Alumni event management checklist
To successfully manage an alumni event, especially a high-profile one, there are a number of steps that the Alumni Office would recommend that event organisers follow. The list below is intended to help support groups and provide some suggestions for good practice.
The timescales involved in planning each event will vary according to the scale of the event. Some major events need to be planned at least a year in advance, while others may only require a few weeks’ preparation. It is always advisable to start your event planning as early as possible.
- The aims of the event.
- The event date, time, venue, and catering requirements.
- Key roles and responsibilities including the lead organiser and named volunteers.
- Arranging a speaker (if applicable).
- Working out the cost and ticket price for group members.
- Publicity, marketing and invites.
- How guests will book for the event
- Additional requirements, such as audio-visual equipment or accessible facilities.
- Risk assessments – include any plans for vulnerable adults and the safeguarding of children.
- Preparing any badges or guest lists.
- Preparing a table plan, if required.
- Post-event follow-up (for example, thank you notes to speakers and volunteers).
It is recommended that members are given at least six weeks notice for any event. Alumni groups often find it useful to hold an annual planning meeting to determine the events programme for the year. This can then be circulated to members once dates have been confirmed.
- Organises all committee meetings, including setting dates and agendas.
- Assists the Secretary in arranging events and activities.
- Oversees officer transitions within the committee.
- If appropriate, acts as the host at alumni group events.
- Completes the Update Survey
- Takes and circulates minutes of group meetings if required.
- Securely maintains contact details for the membership base, in line with relevant laws (please see the Data Protection for Alumni Groups insert for more information).
- Maintains contact with the University’s Alumni Office to coordinate recruitment drives aimed at securing or growing membership, and to inform the Office of group events and activities.
- Oversees the alumni group’s income and expenditure and, where applicable, maintains the group’s bank account.
- If the group has an annual subscription, collects and records this.
- Reports on the financial position of the group to each committee meeting and at the Annual General Meeting.
- Works with the Secretary on pricing for each event and activity.
- Where applicable and if pre-agreed by the Alumni Office, oversees reimbursements to speakers for travel expenses.
- Arranges any necessary reimbursements to committee members for activities undertaken on behalf of the group.
- Working with the Secretary, assumes responsibility for planning and finalizing events.
- Develops the membership of the group through regular membership drives and support the Secretary with maintaining the secure membership list.
- Works in conjunction with the Networks Team and Undergraduate Admissions Office to organise schools’ outreach activities in the area.
- Maintains the group’s website and social media presence.
- Publicises group events through online forums.
Data protection for Alumni Groups
The information on this page is to help official alumni groups of the University, to manage the data they hold for alumni in a secure, fair and transparent manner, as required by relevant data protection law.
The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on the 25th May 2018. It is an EU regulation that affects all organisations (whether they are inside or outside of the EU) that hold and process EU citizens’ data.
Only hold data that is essential. If you really need to share any of it, keep it to an absolute minimum. While you are holding the data, keep it safe and secure. And when you no longer need it, delete it.
Your group needs to create a Data Privacy Notice, which should accurately reflect what personal data you store, why you hold it and how you use it. It should also explain why and when you would share data with third parties (for example, dietary requirements with a dinner venue).
The University’s Privacy Notice for alumni and supporters etc. may help you write your own. The Networks Team may also be able to provide you with a draft template.
You must also share your Privacy Notice with your members/mailing list, and it should also be attached to any communications sent to the mailing list, whether they are by email or post.
The key principles of data processing under GDPR
You will need to have a basis for processing information. These include consent, contract, legal obligation, vital interests, public task and legitimate interest. Most of your group activities will fall under:
- Consent – the individual has told you that you can process their information. For some activities, such as email communications or holding sensitive information, consent will likely be the appropriate basis for processing.
- Contract – such as event registration and processing of information for purposes of running an event or membership services.
- Legitimate interest – holding onto information that is relevant to the purposes of your organisation. This cannot be intrusive or excessive.
Your purpose (what are you doing with the information) and the type of information you hold will help you to define what lawful basis you have.
Only hold what is needed.
Keep your records accurate and up to date. Make any updates and amendments to your data as soon as is possible – the legal requirement is one month.
Only keep the data for as long as is necessary. For example, when an event is over, delete the information that you have no need to retain for reuse. Don’t hold on to information ‘just in case’.
Who can access the data and why? Where is it stored? Make sure the data you hold is encrypted and secure (for example, have passwords on documents containing personal data).
Besides the principles, think about your documentation. If anyone asks you how you got their data, and what you do with it, what would your answer be? – and if you were at the receiving end of that answer, would you be happy with it?
The Networks Team / Alumni Office cannot offer you legal advice on how you hold your data or comply with GDPR, but if you have any questions, we will endeavour to answer them as far as we can. Please email us with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Electronic direct marketing and GDPR
Electronic direct marketing includes any communication sent to promote the ideals of an organisation, such as event invitations, offers and benefits. Communications sent by email, text, social media or telephone, fall under new GDPR legislation, which means that you should hold consent to contact the alumni on your mailing list. Consent is an affirmative action of opting-in. Silence, pre-filled tick boxes and inactivity do not count as consent.
Mailing lists and GDPR
- The Alumni Office sends regular recruitment mailings for all groups, where alumni in your area are asked to contact you directly to opt-in to your lists.
- Any groups still holding a mailing list that was given to them by the Alumni Office (pre 2017) should by now have deleted this list and only make use of their own ‘opt-in’ list. If you have any queries about which list you are using then we would suggest cleaning your data by removing any alumni that you do not have evidence of direct contact with (i.e. attendance at an event, or email asking to be involved in the group).
- All lists should be stored securely in password protected documents or on encrypted discs.
- Lists must not be shared outside your group leader / committee and should only be used for the purposes of communicating about your group’s activities.
- It is not permitted for groups to share any contact detail updates with the University without first obtaining the consent of the individual concerned and with the relevant agreement in place.
Many groups will be based in countries subject to GDPR and will be able to refer to guidance from their own regulator, (their equivalent of the Information Commissioner, which covers the UK). We strongly encourage that you do so.
We have also listed below some ways that will help ensure data is used securely:
- Only hold essential information: In practice this is likely to be first name (for salutation) and email address.
- Ensure your data is kept up to date and that any unsubscribes are honoured.
- Ensure that your password is secure and you do not share your log on details.
- If moving to another system ensure that all data is deleted from the current system that you use.
Events best practise for GDPR
Here are some suggested ways to recruit new volunteers:
- Provide a tick-box option on all mailings and publicity asking members to volunteer to take a more active role.
- Regularly publicise the volunteer roles available within the group, with a clear description of what each role entails.
- Hold an annual planning meeting specifically to discuss forthcoming events and to obtain suggestions for volunteers who would like to help organise them.
- Rather than one person organising the entire events programme, ask volunteers to organise at least one event each year. Ideally this would be an event in which they had a particular interest, whether academic, social, musical or career related. The volunteer then becomes the ‘prime-mover’ for that event.
The success of an alumni group can be heavily reliant on retaining engaged and enthusiastic volunteers. This involves investing time in ensuring that their roles are rewarding. Some suggestions for creating rewarding volunteer roles include:
- Consider what motivates an individual volunteer and steer their role accordingly.
- Ensure role descriptions are flexible enough to be adapted to suit an individual volunteer. If a volunteer has some say over their particular role, they are more likely to be happy within it.
- A simple ‘thank-you’ for organising an event in front of members can really help to make a volunteer feel valued.
- Track each volunteer’s term of office and be aware of how they are feeling, especially if they feel underutilised, or alternatively if they feel burdened by the responsibilities of the position
- Invite all relevant volunteers to be consulted on group decisions that affect them and invite them to participate in relevant meetings and social plans.
Identifying future group leaders is an important task for any committee. Succession planning on an ongoing basis is essential to ensuring the continuity of an alumni group. If a group has momentum and a number of members are already involved in the organisational side, it should be easy to identify successors to the committee.