This brief examines how institutions develop and implement successful volunteer engagement initiatives for alumni and friends of the university. In particular, it looks at how institutions conduct outreach, develop broad service offerings, and assess program effectiveness.
Key observations from our research:
1. Administrators identify and target specific former student leaders to manage volunteer initiatives.
2. College alumni offices manage and develop the majority of volunteer opportunities at institutions; alumni affairs staff closely manage relationships with these offices to coordinate volunteer efforts.
3. Alumni and friends who volunteer experience a deeper connection to institutions and are more likely to donate in the future.
4. Parent volunteers represent a potentially untapped resource for administrators to expand institutional volunteer efforts.
5. Ad hoc volunteer opportunities remain rare; however, if present, contacts suggest targeting specific volunteer groups and communicating event expectations to streamline understanding of program logistics.
6. High-level volunteer opportunities (e.g., service on alumni boards, planning committees, mentorships) constitute the majority of volunteer opportunities at profiled institutions.