At the heart of all non-profit organizations is the call to service. You have already selected leaders and begun training them to change the world for the better, and the alumni phase is an organic time to continue this call to action. Your alumni are likely searching for meaningful ways to give back to their communities or volunteer for causes that are important to them, and by offering them opportunities that meet those needs, you can effectively draw individuals into your community, strengthen the bonds within it and advance your broader mission.
- Make volunteering social. Recent findings suggest that, among young people, “having friends who volunteer regularly is the primary factor influencing a young person’s volunteer habits.” The bottom line: making volunteering a social experience for your alumni can afford you even greater success at attracting participants to your programming. Allow your alumni to set the agenda—solicit their feedback about the causes and organizations they care about and the types of volunteer opportunities that appeal to them. Even better, take it one step further by encouraging them to organize their own volunteer opportunities. This approach captures the attention of your audience, empowers them to be proactive and lets you build capacity from within your community.
- Offer an array of opportunities. Below are a few general categories of volunteer opportunities that require varying time commitments by your alumni and resources from your organization.
- Site visits. Organize volunteer events with partner organizations on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, based on interest from your alumni. Rotate volunteer events across different partner organizations or set up ongoing relationships with organizations your alumni can use to volunteer regularly.
- Service trips. Based on your organization's capacity, organize service trips of varying length (for instance, a trip could last three days or an entire summer), and partner with organizations that already offer this kind of programming.
- Alumni activism programs. Create programs that empower your alumni to be activists for causes that align with their interests and the mission of your organization.
- Online volunteering. Encourage your alumni to volunteer their time and talents through online platforms such as www.skillsforchange.com.