Alumni Friday Blue

Can we crack the alumni code of generosity? 

Dear Friends,

Years ago, I attended a spirited alumni reunion. It was a regional event, where our current location brought us together with our alma mater far away. I met an alum a few decades my senior. He was eager to get involved, give of his time—mentor, share his career story, join a committee to offer his expertise to the university. 

“Have you cracked the code?” he asked me with a slight wink. 

What I understood was: “Have you figured out how to become an alumni volunteer?”

Giving of our time and talent isn’t always in flashing lights: a menu of opportunities on a web site or in one link in an alumni newsletter. Click. Voila! Alumni volunteer roles! Click. Alumni volunteers!

This is part of the reason our institutions often rely on the usual alumni suspects. Alumni volunteers tend to be the same ‘go-to’ alumni. They are reliable. They give their time generously and effectively. Volunteering begets more volunteering. It’s certainly a snowball effect. Eventually though, the snowball melts (that’s my attempt as an analogy for alumni volunteer fatigue!). 

How do we find – and be! – those alumni giving of ourselves?  

How can we widen the net? 

(Are you wondering WHY we need – or need to be- alumni volunteers? Check out my article on the 3 reasons we need global alumni volunteers here)

Your challenge this Alumni Friday:

For alumni-facing professionals: Do you have one place with a menu of alumni volunteering opportunities? Conduct a mini-audit: How quickly can you get from your university’s homepage to alumni volunteering opportunities (if at all?).

Bonus! Book an Alumni Friday online chat (or in-person coffee!) with one of your dedicated alumni volunteers. Understand why they volunteer and listen to their suggestions on how to get even more fellow alumni to engage!

PLUS!! Have you shown generosity by nominating a champion alumni or advancement professional for a 50U50 accolade? For my US based friends you can do so here by deadline of 14th of April!  


For alumni and students: How can you get active in your institution? There are incredible benefits to volunteering – from enhancing your career skills, to building your network and feeling great helping others! Take 20 minutes to consider the volunteering opportunities available to you.

Bonus! Take a deeper give by completing The Alumni Way Workbook Activity 18 (page 29), including a place to write your pro/con list of becoming a volunteer!

With the four traits of The Alumni Way completed this month – and one Friday in March to go – keep posted for something special next week!

With alumni generosity,


Quote from the book

“Sustained involvement of alumni opens up the opportunity to create greater societal change…We crave involvement that generates lasting, long-term impact.”

The Alumni Way, p.144

Below Photo: Scrabble with a difference! Spoiler alert on the 3 reasons to engage global alumni volunteers!