Everything you need to make your Chapter successful
Volunteering with your local chapter is one of the best ways you can support your alma mater, while bringing the Dal spirit to your own community.
Whether you’re in the early stages of planning an event, or looking for tips on how to build your Chapter, the Alumni Engagement team is here to help!
The following tools and resources are designed to help you successfully carry out your role as a Chapter volunteer.
While Chapters are fun, dynamic, and flexible organizations, building a structured Chapter with executive membership is key to success.
Depending on the stage a Chapter is at – whether it’s just getting off the ground or well-established –volunteer positions have been developed to ensure the Chapter is effective, successful, and serves the university’s mission.
Volunteer recruitment is potentially the most important part of a Chapter’s executive role. Engaged volunteers are key to success. There are a number of ways in which volunteers can join a Chapter:
- The Alumni Engagement team works with Chapter executives to identify alumni in the area
- An individual applies for a volunteer opportunity via Dal’s alumni website
- An individual attends a Chapter event and expresses interest in volunteering
Once a new or potential volunteer has been identified, the best next step is for a Chapter executive member to meet with the individual face-to-face, invite them to a Chapter executive meeting, or to a Chapter event (if they haven’t already attended).
There are a few key things to keep in mind for volunteer recruitment:
- Be enthusiastic, positive, and honest about why you want an individual to join the Chapter
- Know what the Chapter is looking for – recruit volunteers who share the same vision and interests that align with the Chapter and Dal’s mission
- Choose the right volunteer with the right skill set – clearly defined position descriptions are essential to success
- Remember to ask – most volunteers say they take on a volunteer position because they were asked; some alumni may not realize volunteer opportunities are available
The Chapter information piece is a great tool to share with new or potential volunteers. It is also useful for Chapter executives to use for volunteer recruitment and promotion.
- Each Chapter has its own section on the Alumni website. It’s a great way for alumni to find events the Chapter is hosting, learn more about Chapter volunteers, find available volunteer positions, and stay up-to-date with news and events in that area.
- Social Media and communications support is key to sharing information and promoting Chapters. The Alumni Engagement team will provide a Facebook page for each Chapter, as well as promote events and initiatives on our various social media platforms.
- Each Chapter will have its own personalized Chapter email address, which will be the responsibility of an executive member
- Peer-to-peer support is a great resource for Chapters. The Alumni Engagement team will organize two Chapter-conference calls per year to provide an opportunity for Chapters to share ideas, advice, and best practices.
Chapter events are one of the best ways for alumni to learn, socialize and engage with each other, all while staying connected to the university. Whether a Chapter is planning a Global Homecoming event, coffee social, or a community-centred activity, the Alumni Engagement team recognizes these activities take time and effort.
The goal is for each Chapter to work towards hosting at least four events per year:
- Global Homecoming – bring alumni together in your community to celebrate Homecoming
- Social – gather alumni in your area for a pub night, local sporting event, etc.
- Community-focus – find an initiative in your community for your Chapter to volunteer its time and give back to the community
- Speaker series – bring a speaker to your own community that would be of interest to your Chapter
The following tools, forms and policies will help volunteers execute an enjoyable, successful event. Remember – the Alumni Engagement team is always here to help. The Event Planning Checklist is a great tool to stay organized and keep on track
Prior to planning any event, it’s important to consider financials. Dalhousie’s Alumni Chapters operate on a cost-recovery basis. Determing event cost and feasibility is key, and the Alumni Enagement team can help support this process.
Approaching organizations and companies to provide in-kind or monetary sponsorship for activities or events can be a great benefit to your Chapter. The first step when considering sponsorship is to always consult the Alumni Engagement team.
Once a Chapter has secured a venue and established all of the requirements (date, time, and catering specifics), the Alumni Engagement team is happy to help finalize payments. Just introduce us to your venue contact, and we will take care of the following directly:
- Confirm the reservation
- Arrange payments, including final payment
- Finalize the food/drink order with the venue based on online RSVPs
The Alumni Engagement team will help in many aspects of promotional support for your event. Once your Chapter confirms the details of your event by filling out this form, we will promote your event to alumni in your area in a number of ways:
- An online event page with all of the details
- An online RSVP page to keep everything simple and organized. RSVP’ing helps the Alumni Engagement Team keep track of ticket sales, attendance numbers for the venue, and collecting attendance information
- Two email invitations will be sent to all local alumni with a direct link to the RSVP page
- Save the Date email – 6 to 8 weeks prior
- Reminder email – 2 weeks before the event
- Social Media is one of the best ways to share your event. The Alumni Engagement Team will provide paid social media promotion, along with sharing your event through our main social media channels
- After the event, the Alumni Engagement team will send a thank you email to all guests on behalf of the Chapter
With all of the planning complete, it’s time to enjoy the Chapter event. The Alumni Engagement team will provide the following to help ensure the event runs smoothly, and give it some Dal spirit!
It’s helpful to know who is coming to your event
- The Alumni Engagement team will provide the final version of the RSVP guest list
- Have a close look at the RSVP guest list – notice someone who is coming for the first time or is a new grad? Be sure to greet them and find out what brought them out to the event
- Volunteers will have access to easy-to-use check-in software, which will print name tags for attendees on-the-spot, and help Dal collect alumni contact information
- If a guest shows up who hasn’t RSVP’d, it’s quick and simple to register on-the-spot
- It won’t be necessary to use software at every event (a community-centered event, for example), in which case the Alumni Engagement team will provide name tags if required, based on an RSVP list
- A display banner for use at alumni events branded specifically for each Chapter. The banner will help guests identify the check-in location
Event prizes and give-a-ways
- Business card draws are a great way for guests to win prizes and help the Chapter collect contact information. The Alumni Engagement team will provide three door prizes of Dal branded merchandise
- No business card? No problem – the Alumni Engagement team will provide branded door prize ballots for alumni without a card of their own
- The collected business cards are important for the Alumni Engagement team to gather contact information for alumni. The team will provide a pre-stamped, self-addressed envelope to mail back to Dal
- Door prizes may not be required at every event, but the Alumni Engagement team still wants guests to get some Dal swag! We will provide enough Dal branded merchandise for every guest.
- For simplicity, the Alumni Engagement team will send enough merchandise at once to last for numerous events