The goal of advancement is to connect or reconnect graduates with the institution through effective communications and meaningful experiences in order to provide multifaceted support for the institution. That task, properly the work of each of the areas that comprise advancement, is centered on the profession of alumni relations, the main agent for building broad-based participation with the institution’s central and largest constituency, its graduates. Support is not a code word for financial contributions, but includes the many ways in which alumni have a positive impact on their alma mater including through their donations.
Any eAdvancement evaluation of advancement begins by asking a question: Do alumni really matter to the institution? We believe alumni must matter. They are one of the four crucial endowments for an institution: Financial, Intellectual, Physical, and Alumni. eAdvancement employs this premise in its approach to every analysis of an alumni relations operation, as well as in related analytic areas including alumni board development, executive coaching, alumni/market research and strategic planning.
To successfully manage the alumni relations effort and thereby optimize support, an institution must partner with the volunteer leadership of the alumni body. We advocate a relationship in which it is unthinkable for one partner to proceed without input from the other in transactions involving the institution and its former students. This is the case at best practice institutions where constituent leadership understands the need for a close and vibrant relationship in order to succeed in engaging the broadest possible participation and support among its members. The relationship between the institution and its graduates is a sacred relationship and must be celebrated regularly and kept constantly in good repair.