Restructuring an Alumni Board for greater alignment and contribution

Restructuring an Alumni Board for greater alignment and contribution

Multi-campus business school

The brief

The client, a multi-campus international business school, wished to restructure and revive a largely dormant Alumni Board. With many active alumni volunteers at alumni chapter level, it was imperative that the Alumni Board was not seen by the community as an entry-level volunteer opportunity or a resting place for alumni seeking an appointment for its CV value.

Introduction of new Terms of Reference and an improved selection procedure, along with term limits, needed to be received by alumni as a positive and beneficial change. The transition to a newly re-focused, and aligned Board, needed to ensure quick delivery of results to evidence the benefits of the change.

The solution

Following a detailed brief on the school’s over-arching strategic goals and specific alumni engagement goals, and an in-depth review of the current alumni relations plan and activities, a specific point by point review of the current Alumni Board charter was carried out. Using a framework best practice charter and extensive previous experience in this field, mapping current provisions to improved provisions identified the key areas needing change.

Each recommended change to the Terms of Reference and selection process was accompanied by notes on implementation requirements, and communications messages to explain the change to stakeholders to ensure support.

The results

A revised Terms of Reference document was drafted, based on a much clearer statement of purpose and goals to ensure the Board was committed and strongly aligned to the school’s agenda, whilst also motivated to give time to support it.

New Eligibility Criteria and an improved selection process were written, ensuring that the Board would consist of members who had already demonstrated a willingness to give time and support to the school, students and the alumni community. Additionally, given the extreme diversity of the alumni community across programme, campus and geography of current residence alone, it was important to have no single segment dominate the group, so the process was designed to ensure appropriate balance across the community.

A multi-channel communications plan was developed to launch the changes. To ensure momentum and demonstrated benefits of the change, recommendations also outlined the scope and possible areas of discussion to shape the meeting agenda and Board priorities over the next 2 years.