Do you want to start your own Fort Lewis College alumni affinity group? Here's the steps:
- Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at email@example.com to state your interest and schedule an initial meeting (in person or via phone) with the Director
- The Director will request a list of alumni based on parameters discussed in the initial meeting
- The office of Alumni Engagement may send an email blast to the distribution list in order to assess interest in the proposed affinity group, or to announce the formation of the proposed affinity group.
- If there is enough interest and participants (minimum of 10 people) the group leader must submit an official affinity request email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Upon review and if approved by the Alumni Engagement Office, the proposed affinity group request will be granted
Affinity group objectives
- Represent and advance the name and reputation of FLC and the Alumni Engagement Office
- Foster lifelong relationships between alumni, future alumni and friends of the university
- Organize diverse events
- Support scholarship or endowment goals of FLC
Members involved in an affinity group can range from attendance at events to a leadership position that works toward gathering alumni in creative ways. If you choose to be an alumni affinity leader, your level of involvement will increase. It is important for each affinity group members to consider availability before accepting a leadership position in an affinity group.
The Alumni Engagement Office support affinity groups with many different types of organizational structures. We recognize that all affinity groups are different and do not fit into one mold, thus, the Alumni Engagement Office does not require a specific organizational structure for affinity groups. Each affinity group has the autonomy to choose its own structure and leadership roles. Keep in mind that it is very important to create and maintain a leadership framework that supports longevity and succession planning and can run autonomously.
Although there is no position or term length requirements, it is recommended to have a leadership team of at least two people that serve a minimum of one year. Having multiple leaders allows the groups to operate efficiently and prevent volunteer attrition. The President or leader(s) should submit their contact information to the Alumni Engagement Office, and any other leadership changes needs to be reported to the Alumni Engagement Office.
Affinity group guidelines
There is no requirement for how often a group must hold meetings. Some affinity groups may choose to meet quarterly, others meet once a years. The goal of a group is to inform and engage. Meetings should include updates, information about upcoming affinity group events, etc. A list of meeting attendees should be submitted within a week following the meetings to the Director of Alumni Engagement.
Meeting minutes should be taken by a member of the group at each meeting to serve as historical records of the affinity group’s work. It is recommended that minutes be distributed to affinity group members that could not attend the meeting so everyone stays informed. Well recorded meeting minutes lend to continuity as they will serve as a platform for future members and leaders of your chapter to build on what has been done in the past.
Events and Programs
Engaging alumni through affinity group events will help you grow and sustain enthusiasm and support for your affinity group. Groups are encouraged to offer a variety of events that appeal to various demographics. Too many events can burn-out your volunteers. Manage the number of events to avoid over extending the time and goodwill of alumni volunteers. As a group leader, you should plan to attend the event as host/hostesses.
Planning sets the foundation for how the event will operate. Ideally the planning process should begin 6 to 8 weeks prior to the event date. Group leaders are in charge of developing event details- including event type, date, time, location, catering, etc.
Once the event details have been determined by the affinity group leader, they will contact the Alumni Engagement Office with all of the event details described above. We will require the event type, event details and ticket price (if applicable). This will be very important as it provides information needed to assess how the Alumni Engagement Office can help you. Please let us know if you need help with communications, such as save the dates and invitations.
Day of Event
On the day of the event, the group leader(s) should have a list of the contact information for any parties involved in the events, such as the caterer and location manager. You should arrive at the location one hour in advance to confirm all event details are in place. In some cases, it may be beneficial to establish a group of volunteers to help with set-up and clean-up. Make sure someone is designated to manage the sign-in table.
Following the Event
After the event, it is important to report event numbers and updated contact information on attendees to the Alumni Engagement Office in order to track engagement. The information you provide allows the database to remain current in order to reach more alumni and increase participation at events.
Support from Alumni Engagement
The Alumni Engagement Office is here to assist group leaders as you plan events. We can assist with event promotion, accept RSVPs and continue to keep group leaders informed about the growing event attendance list.
What can we do for you?
Once event information is finalized and submitted to the FLC Alumni Engagement Office via email, we will prepare a save the date and an invitation to be emailed to the alumni population in the database selected to attend this event.
The frequency and timing of emails will be determined by the FLC Alumni Engagement Office in congruence with departmental policies and other email communication through the college. For unique events, printed invitations can be requested. The Alumni Engagement Office will advertise events through email and the online calendar of events.
The Alumni Engagement Office will also promote your event through the FLC Alumni social media outlets.
The Alumni Engagement Office will serve as the contact to receive RSVP through email or phone calls. An attendee list will be emailed to the affinity group leader the day after the RSVP deadline or as estimates are needed for catering/planning purposes
Financial support is available to each affinity group. The Alumni Engagement Office allocates funds for approved programs. Funding requests must be received at least two months prior to an event. Typical costs include printing and mailing invitations, food, and venue costs. Monetary support will be provided on a case-by-case basis, and may vary from year to year.
The Office of Alumni Engagement can assist the group with room reservations if you plan to have an event on FLC campus depending on campus space availability.
When possible, the Director of Alumni Engagement will attend one event per year, and invite FLC top leaders and representatives