Leadership and Development Opportunities
Leadership and professional development opportunities are often the most compelling facet of alumni programming and can be mutually beneficial for your alumni and your organization. You could profit from implementing one or more of these ideas:
- Share relevant opportunities. Connect alumni with relevant career and leadership opportunities. A great way to spread this information is through online opportunities boards, e-newsletters or social media.
- Offer career guidance. Offer your alumni ongoing career mentoring with staff and qualified alumni, including opportunities for ad-hoc career advice or interview preparation. Consider offering discounted professional coaching sessions.
- Create mentoring opportunities. Create a way for younger alumni to connect with and learn from veteran alumni who are established in a field of interest.
- Host networking events. Organize networking opportunities for individuals from multiple cohorts and provide them with access to veteran alumni.
- Form strategic partnerships. Try to form partnerships with relevant graduate schools, employers and fellowship programs to facilitate your alumni’s career progression.
- Offer candidate endorsements. Offer your alumni endorsements or recommendations for positions and fellowships, as appropriate.
- Boost your alumni’s leadership platform. Help members of your community get speaking engagements and offer to subsidize their attendance at relevant conferences.
- Offer micro grants. Offer your alumni opportunities to apply for small funding pools to attend conferences, speak at events, participate in professional development training or launch their own initiatives. This will allow you to keep in touch with alumni, track grant-making trends and create new opportunities around these trends. It also enables you stay up to date on your alumni's interests and approach them in a more personalized way.
- Create your own programs. Designing your own leadership programming can be the most challenging—but impactful—piece of alumni enrichment. As your organization matures and your alumni begin to outnumber your current participants by a significant margin, your organizational focus may shift to the long-term results of your alumni’s work. Some high-level strategies for developing compelling, high-impact programs are:
- Survey your alumni to learn about their interests, ambitions and needs;
- Identify key trends and need gaps; and
- Create strategic programming that will fill these gaps and empower your alumni to achieve your shared vision. We recommend returning to our best practices for further guidance.
- Celebrate your alumni’s success. Award alumni for their outstanding work and publicize their successes to the rest of the community, presenting them as positive role models for others and demonstrating the efficacy of your core programs. Teach For America and The Association of Yale Alumni both offer alumni awards: