Alumni volunteers serve as useful representatives for a university and college, helping to plan and coordinate events, programs and initiatives. Opportunities vary by school, but when it comes to volunteering, institutions should follow two simple ideas: make it easy and recognize volunteers. Alumni should not have to extensively search their alma mater website for available volunteer activities, and universities should recognize and thank participants for their time and energy. In this brief, Corporate Insight presents four best practices on alumni volunteerism, drawing from our Alumni Monitor Updates, which tracks 45 schools from a wide range of endowment sizes.
Each school in the Alumni Monitor coverage group promotes at least one volunteer opportunity on its alumni website, but the offerings range considerably. While most schools (89%) house volunteer opportunities within a dedicated tab or section, only four schools present a separate microsite or platform for alumni volunteer resources, events and other relevant information. Toolkits were a common resource for leaders; nearly 47% of schools provide a handbook to their volunteers.
Additionally, schools’ methods for participant registration boiled down to two main components: email and online forms. Most schools provide email addresses for registering or learning more about a specific opportunity, but only 42% of schools include a general volunteer interest form for registration or opportunity inquiries.
Of special note, volunteer recognition is the most interesting contrast between schools. With only 60% of schools recognizing the importance of their volunteers on their alumni websites, alumni awards and medal ceremonies were the most common recognition method, followed by volunteer articles, videos and recognition lists.