The University of Glasgow’s SAVE (Sustainable Alumni Volunteer Engagement) Project has focussed on putting into place an alumni volunteering management infrastructure using existing systems that is both sustainable and engaging.
The initial perception in the institution was that alumni volunteering opportunities weren’t adequately defined or managed. For example,
- there was no consistent link between students and alumni
- the process of volunteer engagement needed to be clearer and easier to follow
- expressions of interest in volunteering weren’t recorded in a way that could be queried or reported.
The SAVE project has helped improve the institution’s level of service by:
- extending the range of alumni volunteering activities; for example by encouraging alumni to create online Alumni Profiles describing their time at the University, as well as asking them to act as eMentors to current students via LinkedIn
- building clearer, formalised procedures for managing volunteering and establishing a coherent management structure to ensure sustainability
- improving co-operation and co-ordination between University services; for example as a result of student feedback, the Careers Service now markets itself more efficiently to students.
The profile of alumni volunteering has been raised as a result of the SAVE project and many lessons have been learnt, such as:
- the service design approach should be adopted from the beginning to ensure that any service improvements are user-centred
- an alumni community should be grown gradually by identifying small target groups to ensure sustainability and build meaningful relationships
- it’s important to manage expectations regarding alumni volunteering, i.e. not all alumni will be suitable for every opportunity; however all enthusiastic alumni should be encouraged.
If you would like to find out more about this project, the following resources may help: