Goals of the Regional Alumni Club:
Alumni clubs are geographically-based groups of University of Louisville alumni, supporters and friends; these groups exist to promote the university through communications, community relations, student recruitment, fellowship and networking. This handbook is a reference for club leaders on how to organize and run a successful alumni club.
To Start a Club/ Initiate a Network:
Please note: there must be at least 500 alumni within a 100 mile radius. (Minimum number of alumni and geographic radius would NOT apply to international clubs) Using the university’s database the Alumni Association can inform you of other alumni in your area. Based on the number, an organization strategy will be discussed. Release Form
The organizer will be asked to contact other alumni to develop an initial leadership base. A group of 3-5 volunteers who are interested in organizing the club should be identified. The Associate Director for Alumni will work with the group and assist in the organization of the club.
Request a list of alumni in your area. Alumni clubs are entitled to an annual listing of alumni in the area. Lists are available in electronic, hard copy and/or label format. Contact Gerry Caldwell via e-mail at Gerry@louisville.edu
Conduct an interest survey. Whether the club is organizing or branching out with new programs, it is important to know something about the alumni in the area. Periodic surveys are suggested. Consider questions about possible programs, volunteer interests, and talents. Limit the survey to five questions and encourage additional comments. Surveys can be conducted at meetings, through a mailing, via the listserv or using on-line services like Survey Monkey.
Recruit members. There are many creative ways to market the group.
- Hold a kick-off event and distribute membership applications.
- Create a member-pricing level for events. Add examples
- Ask current members to participate in a membership-recruitment contest.
Recruit volunteers? Relationships are extremely important in recruiting and retaining volunteers. Get to know the members and personally ask them to become volunteers. Find out what contribution a volunteer wishes to make and match their skills and interests to tasks. Create opportunities for volunteers to make meaningful contributions to the University or supporting a local worthwhile cause.
- Clearly define volunteer leadership roles and projects.
- Involve as many individuals as possible; encourage collaboration.
- Volunteers bring different opinions be flexible and willing to try something new.
- Acknowledge volunteer contributions through awards recognition and a simple ‘thank you’.
- Be knowledgeable of “time and ability”.
- Delegate tasks.
- Set attainable goals each year.
- Celebrate with the membership once goals have been accomplished.
- Assign a facilitator to make sure business meetings follow an agenda. Try to keep meetings to an hour.
Organize my board? Appoint at least 3 members to your board. One must be president/primary contact for the group and one must be treasurer.
- Try to diversify your officers in regards to age, gender and interests.
- Be clear with board members in regards to time commitment.
- Develop board/officer descriptions to help match board members with positions that highlight their skills.
- Be sure to have a succession plan in place.
- Provide the association on an annual basis with an updated list of officers and a club roster?
Get chartered? In order to receive a charter your group must:
- Have a full board of officers (minimum of three: President , Secretary, and Treasurer)
- Submit a constitution to the UofLAA Board of Directors for approval
Become self-supporting? Each alumni group needs to be financially self-sufficient. The club may choose to charge local membership dues to cover the group’s operational expenses. Consider adding a small per-person charge or handling fee to each event to raise operational funds. Add a donation line to all event materials to assist with scholarship fundraising.
Establish a bank account? Each group should establish its own checking account. To do this, a volunteer must complete a form called an SS-4, or an application for an Employer Identification Number. The SS-4 is most conveniently available through the IRS’s Web site or from the hotline (800) 829-3676. Once the form is completed, you can mail or fax it to the IRS.
Scholarship funds should be maintained separately from operating funds. Donations to a 501(c)(4) are generally not tax deductible but donations to the club or society’s scholarship fund are tax deductible if those accounts are maintained through the development office at UofL. Donors should designate the scholarship name or fund number on the memo line.
Prepare a budget for each significant event or activity to keep track of funds used and any profits made from each individual event.
Utilize www.nonprofitbasics.org, a Web site offering advice on efficiently running your non-profit group. The site contains information on maintaining financial stability for your 501(c)(4) organization.
Invest in financial software such as Quicken or Microsoft Money to effectively manage your group’s budget. If these products are new to you, utilize the software’s step-by-step tutorials.
Your group should take time to shop around for a bank that suits your needs. Consider banking fees, minimum balances, interest, overdraft protection, convenience, and the bank's reputation when making your decision. Be sure to find an FDIC-insured institution.
Learn more about our 501 (c) tax-exempt status?
501(c)(4-8) tax status permits certain tax exemptions for the alumni club. These exemptions may not include exemption from your state’s sales tax. 501(c)(7) is the preferred status by the Alumni Association and allows alumni clubs to keep fund-raising centralized outside the university.
What is tax exempt? The IRS basically defines a tax exempt entity as non-profit (IRS Publication 557).
As a 501(c) what are we exempt from? Paying taxes on earned income such as interest and dividends.
What is a EIN? It is a federal Employer Identification Number, issued by the IRS and used by the IRS to identify and keep track of business financial transactions.
Does the club need an EIN? Yes, the club needs and EIN or it will have to use the Social Security number of the club treasurer. The clubs EIN number is used to open the clubs bank account. Clubs are not permitted to use the University’s EIN.
Where and how can I get an EIN? www.irs.gov or you can apply via phone. The number is (800) 829-4933.
What if I still have questions? Contact Jonathan Israel
You may have to seek legal or tax specialist advice for very technical issues or rules that vary state to state.
Work with corporate sponsors?
Corporate partnerships can provide benefit for all parties involved. They give the group an opportunity to build identity with the added benefit of additional resources. Strategic business alliances have assisted clubs in funding newsletters, Web sites, and events. Sponsorship commitments should be made with careful consideration, however, using the guidelines provided below. Clubs should forward all sponsorship agreements to Jonathan Israel or Carolee Allen before signing.
Tips for the Treasurer !
Only serve 2-3 years consecutively
- Two signatures on each account (2 accounts max)
- President and Treasurer have access to club banking documents (and on-line access)
- Provide treasurer’s report and club bank statements to all members of the Executive Board
- Two or more people count monies at all events (before leaving); documents confirming deposits presented at next meeting
Send a mailing to alumni in my area?
The Alumni Association offers low cost production, print, and mail services to make it easy to contact your alumni.
Postcards: Clubs can request a postcard and save money by planning ahead to take advantage of reduced postage rates. Bulk mailings can take up to six to eight weeks and the mailing must be at least 200 pieces.
Start a Web site? Start your own! Someone in the area can help!
While we do not have the staff or resources available to help our groups design and maintain a Web site, the Association offers free Web “page” hosting on our site. This service includes the following:
free domain name in the form:
- free hosting space on our server up to 500MB
Use social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn to connect with alumni and students and to advertise events at no cost to you.
Create a listserv? We can provide you with tools to easily create and maintain e-mail listserves via our system's web interface. For information contact Tom Dennis.
Use of the UofL Alumni Association logo? As constituent groups of the Alumni Association, clubs and societies may use the UofL AA logo in its official and unaltered form and in conjunction with the name of the club or society for official business – from signs announcing events, to stationery, to a logo for a T-shirt or coffee mug. Prior to producing any item, whether for sale or other distribution, you must get written permission from the Alumni Association for the specific use. Permission must be obtained for each new item – you cannot transfer approval for one item to another. If the item consists of a series, such as a newsletter, the permission will remain valid for that item in the form approved. Please forward your requests for approval to Jonathan Israel.
Use of the UofL AA logo is prohibited on or in connection with the promotion of tobacco products, gaming items, alcoholic beverages, undergarments, or personal hygiene products. The Alumni Association, as the owner of its logo, reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of any proposed use. Please remember that any use of the university or athletic logo is not permitted without permission from Pete Cautilli. Please inform Jonathan Israel before requesting the use.
Create a logo for my club? Many groups want to alter the Alumni Association logo to suit their individual identities. As a general rule, you may add elements as long as the logo itself is not altered or obscured (i.e. placing elements on top of the Alumni Association logo, changing the color). Before hiring a designer, submit your design idea to Jonathan Israel. Use of your club logo is prohibited on or in connection with promotion of tobacco products, gaming items, alcoholic beverages, undergarments, or personal hygiene products.
Creating an event?
12 TO 16 WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
Determine what the club wants to accomplish with the event and then select a format that fits.
Set a budget.
Find a facility and caterer.
Consider a save the date e-mail.
10 TO 12 WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
Confirm any special guests.
Confirm the date and times for your facility.
Make assignments for the responsibilities on your event checklist.
Set dates for pre-event volunteer meetings.
SEVEN TO EIGHT WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
Follow-up with volunteers.
Confirm facility arrangements.
Contact local media for publicity.
THREE WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
Check the RSVP list. Make calls to regular attendees and members who have not registered.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE EVENT
Purchase gifts, awards or certificates.
Finish your printed programs.
Confirm audio-visual needs with the facility.
Plan the evening’s agenda; include an alumni representative if applicable.
WITHIN ONE WEEK BEFORE EVENT
Confirm the attendance count and all arrangements with the facility.
Confirm all assignments on the checklist.
SHORTLY AFTER EVENT
Set a follow-up and evaluation meeting shortly after the event.
Best Practices: “Cards without Cages”: The Following are Regional Alumni Club criteria used to gain points.
Volunteer Training – a current member of your board must attend ALW, Welcome Weekend or any other Alumni Outreach (such as an officer roundtable). This does not include student recruitment training.
Hold one general alumni event per year – This could include your annual membership meeting, a game watch, scholarship banquet, a golf outing and the list goes on. The event needs to be planned by the club or society.
Submit Updated Officer Roster annually – At minimum, each year you need to submit your officer roster which should include address, email and phone. Any time there is a change in officers; updated information should be immediately reported to the Associate Director for Alumni Relations.
Submit membership list annually – If your club or society is a dues-based organization, then you need to submit your membership list on an annual basis. This can be done at the conclusion of your membership drive.
Submit financial/group filing paperwork – Each Club will submit the Financial Questionnaire. These forms are sent to your treasurers and are usually due at the end of June or beginning of July.
All Officers and Board Members must be PAID members of the Regional Alumni Club – All elected officers and members on your roster must be a dues-paid member of the club. Non-graduates of UofL can join any club.
Submit attendance numbers following all events – This is about basic reporting. Please inform the Associate Director of Alumni Relations of all the events and planned activities you have in advance. Then at the conclusion of the event, let us know how many attended; details of the event and photos if any were taken. This helps us report to our Board of Directors throughout the year how Clubs are contributing to the overall success of the association’s strategic plan.
Have a current constitution on file with the alumni association – To be eligible for the award, your club or society must be a recognized chartered alumni group or network.. An electronic copy of your constitution needs to be on file with us.
Hold elections as outlined in your constitution (as appropriate) – Elections must take place each year as outlined in your constitution. Results should then be shared with the Associate Director of Alumni Relations.
Hold an annual business meeting where members are invited – Once a year, the official business of your club or society needs to be held. Members should be invited to this event. In most cases, you will hold this meeting in conjunction with your annual event.
Send one communication piece to all members – This can be in the form of a newsletter, an email blast, listserv notice, college magazine or e-newsletter must be sent to your alumni or members once a year.
Hold a targeted alumni event – A targeted alumni event can be geared towards a certain audience, such as young alumni, just for women, just for men, family friendly or it can be an event for Networking.
Hold an event with a diversity component – “We are strengthened by nurturing and embracing individual differences.” With this in mind, a diversity program would focus on gender, racial and ethnic differences, and sexual orientation. This can be in the form of a speaker, by attending an existing event in your area or participation/attendance in cultural fair or festival
Hold a group outing to attend a non-revenue UofL sporting event (home or away) or host a UofL Athletic team during an away game. - A group outing would consist of 20 or more alumni and guests attending any UofL athletic event except Football and Men’s Basketball. The event can be in Louisville or when UofL travels to your area. You can host any UofL athletic team traveling to your area for a pre-game meal, post tailgate or welcome reception; working with the team coaches and athletics compliance. If you wish to host a team, please contact your Associate Dir
ector for Alumni Relations.
Hold a game-watch party - Establish a viewing party for any UofL televised athletic event. With the Big East network, you have the opportunity to try something new besides football.
Produce a newsletter/magazine that adequately summarizes your alumni activities – A newsletter (print/electronic) or a magazine that summarizes your events, meetings and activities; highlights alumni; has contact information and promotes the association, your club/society and the university.
Recognition of alumni through an awards program - A club should annually recognize alumni for their contributions (i.e. volunteer of the year or categories) The program could mirror the alumni association’s with categories such as contribution to the University of Louisville, career achievement, community service or meritorious service.
Nominate an alumnus for an Alumni Association Service Award – From June 1-August 31 your club or society can nominate an alumnus for one of 24 service awards given away annually at the Alumni Leadership Workshop.
STUDENT LOYALTY – “We will cultivate student loyalty to the alumni world by visibly contributing to their campus experiences.
Participate in Student Recruitment (Junior Night, College Fair, Postcard Campaign or Phone Recruitment) – Represent the University of Louisville at a college fair, host a junior night or send postcards working with University Admissions and the Office of the Alumni Association.
Sponsor or participate in a student retention event – This event is to connect current students with alumni. A few examples could be a lecture series, care packages at finals, pizza party, joint tailgate, career panels, or a combined outing to a sporting event. The key is networking for students with alumni.
Hold a student send-off event, a welcome to campus event or a graduating senior event – This can range from a reception to a picnic. The key factor is to generate awareness of your alumni club with the students.
Raise scholarship money on an annual basis (accounted during the fiscal year) – Through whatever means (raffles, golf outings, 50/50 at a game watch), clubs and societies are encourage to raise money for scholarships for incoming and current students.
Student mentorship program or internship program (or tap into existing program) - Implement a program that connects students to alumni through a mentor program. You can also have an internship program where alumni can post internships for current UofL students either at the club or society level.
Have an endowed scholarship in the name of your club or society - The goal of each club and society is to have a fully funded endowed scholarship in the name of your group or an endowed named scholarship that the club or society is responsible for managing and awarding annually.
Include a student on your board (if applicable) – Have a current enrolled student serve on your board that actively participates in events and attends meetings on a regular basis. This serves as a good two-way communication for events and activities between students and the alumni board.
Club Scholarship Award information sent on time to all parties - For those clubs who participate in the scholarship program, all documents must be submitted on time and in the correct format to the Director of Operations, Patsy Wynne.
Have a recent graduate of 5 years or less serve on your board. – To continue to recruit new alumni and get a fresh perspective of alumni needs, we encourage you to seek out younger alumni to serve on your board.
VIRTUAL ORGANIZATION – "We will develop a virtual alumni organization accessible to alumni all the time."
Have updated a web site that is easy to navigate and adheres to all logo policies – Updated web site would mean all information and postings are current and information is easy to find. Only approved alumni association logos can be used on your site.
Produce an electronic newsletter – To save money on print and postage costs, clubs and societies are encouraged to send their newsletter electronically or to post on your website at minimum of once a year.
Include club photos on your web site – Photos of your events, members and programs do a great job of telling the story and can inspire others to get connected. Having a photo gallery or photo album of past events should be included on your web site.
Create a feedback email address or form on your web site – This is designed to allow your members the opportunity to offer your club feedback regarding a variety of topics and allows them to ask general questions when they are not sure who to contact in your group. The email address or link should be on the front page of your web site.
Conduct Registration and payment for your events on-line – Utilizing resources such as the Alumni Association on–line system or PayPal, allow your members to complete on-line registrations for all of your events.
Creative Technology - have an updated Facebook or LinkedIN page or use Evite or other interactive tools to invite your members to events.
Link to UofL AA web site on the front page of your web site – Each club/society with a web site needs to have the alumni association home page link on their home page.
Include a contact e-mail or phone number on the front page of your web site – different from the “Talk to Us” concept, well identified on the front page of your web site should be an email address, phone number or contact list of officers so alumni can easily find you.
INFLUENCING PUBLIC OPINION – "We will give alumni the tools to influence public opinion about UofL around the world."
Host a community service project or participate in a local community service project – having alumni involved in your local community helps to spread the good work of The University of Louisville. You can host a clothing drive, food drive, form a team for a variety of fundraising walks and race’s, clean a beach, adopt-a-highway. These are just a few examples.
Share content from The UofL Magazine with your members – either take articles from The UofL Magazine and place in your own newsletter or forward The UofL Magazine to your members, not just forwarding to your officers. The emphasis is to let your members know what is happening on campus and at the Alumni Association.
Send a media release regarding your events – having UofL in local news here in Louisville or in your local community helps in getting the word out about UofL. Be sure to include pictures when you can, for example of your fundraisers, scholarship events, game-watches or other activities.