The Five I’s of Alumni & Parent Relations

Identified – The first step to good alumni & parent relations is knowing who your alumni & parents are, their mailing addresses, email, phone numbers, and as much other information as you can gather about them. Most chapters have 30-40 percent of their alumni & parent records lost as well as 75 percent or more of their alumni & parents with limited information.

Informed – Keeping alumni & parents up to date on the actions of the chapter and fellow alumni & parents is important. They should help form and maintain your chapter’s vision by continuing to be informed. Since alumni can lose touch with their friends and the chapter quickly and parent’s connection is only for a few years, a constant flow of information is important.

Interested – Offering alumni & parents information about others, and the issues they are concerned with, is the key to getting and keeping them interested. For alumni, this depends greatly on the amount of loyalty and dedication that was developed during the undergraduate years, but need not be limited by that. For parents it depends mostly on their son’s current experience.

Involved – The opportunity to affect the future of the chapter, or just the opportunity to share in the present activities, are the keys to alumni & parent involvement. All alumni & parent programming should seek to get them participating in planning, decision making, and activities. Focus should be placed on volunteer involvement, event attendance, providing internships, and supporting leadership programs.

Invested – In terms of involvement, the pinnacle is having alumni & parents actually invest their money in your programs. This can be as simple as paying for attendance to a function, participating in the annual fund, or donating to the House Corporation and the Educational Foundation for their programs.

 

Elements of an Effective Alumni & Parent Program


Brotherhood DevelopmentThe foundation of any alumni & parent program is the chapter’s ability to develop the bonds of brotherhood. Without loyalty and dedication, there is little to work with. A member education program that develops a pledge into a committed and involved active, as well as prepares a graduating senior to be a lifelong friend of the chapter is the key for alumni. For parents, they need to see the value of the education and the friendships their son is developing if they are to be interested.

 

Data Management – Centralizing all information about your alumni, parents and undergraduates, and actively researching to keep it updated forms the framework from which all other efforts grow. Your starting point should be in merging information from your National HQ’s, University Alumni Association, and various alumni and chapter sources into a single database. Using the internet and continuing to ask alumni for information about each other will enable you to keep it up to date (always share your findings with the National and University).

 

Communications – In order to inform alumni & parents and keep them interested, use the following communication vehicles: alumni & parent newsletters, event invitations, broadcast emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a website.

 

Events – Two alumni events annually is a must, with a greater focus on the fall event, and at one parent event. Chapters who host more then two events annually will see the benefit. Events could include: Homecoming, Founders’ Day, Golf Tournament, Monthly/Quarterly Luncheons, Career Day, Softball/BBQ Challenge, Family Weekend, Mom’s or Dad’s Day, Alumni Gatherings in top markets, etc. Also, inviting alumni to chapter meetings, initiation and rush is very important.

 

Recognition – The mission of most fraternities centers around building better men. Alumni & parents who have distinguished themselves in their communities, careers, and/or service to their fraternities deserve recognition. An annual Hall of Fame Banquet that honors alumni, parents and undergraduates is a key. Also, just simple written thanks to alumni & parents for attendance at an event, a rush rec, or a contribution will go a long way.

 

Annual Fund – In order to give alumni & parents the chance to contribute and feel involved, and to pay for programs just discussed, it makes sense to ask for an annual contribution.

To learn more about how FMG can develop an alumni & parent relations strategy that meets your needs & budget, contact Matt Noble via email or at 520-990-3250.

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