2012 WVU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION STRATEGIC PLAN

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1 2012 WVU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION STRATEGIC PLAN Mission Statement The WVU Alumni Association serves as your gateway to West Virginia University by engaging alumni and friends into a lifelong relationship with WVU through programs that inspire every Mountaineer to serve and advocate on behalf of our great University. Vision The WVU Alumni Association will be a dynamic, member-focused organization that informs, involves and serves our constituents to the benefit of the individual and WVU. Role of the Board of Directors To ensure financial and legal integrity. To support the strategic goals and administrative priorities of WVU. To set annual and strategic organizational goals. To advocate for the resources needed to achieve the goals of the organization. To establish organizational policies and priorities. To join as a life or old gold member of the WVU Alumni Association. To promote constituent engagement through membership and program participation. To identify and recruit volunteers to serve the Association. To make a personally significant gift or gift-in-kind supporting Association program s and operations. To identify potential contributors to the Association. To identify and recruit qualified alumni to serve on the Board of Directors. To support and assess the work of the chief executive and the Board of Directors. To provide management advice and support to the professional staff. Role of the Staff To achieve annual and strategic goals. To ensure adherence to organizational policies and priorities. To develop and effectively manage the programs and services offered by the Association. To identify and cultivate sources of revenue to fund programming.

2 To responsibly manage the budget. To effectively engage and communicate with WVU graduates. To promote membership and program participation. To cultivate and manage Association volunteers. To cultivate and solicit Association donors. To develop and foster on-campus relationships. To recruit, hire, develop and manage the professional staff. To provide operational support to the Board of Directors. Connecting and Serving Alumni Connecting alumni with each other and to WVU is the fundamental purpose of the Alumni Association. So that more Mountaineers can experience the richness of a sustained relationship with their alma mater, the WVU Alumni Association will prioritize the engagement of a greater number of alumni through a broad array of relevant programs and services designed to enhance affinity. Goal 1 Membership: Alumni are the only permanent and largest personal stakeholders in WVU. We will engage an increasing number of these stakeholders with a relevant membership program that articulates value. While contributions are entirely benevolent, membership is an implied relationship that includes involvement in a community of peers. Membership is an important relationship building component because it serves as an individual s vote to remain connected to the WVU community. use surveying and analytics to develop a better understanding of member needs and expectations communicate the importance of membership in the calculation of institutional rankings engage alumni with relevant membership and benefit offerings provide on-site opportunities to join at events and programs develop a system to jointly collect dues with qualifying chapters and constituent groups implement auto-pay and recurring-pay membership options emphasize the value of life and multi-year memberships improve data segmentation practices

3 increase the membership participation rate by five percent maintain direct mail solicitation yields and electronic solicitation open and click through rates that exceed industry standards streamline methods for acknowledging members Goal 2 Communication: We will provide an effective communications program that builds pride in WVU and gives constituents a stage to offer their views about the University community. Providing an avenue for high quality two-way communication is vital to strengthening the kind of relationship that connects alumni with their alma mater. Because they are key motivators for connectivity, messaging will focus on WVU s reputation, sharing stories of our alumni, support for students and the Association s role as stewards of University tradition. broadly communicate the achievements and activities of WVU refine the integration of communications media tactics embrace new media redesign the Association s web presence optimize the Alumni Association and Erickson Alumni Center websites develop mobile platforms for online resources create a value added members-only section of the Alumni Association website rebrand electronic and print communications to motivate connectivity increase the frequency of communication with key segments of our constituency develop mechanisms where constituents can provide regular feedback about the Association and University maintain electronic communication open and click through rates that exceed industry standards Goal 3 Engagement: The focus of all engagement activities will be to enable and encourage alumni to make WVU a tangible presence in their daily lives. We will interact with alumni of all ages through virtual and traditional programs that connect and serve alumni around the world. This includes high touch activities in top-tier markets and high tech activities where more traditional programs are not feasible. A considerable focus will be placed

4 upon recruiting and training volunteers, better serving existing chapters, constituent groups and ambassadors, and expanding outreach efforts into new markets, including international outreach. benchmark comparable Associations for engagement best practices establish a market-driven approach to support constituent relationships provide relevant programs and services for alumni increase the number of students and alumni engaged in meaningful Association activities by five percent define key markets for expanded programming position the Alumni Association at the forefront of technology in program delivery implement a support structure for international alumni standardize the process for recruiting and selecting volunteers offer more numerous and varied ways for volunteer service to the University improve the quality and frequency of training opportunities for volunteers regularly survey chapters and constituent groups to ensure appropriate support develop metrics that evaluate the success of engagement activities Goal 4 Networking and Career Services: We will double our efforts to foster the power of the alumni network. In a recent survey of constituents, more than 50% of respondents felt that networking programs should be a primary focus of the Alumni Association. In today s economy, providing a platform where students and graduates can mutually benefit from making personal and career connections with fellow Mountaineers is arguably the most value added service we can offer. benchmark comparable Alumni Associations for networking best practices enhance the Mountaineer Connection online community produce a printed directory of WVU alumni develop an alumni career assistance portal expand existing career services through strategic cross-campus partnerships assist with the recruitment of alumni employers that hire WVU graduates improve the ease of student-alumni and alumni-alumni interaction

5 encourage international alumni to connect with and support students studying abroad develop programs that aid students in the transition from classroom to career encourage chapters and constituent groups to prioritize networking programs Goal 5 Diversity: The diversity of WVU is best exemplified by the 180,000 alumni living in West Virginia, across the nation and throughout the world. The WVU Alumni Association represents constituents from a variety of ages, backgrounds and interests that share in a common gold and blue spirit. We will expand and promote programming that fosters diversity and inclusion among all Mountaineers. provide diversity training for alumni staff and volunteer leaders support institutional diversity events and initiatives implement programs geared toward constituents in all life cycles develop methods to increase the participation of minority students and alumni in Association sponsored activities sponsor reunion programs for diversity focused constituent groups provide scholarship opportunities through the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund for qualified multicultural students sponsor programs geared toward engaging international students prior to graduation align business practices to better facilitate the engagement of international constituents partner with Admissions and Records to engage diversity related constituent groups in the recruitment of multicultural prospective students Supporting the Next Generation of Alumni Because a positive student experience is the foundation for a strong alumni relationship, the WVU Alumni Association will prioritize the cultivation of the next generation of WVU graduates by providing support from the point of recruitment to application, through graduation and beyond.

6 Goal 6 Student Recruitment: Alumni are an extremely effective way to spread the word about the unique studentcentered educational environment that WVU offers. We will continue to partner with the Office of Undergraduate Student Recruitment to support an international network of volunteers that are trained to assist the University with the recruitment of quality prospective students in and around their local communities. communicate about the high quality holistic WVU student experience tell success stories about WVU alumni and how their alma mater aided in their personal and professional growth utilize alumni to increase the visibility of WVU in targeted student recruitment areas focus on the recruitment and retention of legacy students extend the reach of the National Alumni Recruiting Network overseas encourage chapters and constituent groups to actively recruit prospective students and fund geographic and special interest scholarships Goal 7- Scholarships: Scholarships are an outstanding way to recognize the academic achievements, community and University involvement, and potential of current and incoming students. We will provide scholarships through the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund that assist the University in achieving its enrollment goals. With the cost of a college education increasing each year, the Alumni Association can be an important source of financial support for the best and brightest WVU students. grow the legacy scholarship program streamline the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund application and award process increase the impact of the Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund through enhanced scholarship packages expand scholarship opportunities to include awards for international students and study abroad create equity scholarships for high achieving underrepresented student s

7 provide volunteer opportunities for Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund scholars Goal 8 Fostering Lifelong Connections: Alumni involvement is vital to the life of an institution. Through programs developed in conjunction with the WVU Office of Student Affairs, undergraduate students will be exposed to a nurturing environment of community that begins when they set foot on campus and continues throughout their life. Programmatic emphasis will focus on instilling how that relationship enriches the individual and the institution. market WVU as a community that begins as a student and never ends educate current students about the role of the Association and the importance of being engaged after graduation emphasize activities that help students establish permanent connections to their alma mater and classmates invest in programs that increase the perceived value of a lasting relationship with the Association and WVU Goal 9 WVU Traditions: Traditions create the unique character of an institution and instill a sense of connection, continuity and community that binds one generation of Mountaineers to the next. We will keep that common bond among all graduates alive by identifying, cultivating, promoting and protecting the traditions of WVU. serve as a primary advocate for celebrating existing and creating new traditions that add to the rich history of WVU work to heighten the appreciation for University traditions showcase traditions through alumni programs and at The Erickson Alumni Center Strengthening WVU The support of alumni is absolutely critical for WVU to achieve its mission of service to the state, region, nation and world. The WVU Alumni Association will prioritize its role

8 of helping the University fulfill its mission by encouraging alumni support of WVU s administration, educational programs, research projects and service initiatives. Goal 10 Gateway to WVU: Because the Alumni Association is the most logical way for graduates to remain connected to WVU after leaving campus, we will position the organization as a portal linking alumni with their alma mater. By fulfilling that role, we will become the conduit that brings alumni together to increase affinity and resources in support of WVU. implement a Forever Mountaineers branding initiative establish the Association as the destination for alumni educational and social opportunities on campus, in communities, online and worldwide collaborate with WVU to provide access to appropriate campus services after graduation expand enrichment related alumni benefits encourage lifelong learning opportunities for WVU graduates position the Association to encourage participation in the way that matches greatest affinity Goal 11 Advocacy: We will play a vital role in helping to influence public opinion by communicating the importance of legislative support for WVU. Not only are state and federal appropriations critical to the success of the institution, they are also good investments. The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates that WVU produces a 40 to 1 return on every state dollar appropriated. Additionally, WVU plays an important role in entrepreneurship and innovation, benefitting the region, country and world. sponsor programs that aid in educating federal and state lawmakers about institutional legislative priorities implement an advocacy newsletter that educates alumni about issues and opportunities confronting their alma mater promote the contributions of WVU alumni, faculty and students to the creation of new knowledge

9 use our collective resources to highlight how WVU adds to the cultural and economic well-being of the state and nation utilize alumni to influence popular opinion about WVU including public policy and legislation develop the next generation of University advocates Goal 12 Collaboration and Strategic Partnerships: Because the vast majority of alumni have a variety of campus relationships, we will collaborate and develop strategic campus partnerships so that the end user experiences one WVU and to encourage alumni to connect with their alma mater where they demonstrate the highest level of affinity. provide a weekly report on Association activities to the President of WVU cultivate strategic campus partnerships that increase the visibility and influence of WVU hold quarterly summits with de-centralized alumni operations to improve communication and leverage resources submit an annual alumni relations report to WVU central administration inclusive of all alumni focused activities across campus coordinate fundraising efforts with the WVU Foundation promote an environment where entry to the University community is seamless for end users implement a partnership strategy to generate revenue and/or share program costs with corporate groups Strengthening the Alumni Association A loyal and dedicated alumni base is an invaluable institutional asset that requires constant nurturing. A modern, high functioning alumni relations program is vital to developing and cultivating that asset. As the oldest organization supporting the mission of WVU, the staff and Board of Directors of WVU Alumni Association understand its legacy and role and will prioritize a balance between historical customs and new thinking.

10 Goal 13 Organizational Structure and Program Funding: Recent trends in alumni relations have seen a shift in the structure and funding models at several prominent national alumni associations to better position those organizations to serve their constituencies. The causes of those changes are many and because each institutional culture is unique, there is no one size fits all approach to operating an alumni relations program. align the Association with the University in the way that is most beneficial to alumni implement an annual process to prioritize work in support of WVU develop a sustainable funding model that appropriately capitalizes alumni programming effectively manage resources through strategic decision making about the value of programs and services continually seek operational efficiencies explore partnerships with WVU and external vendors to streamline the organization identify and publicize clear fundraising priorities for the Association engage in activities designed to increase private support be entrepreneurial and maximize new streams of revenue Goal 14 Data Management: Quality data is the cornerstone of effective alumni relations. In order to build a relationship with our constituents we must demonstrate a willingness to know them on a personal level. An alumni database rich with information that can be mined and segmented based on affinity is essential to nurturing that type of personal relationship. benchmark comparable Alumni Associations for data management best practices collaborate with WVU and the WVU Foundation to increase the breadth, depth and accuracy of constituent data develop data systems to capture alumni needs, interests and preferences conduct a census of alumni

11 continually analyze the contents of the database seeking indicators that will increase the rate of engagement Goal 15 Facility Management: The award-winning Erickson Alumni Center instills a sense of Mountaineer pride in all that enter the facility. It is one of the Alumni Association s most valuable engagement tools. We will best position the center to meet the needs of WVU and our constituency by reducing the construction related debt, creating a maintenance endowment fund, operating in a fiscally responsible manner and implementing facility management best practices. benchmark comparable facilities for management best practices position The Erickson Alumni Center as the gathering place for WVU alumni sponsor an appropriate number of targeted University and community events in the center each calendar year use the facility to showcase alumni achievement manage the facility to generate revenue that can be invested in operations and programming market the facility as the location to celebrate significant events in the life of alumni implement a campaign to retire the remaining facility debt maintain the quality and appearance of the center and prioritize the identification of maintenance funding sources Goal 16 Professional Staff: The professional staff of the WVU Alumni Association is responsible for providing the knowledge and skills required to fund and fulfill the mission of growing WVU s base of engaged constituents. We will recruit, train and empower a diverse, talented, creative, experienced, coordinated and entrepreneurial staff that drives the organization to achieve its strategic goals. implement a performance management program

12 collaboratively create annual work plans that ensure employee alignment with strategic goals encourage career development opportunities that enhance employee skills conduct a staffing needs assessment

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