UC Santa Cruz Alumni Council Strategic Work Plan

UC Santa Cruz Alumni Council Strategic Work Plan
November 2021 - December 2023

(Approved November 6, 2021)

Mission

To support the educational calling of UC Santa Cruz. To provide a means by which alumni may serve the university, its colleges, its students, and each other. To help guide the university into the future.

Purpose

The UCSC Alumni Council cultivates a relationship between current students, alumni, and the university where diverse, impactful opportunities inspire alumni to engage and exchange ideas and opportunities with one another, and creates opportunities for all alumni to experience the lifelong benefits of a UCSC education.

Values

The values we live by and how we operate. The culture that holds us together and allows Councilors to represent the ethos of the organization. 

  • Supportive - We generously serve UCSC alumni, students, and the UCSC community.
  • Collaborative - We cultivate partnerships and foster collaboration in our work to support alumni, students, and the UCSC community.
  • Inclusive - We celebrate diversity, encourage equity, and promote a community of belonging. We respect all voices, knowing they make us a stronger community.
  • Appreciative - We value and honor each other and our impact. We celebrate Banana Slug achievements and seek ways to recognize and share alumni stories.
  • Dedicated - We pursue our mission with dedication to our alma mater. 

Three Focus Areas of the Strategic Work Plan

  1. Scalable Alumni Engagement
  2. Organizational Health
  3. Alumni Giving Participation


Three Focus Areas with SMART Objectives and Tactics

Focus Area 1:  Scalable Alumni Engagement 

Engage current and future alumni purposefully, personally, and professionally in a mutually beneficial relationship that generates meaningful connections and strengthens the community.

  1. SMART Objective: Alumni Councilors serve as lead volunteers for alumni engagement program initiatives and leverage their personal, professional and extended Banana Slug networks to recruit a more diverse community of volunteer leaders, with the goal of having at least 40 volunteer-led events around the world each year and a network of 100 alumni volunteers that engages through Council initiatives.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Alumni Councilors recruit volunteer leaders to expand alumni engagement initiatives and host events by leveraging the responses from the alumni survey and building relationships with volunteer leaders.
    2. Tactic - Alumni volunteers host in-person events in their local communities.  
    3. Tactic - Councilors sign up for the UC Advocacy Network, actively participate in its campaigns, and encourage their networks to join this online advocacy community.
    4. Tactic - Create a communications framework for Councilors to promote upcoming events and opportunities through their personal social media channels. 
    5. Tactic: Develop regional watch parties for UCSC virtual events.

  2. SMART Objective: Leverage the world-wide alumni network to advance career and professional development opportunities for both students and alumni, with a goal of doubling the number of alumni actively networking with alumni and students, for example through  Handshake or the Career Advice Network.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Activate and empower alumni to post jobs and internships by collaborating with the Division of Student Affairs and Success to contact alumni at strategic employers and recruit them to become career ambassadors for UCSC. This includes creating a toolkit with clear messaging on how and why employers should recruit UCSC students and recent graduates, and an engagement program to reward ambassadors for their efforts. 
    2. Tactic - Promote and distribute the Special Projects Fund to support student and alumni connection through career related events.
    3. Tactic - Expand and refine the Ask an Alum video series initiative.

  3. SMART Objective: Utilize the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund to re-engage with past volunteers, donors and scholarship recipients and rekindle involvement, with a goal of contacting at least 75 such alumni. 

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Contact past scholarship recipients to gather their post-graduation stories. Use these stories as part of a media campaign to help promote the scholarship, the historical impact of the Alumni Association, and identify future volunteers. 
    2. Tactic - Reach out to past Councilors to re-engage them in volunteering with UCSC by participating in the annual selection of new scholarship recipients.
    3. Tactic - Inspire donors with stories showing the impact of the scholarship on the lives of recipients.


Focus Area 2: Organizational Health

Ensure the organization is sustainable and has a strong foundation in order to improve the reputation of the Council, enhance campus understanding and support of our work, and conduct the necessary business of the Alumni Association within California Corporate code and our governing documents. 

  1. SMART Objective: Develop a policies and procedures document that is approved by the Alumni Council by December 31, 2022, including approving sections at each business meeting relevant to the necessary upcoming business.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Create an ad-hoc working group with the necessary skills and institutional knowledge to create this document. 
    2. Tactic - Develop a timeline with clear deliverables on necessary topics to include in a policy document. Include deadlines for drafting, finalizing and approving sections at each business meeting. 
    3. Tactic - Assess the Liaison Program and make recommendations to the Council on if/how to move the program forward. Once approved, include documentation in the Policy and Procedures document. 

  2. SMART objective: Build leadership capacity, annually assess skills needed on the board, and gauge interest of current Councilors, with the goal of improving that assessment between year one and year two.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Identify areas of training that would be helpful for board members (e.g. fundraising, story telling, leading and facilitating meetings, board member 101).
    2. Tactic - Create task-based leadership opportunities (e.g. working groups, special advisor).
    3. Tactic - Expand the Committee Chairs meeting to include opportunities for Councilors interested in developing leadership skills and/or interested in leadership opportunities to join a portion of the meeting for additional skill development and to be included in conversations with Council leadership.

  3. SMART Objective: Communicate effectively as an organization regarding the Alumni Association’s annual business and initiatives of the Board that will in turn strengthen our visibility, with a goal of a 20% annual open rate average on emails from the Alumni Council.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Conduct an annual climate survey with current and past board members to assess board culture, enhance our inclusionary culture and show year-over-year improvements.
    2. Tactic - Incorporate educational opportunities into business meetings. Revisit past diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) trainings and create new strategies. 
    3. Tactic - Adopt a pledge that alumni can sign as a public commitment to DEIB. 
    4. Tactic - Continue to refine the nominations process for inclusive outreach and ensure the Council represents the alumni body.  
      
  4. SMART Objective: Intentionally incorporate inclusionary practices and a culture of belonging in internal operations of the Council measured by volunteer feedback that shows year over year improvement.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Conduct an annual climate survey with current and past board members to assess board culture, enhance our inclusionary culture and show year-over-year improvements.
    2. Tactic - Incorporate educational opportunities into business meetings. Revisit past diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) trainings and create new strategies. 
    3. Tactic - Adopt a pledge that alumni can sign as a public commitment to DEIB. 
    4. Tactic - Continue to refine the nominations process for inclusive outreach and ensure the Council represents the alumni body. 


Focus Area 3: Alumni Giving Participation

Incorporate a grassroots approach to encourage alumni to make annual gifts to campus, supporting the overall goal of a 3.25% undergraduate alumni giving rate, which in return elevates the campus rankings and reputation.

  1. SMART Objective: Implement an annual fundraising plan for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund with the goal of raising $100,000 from 1,000 donors annually, including $30,000 from 300 donors on Giving Day.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Create a fundraising calendar by October 1st each year including solicitation and stewardship events for the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund.
    2. Tactic - Develop a large campaign around Giving Day including raising funds for a matching gift, encouraging 100% Council participation, developing a plan to win a challenge fund, creating a unified team spirit throughout the day, all with gratitude for and meaningful stewardship of our donors.
    3. Tactic - Reinstitute a philanthropic event during Alumni Week to raise money for the scholarship fund and celebrate it’s impact (i.e. Wine & Beer Fest at Alumni Weekend). 

  2. SMART Objective: Create a financial model to ensure the long term stability of the Special Projects Fund by December 31, 2022, ensuring we continue to distribute a minimum of $2,500 in support each year.

    Tactics:
    1. Tactic - Work with our financial controller to create financial processes to ensure permanent funding and transparent accounting.
    2. Tactic - Develop fundraising initiatives to grow the funds, including a giving circle to raise funds from Councilors and their personal networks.
    3. Tactic - Continue to distribute Special Project funds, gather final reports from the recipients, and create stories showing the impact of giving to this initiative.


 If you are interested in volunteering to serve on one of the Alumni Council committees, please email Shayna Kent at skent1@ucsc.edu.