Monday, September 28, 2015

How to START Working with Alumni

I am on record as being super strong on the need to work with alumni. I believe this relates to both church and campus based, but more strongly to campus based. I have had campus based College Ministers tell me they are in a situation where no one has worked with alums before, so there is no list and so, there is no way to do it.

Ok; somebody has to start somewhere. Will the next person in your job find it better than you found it? Here are different thoughts and ideas on building an Alumni list or beginning to connect with alums of your ministry.

1. First, it could be an "Alumni and Friends List". You know of people who are interested in your ministry even though they are not products of your ministry.

2. It could be a "Friends and Parents List". Yes; some ministries work at connecting to parents. They feel the parents will encourage their student and yes; some parents even give financially to the ministry.

There are many different ways to get Alumni names and addresses to begin a list.

1. Many ministries have scrap books, pictures, or even framed event pictures from past years. Get all the names from these sources. Some of these you will be able to get addresses for as you will recognize them from your church, etc.

2. Search for people on Facebook from the names you have. When you connect, ask them if they would like to be on an alumni list to receive updates on past friends and current happenings with the ministry. Some will and some won't. That's ok.

3. Send a letter with a return envelope to alums you have addresses for asking them to send you names and addresses of friends they have contact with who were involved in the ministry.

4. If you are an alum of the college where you serve, you can often buy an alumni directory with alums names and

5. Some college Alumni offices will supply you with addresses, if you tell them they were involved in your ministry and you are trying to re-connect. Some Alumni offices even have asked alums what organizations they were involved in and can give you a list of yours....if they are kind hearted and trust you.

6. Send out a newsletter with lots of alumni news and some ministry news....more people news. Don't just ask for
money. In fact, I would encourage you not to ask for money at the beginning. Ask for their current updates for family, work, ministry, etc.

7. Ask alums to send you their "Christmas Letter". These can then be used to do up-dates for your next newsletter. Or, send out a letter with a return envelope asking for news for a first Alumni Newsletter. Obviously, you can also do this by Facebook.

8. It is Homecoming season. Have a Drop-In for Alums and Parents. Some churches do special events and recognitions on the Sunday of Homecoming Weekend.

9. Host an Alumni and Parents Tailgate event.

10. Never, ever send out a Bulk mailing to alums without asking for "Address Correction Requested" on the envelope. The Postal service will charge you for each one you get back, BUT, it is money well spent.

11. Remember, not all alums are on Facebook and some of the age categories most interested in connecting do not do least on any regular basis.

If you find yourself wishing someone before you had done some alumni work, what will the person who follows you y think of what you have done? Someone has to start it!

By the way, I know a ministry where one alum regularly gives $50,000 to the ministry.

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