Alumni Board meeting.

Alumni boards and staffing at a small college can begin with volunteers.

In Part 5, we looked at ways to stay connected with alumni and communicate with volunteers. In this part, we’ll brainstorm ideas for funding the leadership of those volunteers.

Small schools often begin their alumni offices with volunteer leadership, such as an alumni board.

While saving on labor costs is important to a small school, volunteer leaders can normally give only a limited amount of time and effort. They will also probably not be reading books and developing expertise in alumni relations. Therefore, I believe that the best results come with hiring a paid staff member who takes responsibility for developing a useful alumni association.

Hopefully, that paid alumni officer will be working in the development office.

If a small school cannot hire a full-time alumni officer, they might want to seriously consider adding a part-time alumni relations officer to lead the group of volunteers, believing and praying that within a few years, increased donations will more than offset their salary.

The part-time officer could be an alumnus or a current part-time professor or staff member. (We looked in Part 1 at how this role is crucial in organizing class reunions).

Recruiting Volunteers as Alumni Board Members

With or without paid staff, volunteer alumni leaders can be quite valuable to the school. They often have a high commitment level and may become good candidates for the school’s board of directors.

To recruit an alumnus to be on the alumni board, the director of alumni services and the president may want to take a prospective candidate to lunch and give him or her an information sheet similar to the list below:

Alumni Leadership Invitation

Because of your involvement and support of our school, as well as your embodiment of our values, you are invited to prayerfully consider a two-year leadership position on our alumni board.

Alumni leaders work closely with the school administrator who directs alumni services. Expectations for alumni leaders are as follows:

  • Attend at least three of the four annual meetings of the alumni board.
  • Serve actively on at least one committee.
  • Attend school activities and meet with faculty, administration, members of the student government, and other representatives.
  • Be an ambassador for the school, such as speaking to prospective students and prospective supporters.
  • Be an ambassador for the alumni association (recruit other alumni for attendance at alumni functions, involvement in and support of the alumni association).
  • Attend the annual homecoming alumni day.
  • Suggest names of other alumni to be members of the alumni board, to receive alumni awards, and to be involved in various volunteer opportunities.
  • Demonstrate one’s heart for the ministry of this school by contributing financially to the school, as one is able. This might include being a donor of record each year one serves on the alumni board.
  • Help to guide the school by reading the annual institutional research reports and evaluating the proposed suggestions. 
  • Suggest and participate in projects that will make the alumni association more meaningful to alumni, students, churches, and the ministry of this school.
  • Pray at least weekly for the school.

We would be honored to have you minister among us. Are you prepared to accept the awesome responsibility of helping shape the future of this school?

Recruiting Non-Alumni to Work with Alumni Leadership

Volunteers can come from many walks of campus life. Perhaps form a committee of students to partner with the alumni association.

Students can be given scholarships in exchange for their work, and the alumni could raise the money for such scholarships.

Former student government officers, campus heroes, or other popular students are another enthusiastic and valuable resource for working with alumni.

We hope these ideas encourage your alumni leadership staffing endeavors.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at ideas for financing your school’s alumni association.


  • David Agron, Ph.D.

    Dr. Agron is the managing editor of Christian Academia Magazine. He also serves as an accreditation consultant. Since 1999, Agron & Associates, Inc. has specialized in helping Christian colleges achieve accreditation. In both roles, his mission is to help raise up Christian colleges in quality, quantity, reputation and impact for the Kingdom of God. If you would like to discuss how his firm can help your school achieve accreditation, contact him at [email protected].

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