shareholder within your institution will make your job easier—with alumni reaping the benefits. This session offers the initial tools to begin this process and inspire your institution to embrace its greatest lifelong community.
Online alumni communities should be a key element of any alumni relations engagement strategy. For the most part of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown just how essential these alumni communities can be and if they are managed properly, they can yield overwhelmingly positive results for students, parents, staff and alumni.
In this session, we will take you through a practical guide for assessing your community’s needs and show you how you can design and build an online space that is unique to your institution and that is self-managed, inspiring and engaging.
Week 4: Tuesday 1 December
This year has seen huge change to our lives and work. We have all faced difficult days (and weeks, and months) and yet we have heard so many stories of teams who have been creative in the face of challenge, adapting and innovating to serve their alumni and institutions. This showcase session includes four speakers who will give a snappy insight into an activity which came about directly or indirectly from the need to do things differently, and will share their thoughts on how their teams and individuals maintained a positive mindset, dealt with the unforeseen challenges and rose to the occasion.
Stories, tips and lessons learned - panel with directors from alumni relations background.