Transitioning Students to Alumni Spanning the transition from graduating student to alum is avital part of the alumni development process. With appropriate development, byfinal year, students must be widely aware that the graduated class or alumniare essential to the institution and that students will accept this same rolein just a matter of time. Conley states that alumni who continue to have astrong connection to the institution may be more likely remain the most engaged(1999). Student relationships with faculty and administration are a foundationfor loyalty to the institution (Rissmeyer, 2010). Moser (1993) asserts that it isimportant to involve current students in the realm of alumni giving. This involvementis beneficial because it helps graduating students to understand their future roleas alumni contributors.
According to Moser, it is a very good way to let notonly senior students but students in general know the necessity and responsibilityof their future role as alumni. Senior year programming that focuses on how theinstitution can benefit alumni in areas like networking and career preparednessand how students can be engaged outside of financial commitment will begindeveloping the mutually beneficial relationship necessary for successful alumnirelations (Jackson, 1994). Alumni who give time or other non-financialcontributions may have a higher propensity for future financial giving to theinstitution (Singer, 2002).
Senior celebrations and senior gift challenges recognizestudents for the contributions to the institution thus far and begin a patternof consistent engagement. Programming during senior year allows for alumniofficers to begin building relationships with young alumni and earlysubscription to alumni communications like newsletters introduces students tothe experience they will have post-graduation (Rissmeyer, 2010). 2.
2.1 Purpose of an alumni association.Alumni are one of the most important assets to any institution.They the backbone to the success of the prevalent representation of the institutionin the real world. According to Arceo, alumni serve as a bridge between theinstitution and their graduates. Strong relationships between the alma mater andalumni positively impact alumni involvement and alumni contributions (Petit,197;Duronio&Loesin,190).
Many alumni networks were initially started fromregional groups of alumni brought together for university fundraisingactivities. Later, these networks slowly gained added importance in thedevelopment of the universities because of their enormous outreach potentialthat benefits the alumni. Alumni were at one time students, and therefore havea deep and strong connection to their alma mater, its success and future sustainability(Singer, 2002). Alumni are the core group of constituents and largest source ofvoluntary support. “In 1994, alumni contributedmore than 58 percent of the total support for higher education, while non-alumnicontributed 23 percent.
Alumni have givenmore philanthropic support than non-alumni every year since 1980, except in 1984.”- (Horton, 1990). Moser (1993) acknowledged Horton claims in the sense thatalumni were responsible for fully one quarter of all private voluntary support ofhigher education. And in a study on the voluntary support of education, the Councilfor Aid to Education reported that the majority of financial contributions camefrom alumni (Morgan,1995). The alumni groups have been in existence for decadesand they are constantly changing with time. In the present landscape oftechnological and social change, important transformations are underway interms of how we live and work. We refer to contemporary times as the”information age” or “knowledge based society”, characterised by the diffusionof information and communications technologies (ICT’s) and the increasingdemand for new educational approaches and pedagogies that foster lifelonglearning (Fischer & Konomi, 2005). There have been very big changes in therecent years with the development of the internet and social networking thatforces the alumni system to undergo huge changes.
Emerging technologies such associal networking software enable new and unique opportunities for thementoring and retention of information technology graduates. Therefore, it isreally important for institutions to focus on the alumni networks and find waysto enhance their growth and development. The activity of a social network can bedescribed as the act of sharing business or social relationships with thepurpose of exploring the needs, interests or common goals. Relationshipnetworks have been facilitated by the development of technology in a way thatpeople can interact with each other, sharing ideas, discussing their personalor professional lives, without the need of traveling. According to Chia et al (2012), data from alumninetworks can be used to enhance mentoring programs, to develop onlinenetworking and above all, they could be key components of maintaining studentsand strengthening university programs. The authors clarify that initially,alumni networks emerged as regional groups to raise funds, however, they gainedimportance for their potential to promote the name of the university, whichbenefits the career of all the alumni as well as current students. In summary,there are myriad number of reasons why there is the need for alumni groups orassociations in our society.
McClintock (2009) adds that alumni associationsneed to go beyond being event planners and acknowledge their role in educatingalumni about institutional direction and goals and the role for alumni in theseendeavours. They are a source of continual involvement by returning to campus andparticipating in events. They are a vital source of financial supporting especiallywhen higher education expenses are costly due to economic and political factorswe sometimes face in the country. Due the established relevance of alumniassociation, there is a need to develop a software that will easily facilitate,maintain and manage alumni groups and their resources to be able to attain themaximum benefit we can derive from the alumni for the institutions’ well-being.
Brant and Regan (2002) state that they are in the connections businessand through these connections they promote the advancement of the institution,but it is often difficult to measure the impact of the work, requiringadditional effort to asses and quantify the points of contact with the alumni.