Participants came from across the country to network and develop strategies to better engage their chapter and constituency group members, as well as develop new chapters and groups.
Katy Pacelli, of the Jackson chapter and MUWAA past-president, opened up the session with a 101. Pacelli explained that chapters are based on geographical regions while constituency groups are based on a shared trait. Examples of constituency groups include formal groups, such as Silhouette Social Club and informal groups such as Black Alumni of MUW and Men of MUW, as well as class years.
Elizabeth Whittington, of the MidSouth chapter, provided innovative tips on how to communicate with your alumni. She recommended that group leaders ask members about what type of information their members want, how they want to receive it and how often. Using data from social media metrics and email open rates can also help determine strategy. She also suggested using more video.
“Feel free to use webinar platforms to introduce your leadership and ask questions,” Whittington said. “And don’t be afraid to use video and live streaming to share your events to participants who can’t be there,” she said.
Ashley Dean, of the Nashville chapter, offered advice on how to develop and host an alumni event. “One of the key pieces is figuring out where to host the event,” she said. “For some reason, having the event at someone’s home brings people to the event like no other location. So, consider that when developing your invite.”
Some ideas for events Dean suggested included a Family Fun Day at a zoo, local sporting events, happy hours, lunches and tailgating and supporting events for W athletic games. “You want to provide a wide variety of locations, types of events and geographic regions to engage different types of members,” she recommended.
Rebecca Rogers, of the MidSouth chapter and MUWAA president-elect, spoke to engaging your alumni groups by building personal relationships with your members.
“Engagement is magic,” said Rogers. “You’ve got to give your members meaning and purpose to be involved, autonomy to choose their experiences, growth in either personal or professional ways through their membership, impact and connection with others.”
MUWAA president Kristi Hipp Mosely told the group after the workshop, “I hope you gained some ideas and strategies today that you can take back to your community, engage those alumni who haven’t been a part of the association in the past and try to get them engaged again.”
If you were unable to attend the Chapters & Constituency Group workshop, presentations are available at http://bit.ly/MUWAACC.
The MUWAA exists to support and promote the mission of The W while providing alumni engagement opportunities. Any former student who has completed at least 12 semester hours at the university and who has made an annual contribution to the MUW Foundation is an active member eligible to vote and hold office for the year.