Developing the Board
Things to consider when developing an inaugural board for your chapter:
- Consider the leadership potential of your interested volunteers. Begin to identify those who might be able to maintain effective leadership.
- The first person to volunteer to start the board is not always the best candidate. Look to your alumni who were most involved as students. Former student leaders often make great board members.
- Draft a job description that clearly outlines the expectations and responsibilities of board members and volunteers.
- Review leadership-development materials with your board to help them learn more about their role.
Suggested Standing Committees
For large chapter boards
Recommends actions for approval of the full board and sometimes acts for the board, within its boundaries, between meetings. This is the central committee of the board and is essential to its effective operations and defining committee structure.
Membership generally includes the officers of the board (president, president-elect, treasurer, and secretary). Typical tasks and responsibilities:
- Meet regularly to review operation, programming, and financial issues.
- Deal with urgent situations that cannot wait for the next full board meeting.
- Make financial and other urgent decisions between board meetings.
- Work closely with university administration and the Alumni Association to ensure coordination and communication of activities.
Provides logistical support and implementation of the chapter’s ongoing programs and activities. Some common responsibilities for this committee:
- Recommend policies related to events and activities to the full board.
- Set guidelines for board involvement in program matters.
- Monitor implementation of the strategic plan’s programming goals.
- Recommend potential program initiatives to the full board.
- Carry out event planning and execution.
- Report to the board on a regular basis on the organization’s programs.
Some examples of programming you might consider for your organization include the following: speakers’ panels, incoming freshman welcome receptions, graduating senior send-offs, alumni-student mentor program, tailgates, happy hour mixers, and community service projects.
Works with association membership committee to develop an overall plan to drive membership. Specific responsibilities of this committee include:
- Developing a strategic plan for acquiring and maintaining membership in the college chapter.
- Reporting to the board on a regular basis on the chapter’s membership performance.
- Providing membership orientation to its members as well as serving as information ambassadors at events.
- Developing marketing appeals for specific target markets within the chapter.
Develops and executes alumni communications on behalf of the chapter to inform alumni and other constituents of events, programs, college happenings, and other chapter activities. Responsibilities:
- Develop a communications plan and channels of communication.
- Draft communication pieces for review by the board.
- Send or post communication pieces using appropriate channels.
- Monitor chapter happenings and recommend additional communications as needed.
Several benchmarks have been developed to help you assess the health of your chapter.
- Actively involved members
- An elected board and group of officers who are diverse in age, gender, and race, and have a broad representation of academic disciplines
- Written agendas, minutes, and financial reports circulated to chapter volunteers and on file in association office
- Breadth of programming — athletic, cultural, social, and educational
- Breadth of services — mentorships, career networking, lifelong learning, scholarships, membership, community service, and student interaction
- Specified programs for leadership succession, to include:
- Limited terms of office for all officers and board members
- Leadership training for a “president-elect” and officers, along with identified emerging leaders
- A designated board position responsible for identifying new board members and officers (the president-elect often fills this role)
- An action plan and annual reports that reflect and measure meaningful involvement by significant numbers of alumni in an area of academic field.
Chapter Petition Process
Chapters must petition for provisional and official status. The UNLV Alumni Association seeks to establish and support vibrant chapters that are able to fulfill their obligations around four key areas:
Before applying for provisional status, please consider the following minimum qualifications that must be met:
- Bylaws — must conform to association bylaws and other requirements
- Board — minimum of five members initially; elections timed with association schedule
- Membership — demonstrate growth during provisional status based upon articulated goals
If approved, the board will grant a one-year provisional status period, during which time the petitioning chapter will work with the chapters committee, alumni relations, and the academic unit to demonstrate its commitment, stability, and ability to grow membership.
Provisional Application Process
Upon the recommendation of the chapters committee, applications will be reviewed and approved by the association board of directors. Submit the application at least 20 days before meeting of the board for inclusion in the agenda. The chapter president must attend the meeting and be prepared to present to the board.
In the application, please consider including the following:
- Cover letter from your chapter president to the association executive director outlining the request to be recognized as a provisional chapter. Your letter should include:
- Membership — describe programs or activities your chapter has developed to grow chapter membership (i.e., membership mixer, included membership materials in all new grad packets)
- Engagement — describe methods of engagement your chapter has developed (i.e., electronic newsletters, social networking, special members-only events)
- Collaboration — describe how your chapter is working with your academic unit and staff, the alumni relations office, and the association (e.g., work with dean’s assigned designee to develop meeting agendas, include chapter events on the alumni association calendar, attend association board meetings)
- Accountability — include strategic, budget, or program plans for the coming year
- Samples — include invitations, flyers, newsletters, and any other materials using the Alumni Association name or mark of relevance
- Plan for coming year — include goals established by your board to complete during the provisional status year
- Alumni chapter bylaws — alumni chapter board of directors roster, including graduation date, degree, and major
If approved, the board will grant official chapter status with a one-year provisional status period during which time the chapter will work with the association, alumni relations, and the academic unit to demonstrate long-term viability.
Petition for Official Status
Following the one-year provisional status, the chapter president will use the chapter’s original application as a guide to build an updated document articulating accomplishments made by the chapter. This document will be reviewed by the chapters committee, and if the committee approves, it will be placed on the board agenda for vote by the board. If approved, the chapter moves from provisional to official status with the association.