Alumni Affinity Groups: How One University Formed a Highly Successful Organization

Group of speaker and attendees from Academic Impressions' Alumni Boards Conference
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by Kathy Edersheim, President of Impactrics

Kathy Edersheim, President, ImpactricsHow does an alumni affinity group get started and, perhaps more importantly, what makes it sustainable beyond the initial excitement?

There are many right answers and many challenges along the way. The key is to develop some guidelines and learn from other institutions' successes as well as from their failures. The Yale Alumni Non-profit Alliance (YANA) is one example of a resounding success that can be a model for the formation of other affinity groups.

Before you begin the hard work of forming the group, consider:

  • Why this concept now?
  • What are foundational components for success and are they present?
  • What are the steps necessary to make the organization successful?
  • Who will be responsible for undertaking the effort? (Volunteer driven or institutionally driven)
  • How do you define success?

In 2010, these fundamentals seemed to be in place for YANA. Here is the story.

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