NMU Alumni Association Strategic Plan 2001-2004


Goal I.             To increase the visibility of the University and the Alumni Association to all alumni.


            Objective 1:

Increase involvement between alumni and Northern      

            Recommended actions:

a.  increase communication with alumni  

-produce a timely and eye-catching Sweepstakes promotional piece each year

-explore opportunities to connect increasing numbers of alumni through electronic mediums, increase number of alumni receiving weekly newsletter

-enhance alumni website, add information daily, develop methods to make more user-friendly and interactive

-create one key marketing message

-continue to create improvements in Horizons magazine

-offer career related programs for alumni

-publish tentative schedule of alumni events one year in advance

b.      plan a focused summer reunion bi-annually  

c.       maintain and add alumni contacts in areas of high alumni concentration  

d.      develop schedule of cities that should have an NMU or Alumni Association presence  


Objective 2:

Recognize achievements of alumni and involve outstanding and prominent alumni in the Alumni Association.

Recommended actions:


Goal II.           To carry out our mission by responding to the University’s student

recruitment needs, development initiatives and other priorities as needed.


            Objective 1:

            Support the University’s enrollment goal

            Recommended actions:

a.       increase the number of alumni volunteers involved in recruitment efforts  

b.      include admitted/prospective students in an alumni or board gatherings when appropriate  

c.       collaborate with the Office of Admissions on strategies and or programs that could involve alumni and prospective students  

d.      involve more students in alumni events  

e.       incorporate recruitment initiatives into Alumni Association communications and marketing whenever possible  


Objective 2:

Integrate and coordinate Alumni Association and Development Fund activities to maximize resources for both areas.

Recommended actions:


Goal III.          To evaluate program effectiveness, implement and promote new programs and improve services and benefits to meet the needs of a diverse alumni population.


            Objective 1:

Maintain and improve participant satisfaction with programs, services and benefits

Recommended actions:

a.       survey alumni to determine satisfaction and acquire feedback on programs & services  


Objective 2:

Develop programs and services that respond to the feedback from alumni

Recommended actions:

a.       collect data from survey and make decisions on what programs to execute  


Objective 3:

Educate all alumni about the programs and services the Alumni Association provides.

            Recommended actions:


Goal IV.          To explore and support opportunities for increased financial stability


            Objective 1:

Ten percent of addressable alumni will become dues-paying members of the Alumni Association by 6/2004


            Recommended actions:

a.       expand and enhance the data on alumni by converting the membership database to BANNER  

b.      prioritize and segment promotions to alumni with the most potential for new members   

c.       target and test two direct mail membership solicitations per year  

d.      continue to use telemarketing for membership recruitment in partnership with the Annual Fund  

e.       explore benefits that attract new members 


Objective 2:

Seek additional resources to increase revenues


Recommended actions:

a.       maximize credit card royalties by renegotiating the contract by 3/2002  

b.      increase endowment growth by continuing to fundraise for private gifts  

c.       develop merchandise program with exclusive Alumni Association items.  

d.      research products with broad appeal and set up on-line purchasing  

e.       seek advertisers to assist in cost of production of Horizons magazine  


Objective 3:

Establish and develop an Alumni Association Endowment Fund.

Recommended actions:


Goal V.           To recruit and involve qualified board members that represent

            the demographics of our alumni.


Objective 1:

Establish guidelines and desired characteristics for Board members

Recommended actions:          


Objective 2:

Create a succession plan and pool of potential Board members.

Recommended actions:      


Snapshot:  Who belongs to the NMU Alumni Association

as of 4/27/2004


Total Members:  3024


Total Addressable Alumni:  40,011


Annual Members       2499

Lifetime members:    525


By affiliation

Alumni                          94%

Non-alumni                  6%


By location

Michigan                      60%

Out of state                  39.6%

International                  .4%


By gender

Male                            52%

Female                         48%


By decade of graduation

Unknown                     5.3%

1920’s                         .2%

1930’s                         .9%

1940’s                         2.3%

1950’s                         5.1%

1960’s                         15.7%

1970’s                         27.5%

1980’s                         21.4%

1990’s                         14.5%

2000’s                         7.1%


By college

Arts & Sciences                                   31%

Business                                               19%

Professional Studies                              28%

Technology & Applied Sciences           5%


First-time members joining the Alumni Association in 2003-2004

Lifetime            11

Annual              74


Development Fund Activities FY 2004




Banner conversion

-         Nearly 100,000 records with 45 tables of data behind each one. 

-         No additional staff were added for the conversion, increased workload and overtime for current staff.

            -     In final test mode, scheduled to go “live” on Monday, May 3


Development Fund Board of Trustees  reorganization

-         Created four new committees of the board (Investment, Finance and Audit; Gift Acquisition and Policy; Committee on Trustees; Strategic Planning)

-         Developed and approved the first operational budget and an overall development fund budget

-         Began process of evaluating and modifying existing policies and guidelines of the Fund

-         Wrote a strategic plan to be approved and adopted at May 14, 2004 meeting

-         Established new format for recruiting and selecting trustees for the Board

-         Reviewing terms limits and criteria for service on the board.



-         Due to budget cuts and reorganization, in the last three years the staff of the Development Fund has gone from 11 individuals to 7.  There is one AdIT staff person who has been assigned to us during the campaign and the Banner conversion. 

-         Two positions are currently vacant: the Gifts Officer position which has been empty since October and was frozen for part of that time, and the Director of Development Fund Operations.  These are the two full-time positions that have direct responsibility for the cultivation and solicitation of gifts.  Goal is to have both positions filled by June.

-         Goal to increase fund raising staff from two to five; possibly implementing standard model of assigning a development officer to each college.



Campaign Wrap-Up and Post Campaign

-         During strong economic times, the rule of thumb is to raise twice post-campaign what was raised pre-campaign.  In the three years leading up to the campaign, yearly totals were 2.2M, 1.9M and 2.1M.  This year without a gifts officer for majority of the year, we raised 2.1 M (includes public broadcasting gifts of 800K)

-         There are a few uncommitted gifts that could increase total to 2.5M by the end of the fiscal year.

-         An end-of campaign report was compiled for historical reference and to serve as a basis for evaluating timing of the next campaign.

-         Strategic plan will guide direction for the next three years.  Goals are based upon the overall purposes of a development operation: acquire funds, steward funds and disburse funds. 

-         An aggressive fund raising effort with quantitative targets will be established by the Development Fund Board of Trustees.

-         Will focus on “project campaigns” for the next three years.  Possible projects may include:

o       Student Leader Fellowship Program endowment                 1M

o       Lee/Carey Hall renovation to Alumni/Visitor center              8M

o       International Experience endowed scholarships                    1M      

o       Washington Center Intern Program endowment                   1M

o       Reynolds Recital Hall seat naming project                            200K

o       Student Recognition Program endowment                           100K

(other projects may be identified during the three year time period.)



When is the next campaign?


A campaign doesn’t always have to be a comprehensive capital campaign.  Some of our peer institutions have chosen not to do comprehensive campaigns, but do an ongoing series of project campaigns.


A successful campaign requires that the following be assembled and managed within a highly structured timeline and framework:

- committed institution and volunteer leadership

- a compelling case for support

- a strategy for identifying major gift prospects

- an appropriately trained staff

- an adequate budget

- infrastructure support


Timing of the quiet phase of the next campaign will be determined through a feasibility study typically done by an outside consultant.  The study recommendation should be initiated jointly by the NMU Development Fund Board of Trustees and the President and approved by the NMU Board of Trustees.