Alumni clubs are a great way to build friendships and connections with fellow alumni. They’re also a great way to discover career opportunities and support new alumni in your area. But what do you do if your college, fraternity, or other institution does not have an alumni club in your area? This guide will help provide some guidelines for creating and managing an alumni club.
First, double check that there is no club that already exists in your area. Usually, a simple Google search will reveal whether there is an alumni club in your area. Additionally, many institutions have directories of alumni chapters so if yours has such a directory be sure to check it.
Once you’ve determined that there is no current alumni club in your area, the first step in creating an alumni club is checking if your institution's alumni association has a formalized process for creating one. Many alumni associations have a formal application process and requirements for creating a regional chapter. If your institution does not have an alumni association that supports the creation of chapters or if you do not wish to have an official affiliation, you can create informal alumni clubs that have no official affiliation with an institution. However, alumni associations can often offer support to their chapters which includes initial guidance and future support and funding. Be sure to check whether you have an alumni association that offers support to those interested in starting a chapter. There is generally an application process that involves some initial requirements so be sure to check those out and figure out a way to meet those requirements if you do not already.
Once you understand the process for creating a regional alumni club, you can begin searching for members. If your location is a good place to start an alumni club, you probably should be sure to make sure that there is a reasonably large number of alumni in that area. If you have friends or acquaintances who are interested that’s a great start, but it’s still possible to begin without knowing anyone. If you don’t know any fellow interested alumni in your area, you can contact your university or institution to see if they have a list of alumni in your region. You can also check LinkedIn to find graduates working in your area. You can then reach out to alumni in your area and let them know that you’re looking to start an alumni club and ask if they are interested in joining or assisting in any way. Ideally, you will find some alumni who are interested in organizing the club with you.
Building a Team
Once you have some people interested, you will want to gather them for a meeting to discuss objectives and action items for the organization. Here is a potential agenda for your first meeting:
- Discuss objectives and purpose of organization
- If affiliated with an institution, go over guidelines for that institution (may include guidelines on governance, financing, activities, and so on)
- Consider most important needs of organization (e.g. funding, marketing for members, bureaucratic stuff)
- Determine leadership structure and process for choosing officers
- Determine action items and assign tasks to attendees
- Determine time & place of next meeting
When considering who is going to hold leadership positions within the group, keep in mind that team members should be highly motivated, competent, and interested in taking a great deal of responsibility in managing the club’s operations. It’s also important for team members to have time to devote to the organization—they cannot be so busy that they are not able to dedicate time to building the club.
While planning your organization, you should discuss and consider what type events you would like to host. While this list is by no means exhaustive, here are a few event ideas for your alumni club:
- Meetups at bars or restaurants
- Game watching parties
- Outdoor activities like hiking, boating, picnicking, or camping
- Lectures and panel discussions about an interesting/relevant topic
- Career fairs
- Volunteering for a charity
- Holiday parties
Be sure to engage with your members and fellow leaders to determine what types of events will be most appropriate for your club. You should also figure out whether you’d like to sell tickets for these events or whether they should be free. You will have to finance your club’s expenditures somehow, and selling tickets to events is generally an easy way to at least cover the cost of the event. How frequently your group should host events can depend on factors such as your group’s size, objectives, and budget, but you should host enough events to keep your members engaged and satisfied. You should give particular attention to your group’s inaugural event, which should be designed to have as large an attendance as possible and to engage attendees to stay on as members.
Once you have started your new club, you will need to become accustomed to managing it. It can be a challenge to manage an alumni club along with all of your other responsibilities, but thankfully there are platforms available to help. Generally, club leaders must use several different platforms to manage their organization’s contacts, communication, payments, and website, which can lead to unnecessary complexity. Member.buzz is a great platform that helps mitigate this problem, offering a great deal of functionality on one unified platform. It’s simple, intuitive, and powerful, providing an ideal platform for hosting your website and managing events, members, payments, and additional features essential for leading your club. (insert content on creating a website here). You can learn how to create a space for free here (insert link to how to create a website).
For detailed information on using Member.buzz and the features it offers, go to the support documentation. You can also see our guide (insert link to how to create a website) on creating a website for more information on registering a domain and creating and designing a Member.buzz space.