Alumni engagement is a hot topic in the nonprofit education and programming world.  Everyone seems to be struggling to figure out how to get alumni involved, why to get them involved, to what level, and particularly most challenging – what, if anything, to give them in return.  At Leadership Seacoast, we think about alumni engagement regularly- and the board of directors discussed its importance at a recent retreat.

A recent article in EdUniverse.com stated that “Alumni engagement is about making stronger alumni under the flag of the university. Our efforts should yield personal and professional success stories and in the process increase school spirit. Successful alums that can equate post-college achievements back to the institution will hopefully be compelled to give back both time and treasure over the long term.”

The author suggests that instead of asking alumni “what can you give and do for us, that nonprofits should think about what they can offer their alumni that makes it appealing to continue to stay involved with the organization, i.e. networking connections, personal professional development opportunities, etc.

At Leadership Seacoast, we try to encourage our alumni to stay in touch with the organization and support it through program referrals, attending events, sponsorships and most importantly, through community and civic involvement. Unlike many nonprofits, we don’t ask them for donations. Last week the United Way Day of Caring and Leadership Seacoast participated at two sites: The Class of 2013 worked at the John Paul Jones House; other alumni prepared and served meals with The Rockingham County Meals on Wheels in Raymond.  What a testament to their commitment to alumni engagement!

This is the most recent group to graduate from the LS program, so their energy and cohesive spirit is fresh. How do we keep that momentum going?

As we begin to plan for 2014 and celebrate our 25th anniversary, we are aware that alumni engagement is a two way street, and want to hear how we can thank you for supporting the organization. What would motivate you to stay in touch with your class and other alumni? Would you recommend someone to the program? Are you happy with the level of communication/information you receive from LS? How would you like to see LS keeping you engaged?

Help us to stay connected and engaged. Let us know what can we do to help YOU be successful in your job and community? Email me at director@leadershipseacoast.org