How to set up a BTG Alumni Group
Guidelines and Tips for Setting up an Alumni Group
You may be thinking about setting up an Alumni Group for former BTG beneficiaries.
The following guidelines identify a number of issues that you will need to consider when establishing your Group.
- Define the geographical boundaries of your group by country or region.
- It is useful to send a letter outlining the idea, and a questionnaire to find out the level of interest among alumni. Ask the alumni in your region for their ideas and comments and get in touch with those interested in helping organize a group. BTG will help you find and contact other alumni in your area.
- How do you intend to establish appropriate "leadership" for your Group? The group can be as formal or informal as you like. If it is informal you may just need an Alumni Group Coordinator and meet up occasionally for dinner and drinks and keep in email contact. In countries where we have many alumni it may be a good idea to set up an Alumni Group Management Committee (including e.g. president, secretary and events-coordinator) and to involve enough volunteers on the committee so the tasks can be allocated to different members who share the workload (more about the Organizational Structure of Alumni Groups).
- Regardless of the level of formality, each Group will need to appoint an Alumni Contact Person to act as the main contact with BTG to ensure effective communication and support. Ideally, each country/region should have a second contact person to ensure continuity in case the first person (temporarily) moves.
- What kind of people do you need? Alumni Group Coordinators and members of the Management Committee need to have a keen interest in BTG past, present and future, good interpersonal and communication skills, enthusiasm for meeting new people, be self-motivated, and have access to email and internet. Other useful skills and experience include: leadership and (project) management, editing and publishing (including electronic publishing), web site design, event organization, and public relations.
- Decide on a "term of office" for members of the Management Committee (including yourself). Many alumni who volunteer their time for an Alumni Group are busy professionals with a range of other commitments and interests as well. Limiting terms of office also provides an opportunity to refresh the Committee with new ideas and perspectives through regular changes in its membership.
- Think about what type of activities you are hoping to organize. Successful Alumni Groups base their program on a mixture of activities. Allow the opportunity for as many people as possible to contribute. Key activities of an Alumni Group include:
- organising a minimum of one or two events per year to which all alumni in the region are invited;
- acting as a contact point for BTG in their country or region;
- providing a link for recent graduates returning home;
- offering informal advice to alumni moving into their area;
- offering informal advice and information to prospective EM participants and students;
- answering their queries about the EM Mobility, the participation and selection process, admission procedures and additional tips and tricks besides financial aspects of the grants and curriculum and career opportunities;
- contributing to the BTG Alumni Newsletter at least once a year;
- occasionally doing some promotional activities;
- acting as a local contact point. offering advice to members of staff and faculty about where to stay or hold meetings when visiting their area on recruitment or other trips;
- offering advice and assisting with new student recruiting
- Decide on a "Alumni Group" launch event. Pick a location and date and work out a plan of what you want the event to achieve. The launch event is an excellent opportunity to meet alumni and talk to them about possible ideas for future activities and events. It also provides a good opportunity to identify additional potential volunteers for committee membership. Remember that it is extremely important to be as inclusive as possible at this early stage.
- The Alumni Groups are not allowed to charge membership fees but, of course, alumni may be asked to pay for their own expenses when participating in an event (e.g. dinner and drinks).
- Keep the BTG Alumni informed about the latest developments and activities organized by your Alumni Group. The Alumni Association website provides an ideal forum for telling alumni in other parts of the world about your activities. We would be delighted to include a short feature on your event on our website together with any good photos you may have taken on the occasion.