Let's face it—there are plenty of things on your current to-do list. Work, family, and home life take precedence over your social life and engagement with the current chapter of your fraternity. You’re busy. But the value you bring to your current brothers is far greater than you may imagine.
They need you—and not just your donations. The time, advice, and connections that the alumni association brings to a chapter can truly be mutually beneficial. By helping current brothers, you can enrich your own sphere of influence and make some amazing connections you might not otherwise make.
Alumni associations can be a way to keep chapters on the right track to successful relationships beyond college. The benefits of alumni engagement pay dividends in the long run—both for your chapter, and for alumni. You’ve heard it before: fellow alumni have plenty to say about what the current class of brothers is doing right.
"These guys are way cooler than we were back in the day."
"They don't know how great they have it!"
Conversely, alumni can also have opinions about what they feel is going wrong.
"Do they really appreciate the foundation we laid for them?"
"I hope they work as hard as we did for the success of this chapter!"
Either way, it affects not only the donations that the alumni association can procure, but how alumni feel about the current chapter. And how they feel about the chapter means far more than one might think.
No doubt about it—the current chapter needs alumni donations. Member dues alone just aren’t enough to build and grow a successful chapter. Making sure the alumni association maximizes those donations is up to how well the association can encourage alumni relationships with chapter members. So how can a successful alumni association encourage inactive alumni to see the benefits of chapter involvement?
Got a capital campaign that needs alumni support? Or the annual fall fundraiser at homecoming? While it’s true that the chapter needs alumni participation to make their dreams come true, it’s even more true that many alumni don’t have time to donate. Their lives are busy and full, just like yours. So how can an alumni association engage alums who live out of state or don’t have time for the social aspect of the association? Every donation matters, from ongoing giving to one-time support. You rely on alumni engagement to fund the needs of the chapter.
If those alums don’t have time to spare, how can you maximize their engagement?
How do you create opportunities between current brothers and alums throughout the year that both financially strengthen the chapter and give a path to future success for each brother?
A well-crafted alumni newsletter can inspire and re-engage alumni. By sharing information about the current chapter, alumni feel included and valued well before you ask for donations or volunteers. Host an event—anything from a luncheon to tailgating before the big game—and announce it in your newsletter. If they can’t make the event, make it an easy click to donate money instead. In that way, busy alums are off the hook for participation, but are able to participate from afar by sponsoring the event.
You can also use your newsletter to encourage alumni attendance and donations as a thank you for their ongoing support. Maximize your alumni email list for brief “e-blast” reminders and encourage R.S.V.P.s.
Use your newsletter to:
- Communicate new information.
- Give an option of a one-time donation to sponsor the event in lieu of attending.
- Announce a thank-you event.
- Keep alumni engaged.
Communication software can streamline your communication with alumni and current members. You’ll want software that’s optimized for the alumni communication goals your alumni association faces.
The right software can help you:
- produce print and digital newsletters
- send chapter and alumni announcements
- best manage the members of the alumni association
Pennington offers a variety of communication and other software tools for fraternity chapters like yours. Click here to learn more.
Your alumni engagement goals have to go further than simple newsletters and hand-shaking meet-and-greets. For real alumni support, the members of your chapter need to make the goals of creating authentic relationships with alumni. By maximizing your alumni association, you can reap the benefits of having brothers who wish to support you.
- Find shared interests.
- Give new pledges opportunities to partner with older alumni.
- Work toward a common goal.
When alumni are talking about the current chapter, give them reasons to praise the current chapter’s activities, not disparage them.
Keep in mind: When alumni complain about the current chapter, it's usually because they haven't gotten to know the members.
If alumni and chapter members are engaged regularly, it will not only strengthen the chapter in the short term, but it will also give members connections in the real world for job prospects, letters of recommendation, and support. Current members become alumni quickly. Start building relationships now.
Think Long Term—View Your Fraternity as Your Job
As an alum, you know that each current member’s four years on campus will go by faster than they expect, and soon they’ll be alumni too. Why not foster those relationships now, on a personal level, to bridge connections between college life and the real world? A job reference from an alum can go a long way, but alumni won’t offer them up unless they view their time with the fraternity as seriously as they do a career. Those relationships developed now for the chapter can also pay off for you personally.
Benefits of Alumni Relationships:
- Alums will provide authentic and enthusiastic career references for current members.
- Alums can give tips and leads on unpublished job availabilities.
- Networking becomes easier when you have fraternity connections.
When alums are in positions to hire recent college grads, strong relationships between the alumni association and the current chapter can be beneficial to everyone. Alumni relationships not only help the chapter in meeting fundraising goals, they can become relationships that last a lifetime.
Short-term successes for chapter events that involve alumni might meet the goals that alumni associations set for the semester, but long-term thinking can get everyone where they need to be when it comes to meeting career goals after college. Fraternity connections can go a long way if you communicate, develop relationships, and think long term about your personal goals as well as the chapter goals.
Pennington offers software solutions for fraternity chapters for recruitment, budgeting, alumni communication, and more. Learn more about our services or call direct at 785-843-1661.
Leave your questions or comments about our fraternity alumni engagement goals in the comments below!