This morning I gave a brief presentation to attendees at the CASE Institute for Senior Alumni Relations Professionals about the mission and work of the CASE Commission on Alumni Relations (COAR). As current Chair of the Commission, I wanted to make sure Institute attendees knew about this channel for guidance and direction from the profession to our professional organization. During the discussion, Dickinson College's Rick Delgiorno mentioned that it would be great if even more people knew about the Commissions and their work. So here's a brief summary of the points I made this morning.
There are three Commissions: Alumni Relations, Philanthropy, and Communications & Marketing. Each Commission's goal, broadly stated, is to "support the creation and dissemination of knowledge…and advise CASE on programming and services relative to their respective area."
The Commissions meet twice a year (once in person and once via web and phone), and the Commission chairs serve as CASE Trustees. The Commission on Alumni Relations currently has 20 members representing five countries and a cross-section of institution types: public and private, large and small, secondary and post-secondary. We work from the premise that, as their institutions' largest permanent constituency, "alumni are vital stakeholders in their institutions." As the CASE web site explains, the Commission "frames and directs research to
- examine and evaluate professional practices,
- develop and monitor programs and services in alumni relations, and
- ensure that they reflect current knowledge, emerging issues and trends and the highest ethical and professional standards."
A set of past resources produced by COAR is available from the CASE web site, and includes
- Principles of Practice for Alumni Relations,
- a CASE Management Checklists for Advancement Professionals,
- CASE Guidelines for Alumni Relations on Establishing Vendor Relationships
Current COAR projects include a pilot version of the CASE Benchmarking Toolkit. This survey will allow member institutions to measure their achievements in alumni relations, including year to year comparisons within a program and accomplishments compared with peer institutions. Use of the Toolkit will rely heavily on CASE's ability to help member organizations identify Communities of Practice for benchmarking purposes, a topic we've discussed here in the past.
At this week's meeting COAR will also discuss the effects of the economy on alumni programs: organizational structures, staffing, campus partnerships, and communication practice are on the agenda. And we'll consider working jointly with our colleagues on the Communications & Marketing Commission to explore how best to maintain effective communications with alumni and friends during difficult economic times.
What Do You Think? How can the Commissions help CASE be relevant? What could we do that would help institutional and individual members of CASE get more out of their membership in the organization? Leave a comment here on the blog, or send me an email.