The free period between semesters is an ideal time to accomplish many strategic tasks, which you may not find adequate time to complete during the school year. Of course, it seems that summer breaks tend to get shorter and shorter, mostly due to vacations, workloads, outdoor activities, and much more.
To help local fraternity and sorority chapters make the most of the summer break, we’ve created a basic list of tasks to develop a successful alumni/ae and parent relations program.
- Host a board retreat (or retreats) to assess the past year and address the upcoming year. These may include the Advisory Board, undergraduate leaders, and House Corporation (if the chapter has a house).
- Establish and approve the annual budget for the chapter and house corporation.
- Set goals, particularly:
- Desired funds raised
- Event attendance
- Lost alumni found
- Alumni-to-undergraduate connections
- Create the advisory plan.
- Attend the national convention.
- Schedule and promote the fall board meeting.
Alumni and Parent Relations
- Develop an overall calendar for communications, events, recognition and fundraising.
- Contact no less than five alumni/ae each week to gather personal, professional, and community updates. This information will update their database profiles and be featured in upcoming newsletters.
- Coordinate with parents to develop a Parent Club, plan communications, and schedule events.
- Request membership rosters from the national organization to update your chapter’s database. Seek the same from the University, if they will share.
- Email an interest/involvement survey to all alumni/ae.
- Work with chapter alumni to find lost alums.
- Create a simple calendar for the upcoming school year for e-news and newsletters. Do the same for news updates on the website and posts for each social media account.
- Begin production of the fall newsletter. This includes:
- Identifying, assigning, and writing key stories
- Collecting alumni/ae updates
- Scheduling mailing, emailing and social media distributions.
- Conduct an analysis of your chapter’s social media usage.
- Identify ways to improve the social media reach.
- Making sure each account’s icon is featured with proper hyperlinks on the website.
- Review the website for typos, grammatical errors, calendar items, and information updates.
- Develop the fall event plan, which is likely highlighted by Homecoming.
- Select and book the activity venue(s).
- Choose the Hall of Fame recognition class (if a Hall of Fame program exists).
- Create a special Homecoming webpage, featuring all details and a RSVP/payment link.
- Distribute Save the Date notices through mail, email, and social media.
- Send event reminder notices monthly until the event.
- Post to social media, featuring a RSVP link, each month until the event.
- Develop plans for the recognition of alumni/ae. This is typically based on professional success, community involvement, fraternity/sorority service, and/or university leadership.
- Select recipients for all awards.
- Notify each selected award recipient and invite to the recognition event.
- Inform and invite each recipient’s classmates to the event.
- Confirm each recipient’s attendance.
- Voice appreciation to volunteers and staff are thanked for their support and that you look forward to working with them for the next year.
- Set goals for number of donors and dollars raised.
- Recruit volunteers to help share the fundraising appeal with their circles.
- Script the initial solicitation letter, email and text message.
- Update the online giving webpage.
- Schedule the initial and reminder distributions.
Imagine the possibilities if each task on this checklist is completed before the fall semester begins. Completing this list prevents any last-minute issues, puts the fundraising efforts on the right path, engages an increasing number of alumni/ae and parents, and properly address any unforeseen issues.
One suggestion…do not have one person complete this list. Instead, assemble a team of leaders, preferably both alumni/ae and undergraduates, to participate in the completion of each task. Teamwork will make your vision of more alumni and parent involvement work and, by involving others, the chapter will recognize greater success and cumulative excitement.