Alumni Boards: Strengthen Your Strategy and Grow Engagement 

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Registrant Access Only

This training will not be available asynchronously.

Alumni Boards: Strengthen Your Strategy and Grow Engagement 

This event has ended.

Obtain practical strategies to develop and strengthen engagement of your alumni board.


Alumni boards can assist an institution to achieve strategic priorities, strengthen affinity, and motivate giving. Supporting your board in serving the institution and offering a meaningful volunteer experience starts with having a clear direction regarding your board’s structure, culture, and purpose. 

Join us for this two-day conference, where you will obtain a comprehensive A-to-Z approach on how to design, recruit for, and drive engagement with your alumni boards. You will learn how to increase the effectiveness of your alumni board and its member involvement as our expert instructors share practical tips and advice, to include:  

  • Defining your board’s purpose, roles, and strategy. 
  • Developing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive board structure and culture. 
  • Recruiting and onboarding board members and leaders. 
  • Increasing the effectiveness of your meetings and committees. 
  • Assessing your board’s success. 

You are encouraged to come to the conference with copies of your board’s bylaws, policies, membership rosters and/or other governance documents, which we will use for some of our small group discussions and exercises throughout the conference. Come prepared to discuss current areas of focus and/or specific challenges that you are hoping to address within your board.  

Who should attend?

Alumni relations staff, including leaders, who work directly with alumni boards will benefit from this conference. Additionally, while the content of this program is designed in reference to alumni boards, the material will serve those managing all advisory boards, such as chapter and regional boards, or dean’s advisory boards. Past attendees have found it incredibly advantageous to attend this conference with their colleagues and board members.


Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, breakfast, lunch, and access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.


Day 1: Monday, June 10
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. CT (Local time in Chicago, IL)

Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee) 
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Welcome, Opening Remarks, and Introductions
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. 



Defining Board Purpose and Roles  
9:00 – 10:15 a.m. 
We will kick off this event with a conversation around how alumni boards have evolved and how they should best be utilized. We will review how to translate the board’s purpose into meaningful responsibilities, as well as how your board should work with institutional staff. You will be able to discuss your board’s purpose and roles, as well as any challenges you may experience in defining them.



Morning Break 
10:15 – 10:30 a.m.



Setting Board Strategy 
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
With your board’s purpose set and member responsibilities defined, the next step is to begin developing your strategy. We will address how to cooperatively define long- and short-term strategies that align with those of professional staff, and we’ll discuss how to ensure board buy-in from those strategies. We will then review how to move from strategy to implementation in order to position your board for maximum effectiveness.



Lunch (included in registration fee) 
11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. 



Developing an Intentional Board Culture 
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. 
A healthy board culture is essential in order for a board to effectively execute its strategy and accomplish its goals. We will discuss the role of your executive committee in setting and maintaining board culture. We will also provide examples of effective board cultures, ways to evaluate current culture, the importance of positive leadership, team building and professional development, active engagement, working through conflict, and continuous cultural improvement.



Evaluating Board Governance and Operations
1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Structure should reflect a board’s purpose, roles, responsibilities, and process. Unfortunately, committees, policy, and bylaws are often created on an ad hoc basis and/or not updated regularly. We will discuss how to create or revise your structure to make it reflective of your mission and will also address how to implement your structure most effectively. You will then have time to work in small groups to note key issues within or changes you are considering related to bylaws or other policy.



Afternoon Break
3:00 – 3:15 p.m. 



Identifying, Recruiting, and Developing Your Pipeline of Board Members 
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
Identifying ideal board members from your pool of alumni leaders requires cooperation from all areas within advancement and the board. This session will focus on best practices for selecting and recruiting productive, dedicated board members, including how to convert board members from other volunteer programs. Knowing that succession planning can be tricky to navigate, we will talk through building a leadership pipeline, paying particular attention to board composition. You will also have the opportunity to discuss how to approach diversifying your board representation.



Networking Reception (included in registration fee)  
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. 
This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.



Day 2: Tuesday, June 11
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT (Local time in Chicago, IL)
Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee) 
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Onboarding, Educating, and Training New Members  
8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Bringing new board members up to speed, while integrating them into the existing membership, is essential to managing turnover effectively. We will walk you through how to onboard and educate both your board leadership and new members, and we’ll also provide tips for training them for their roles on the board.



Morning Break 
9:45 – 10:00 a.m. 



Cultivating a Productive Board
10:00 – 11:15 a.m. 
There is nothing more frustrating than a board that fails to accomplish its goals. Here, we will explore how to keep your board productive and engaged. You will be able to work with peers to consider different format/agenda options for board meetings, committee meeting cadence, and how to apply the best options to your meetings to make them more productive. We will also consider how to sustain momentum between full board meetings and how to incorporate technology to maintain communication between meetings.



Leveraging the Board in a Campaign
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. 
What is the role of the alumni board in the context of a comprehensive campaign? We will discuss best practices for leveraging board members to support institutional goals in this environment. We will describe the relationship of the board in achieving the financial and non-financial goals associated with a campaign. You will also be able to engage in dialogue with peers about your current or future campaign priorities and how you might involve your board in the process.



Lunch (included in registration fee) 
12:15 – 1:15 p.m. 



Conducting Board Assessment 
1:15 – 2:30 p.m. 
An effective alumni board must identify clear criteria for measuring success across activity—ideally, at the mission level, the goal level, and individual level. We will consider how to evaluate your alumni board and its members, and how to communicate the impact of your board. We will also discuss strategies for addressing board members who are falling short of the established metrics for success. You will have time to discuss current challenges with board member assessment and accountability in a small-group activity.



Faculty Panel, Final Q&A and Closing Comments 
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Bring Your Board Members with You 

This conference is carefully designed for institutional representatives charged with increasing board effectiveness, as well as for board members. You are highly encouraged to bring teams comprised of both constituents.   

Register 3 or more people at once and save!  

  • Members: $1,667 per registration (3 or more) 
  • Non-members: $1,833 per registration (3 or more) 


Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Address: 2233 S Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, IL 60616

Phone #: 312-567-1234

Room rate: $219/night

Room block dates: June 9-11, 2024

The special rate applies until May 19, 2024. Please use this link to book your room.


This was the most comprehensive and relevant conference I have attended in years. The speakers knowledge and experience provided tangible takeaways when working with alumni boards. Having the opportunity to share challenges and opportunities with colleagues was incredibly helpful and made me realize you are not alone! I would highly recommend this conference to any professional that works with alumni boards!


This conference on Alumni Boards was absolutely fantastic and just what I was looking for to enhance my new position! The speakers provided very detailed and meaningful content, as well as encouraged immersive conversations and idea-sharing with the group. I made several wonderful contacts and came away with ideas to move my Board forward. Thank you!!


Alumni Boards are common at almost every university and independent school yet are severely underutilized. At this conference, you will learn about multiple facets of running an adaptable, efficient, and productive alumni board that also has many takeaways for overall volunteer management.