Young Alumni: Establishing Lifelong Relationships

Young Alumni: Establishing Lifelong Relationships

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Build upon your connection with alumni that began when they were students.

Learn how you can develop intentional young alumni programming that seamlessly integrates your on-campus and after-graduation efforts. This event is a must if your institution wants to establish strong, lifelong relationships with its newest alumni. Join faculty, who have a track record of engaging and inspiring young alumni, for three days of practical content focused on:  

  • Cultivating a culture of philanthropy on campus 
  • Transitioning students to alumni 
  • Effective events 
  • Volunteer management 
  • Giving programs 

You will leave this conference with a complete gap analysis assessing the current state of your young alumni programming, a toolkit of new ideas, and an action plan to move forward.

A Note from our Program Manager

Engaging young alumni is essential to long-term alumni engagement and giving effort, so we’ve repositioned this conference to reflect the changing needs and challenges that this work presents us with. Some updates for this year include: an increased focus on student philanthropy efforts, the importance of engaging students while still on campus, how to maximize the impact of multi-channel giving efforts, and digital engagement strategies. You’ll have substantial time to network and form connections with your peers from across higher ed who are engaged in the same work you are.
Nick Pettet, Program Manager, Academic Impressions

Who Should Attend

Advancement professionals who work with young alumni, especially professionals in alumni relations and annual giving, will gain a comprehensive plan for better engaging young alumni. Teams from giving and alumni relations are encouraged to attend. 


Bring your team and save! 

Save over 15% when you register three or more colleagues.

“As an early career fundraiser tasked with evolving the culture of philanthropy at a top-tier business school, this conference has given me confidence in myself and my future strategic plans to undergo big endeavors.”

- Steven Tomiyama, Assistant Director of Development, UCLA Anderson School of Management

“Academic Impressions brings together excellent faculty with a breadth of experience to dive deeply into the topic. No up-selling or recruitment -- just wonderful collaboration and information-sharing. So many ideas!”

- Malone Plummer, Assistant Director, Leadership Donor Engagement, Boston College

“I am so pleased with my experience during this conference that I'd like to return next year and bring our school's Director of Development with me.”

- Jen Mathew, Director of Alumni Affairs & Communications, Loma Linda University

“As a new member to the alumni team coming from an institution where current students are not included in alumni functions, this was an eye-opening experience. I have always believed that current students are the key to great alumni, but now I have information to solidify that claim.”

- Tiffany Wilson, Alumni Program Coordinator, Emporia State University

"Extremely impressed with the sharing of best practices and latest trends to engage your alumni at this conference. If you want to enrich your program, this conference should be on the top of your to-do list."

- Brandi Brooks, Director, Young Alumni Programs, UNC, Chapel Hill


Day One

8:30 a.m. - 6:15 p.m.

Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Tuesday, breakfast and lunch on Wednesday, breakfast on Thursday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.


The Student Philanthropy Model

A successful young alumni program depends upon cultivating a spirit of philanthropy while students are still on campus. We will walk you through our student philanthropy model and its three core components: awareness, gratitude, and giving.



Generational Values Activity

To understand how to communicate with students and alumni, you must understand how their values differ across time. In this session, you will participate in an activity that will demonstrate the living generations’ values and will conclude with how messaging should adapt based on their unique values.



Student Philanthropy Programming

Now that you understand the student philanthropy model, we will walk through the student lifecycle, identifying where you can cultivate awareness, gratitude, and giving. You’ll then examine best practices for transitioning your students to alumni through effective volunteer, event, and philanthropic opportunities.



Capitalizing on Student Volunteers

Here we’ll talk through UPenn and TCU’s “super” volunteer programs that train students starting as early as their first year on campus and call on them throughout their young alumni years. Through these alumni ambassador programs, highly trained students are given significant leadership and solicitation training and used for planning events, admissions panels, social media ambassadors, etc. Our faculty will explain how to integrate such a program into your efforts and leverage existing campus leadership and governance programs—expanding on your transition efforts and strengthening your volunteer program.



Gap Analysis

What are you already doing to cultivate awareness, gratitude, and giving? In this working session, you’ll take a careful look at your current programming and gather in small groups to identify where you promote these three components. This activity will allow you to see which areas need bolstering. You’ll use this analysis to ensure that your focus during this conference is directed toward the right areas for your institution.



Understanding Transition: Ensuring Engaged Students Become Engaged Young Alumni

You’ve worked hard at engaging your students, providing opportunities for them to increase their involvement, and educating them on the importance of giving back. However, if you haven’t considered the magnitude of the student-to-alumni transition, you will likely lose your already loyal representatives. During this hour, you will gain a better understanding of the current generation and learn how to best communicate with them during this period of transition.



Networking Reception

This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


Day Two

8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m


Developing Multi-Channel Giving Strategies for Young Alumni

Do you offer giving opportunities that are attractive to young alumni? This time will be spent helping you understand different giving strategies that can be implemented at your institution to better promote young alumni giving. The session will cover online, mail, and phone initiatives as well as a discussion on whether your effort should gravitate toward restricted or unrestricted giving options.



Creating Events Targeted at Recent Alumni

How do you move beyond happy hours and sporting events to engage young alumni? In this session, you’ll examine how to design creative events that will attract young alumni. You’ll consider different programming options aimed at graduates in the first five years compared to those in the first decade. You’ll also explore examples of successful events for these different life stages. The hour will conclude by looking at the relationship between these events and the institution and exploring ways to measure their effectiveness.



Digital Young Alumni Engagement

Now that we’ve covered in-person events and programming, we turn to all things digital to complement your efforts. We will cover email, web, social media, crowdfunding, and digital ambassadors.



Young Alumni Feedback and Assessment

This hour will begin with content on how to ensure you are incorporating young alumni feedback into your programming and will examine best practices in gathering that information. We’ll examine how to assess your current efforts, including with programming and with volunteers, to understand how and when to change course.


Day Three

8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Gaining Buy-In across Campus for Young Alumni Initiatives

Young alumni are the next generation of leaders and will be a source of support for your institution in years to come, so putting resources toward cultivating them will pay dividends. How do you make this case for long-term return during a time when many shops are focused on short-term gains? We will help you make the case for a comprehensive young alumni program, build a reasonable budget while you are gaining buy-in, and recruit cross-campus allies to your cause.



Troubleshooting Your Challenges

As our time comes to a close, we’ll break out by institution size and type to allow more specialized time with the faculty and other attendees in similar contexts. You will have time to talk through your biggest challenges and gather feedback from the faculty and your peers.



Putting It All Together

In this session, you will revisit the core components needed to build a lifelong relationship with your recent alumni. Then, using your findings from the gap analysis session, you will create an initial plan for additional programming you want to implement or changes you’d like to make at your institution.



Open Forum with Faculty, Identifying Key Takeaways, Closing Q&A, and Evaluation


portrait of Elise Betz

Elise M. Betz

Executive Director of Alumni Relations, University of Pennsylvania

Elise began her tenure at Penn with the annual fund and currently manages a majority of the institution’s alumni relations efforts, including communications, alumni education, the multicultural alliance, and alumni travel. She also founded and manages Penn’s own comprehensive student advancement program, the first of its kind in the country.

Read Elise's full bio here.

Portrait of Ryan Barnhart

Ryan Barnhart

Director, Alumni Relations, California University of Pennsylvania

Ryan is a CASE Award-winning higher education professional with over 15 years of experience in the higher ed space, with expertise in strategic enrollment management and planning, curriculum design and instruction in andragogy, to development and alumni relations.

Read Ryan's full bio here.

Portrait of John Tatum

John Tatum Grice

Director, Annual Giving, University of Wisconsin Foundation

John began his tenure in KSU Foundation's Annual Giving department, focused on direct mail, phonathon, student philanthropy, and student life fundraising. During his time at Oklahoma State University Foundation, his work was with the next generation philanthropy focused on engaging students, young alumni, and donors in all seasons of life through crowdfunding, days of giving, and peer-to-peer strategies.

Read John's full bio here.

Can't Attend? Buy the Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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