University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Chapter Guidelines and Structures
Setting up a UWM Alumni Chapter is an incredible way to make a lasting and positive impact on your alumni base, UWM students, the University, and your community.It requires commitment, organization, and enthusiasm.The key to having a successful chapter is gathering a strong group of leaders who have a genuine desire to see a chapter run and thrive long term. One person cannot and should not do it alone. Listed below are the six elements needed to become a formally recognized UWM Alumni Chapter and be eligible to apply for UWMAA funding.
1) CONSIDER YOUR BASE – The Alumni Association can help you identify the number of alumni that would make up your target population. To get a chapter started, a group needs a target population of more than 350 alumni in the regional area or 350 individuals identified within a college or interest group base.

2) BUILD YOUR FOUNDATION – Utilize the UWMAA Communication Tools to identify and reach out to alumni to help you lead the group.Gather and submit to the UWMAA staff a list of at least ten alumni interested in serving as leaders or active members of the chapter.Select leadership to initially provide direction for the chapter as it gets started.

3) SELECT THE BEST STRUCTURE – Review and select a UWMAA-approved chapter structure and sign a Chapter Annual Agreement.Follow and regularly review your adherence to the structure and agreement.

4) DISCOVER YOUR MISSION – Create a mission and vision statement in alignment with the Alumni Association and University.

5) GET STRATEGIC – Develop a strategic plan and annual goals that support the university, UWMAA, and your chapter mission. UWMAA staff will provide guidance, support, and feedback in this process.Use the Chapter Scorecard (.pdf / .docx) to guide and track your progress.Complete and share your Chapter Scorecard with the UWMAA engagement officer twice a year (in June and January) to report what you have accomplished and plan for the future.

6) SHARE YOUR SUCCESS – Communicate all events details to the UWMAA staff in a timely manner prior to the event and share attendee and follow up information after the event. Utilize the Event Planning Guidelines and Resources in the Chapter Toolkit to help you in the event planning and reporting process.
Depending on the alumni base in a geographic region, number of active volunteers within an alumni population, and type of group, alumni can determine which of the following two structures, Committee-Based Structure or Traditional Board Structure, will be most effective for their chapter.

COMMITTEE-BASED STRUCTURE: Often successful for newly forming chapters, regional groups, or chapters with a smaller initial alumni/friends base.
  • This structure focuses on recruiting individuals to serve on event-based committees, building a base of volunteers who assist with specific events and programs.
  • Groups utilizing this structure recognize that making the commitment to serve on a traditional board of directors with regularly scheduled meetings may be too large a time commitment for members.
  • It is important that a club using this structure have a President and Vice President to ensure leadership succession and a seamless transition from one year to the next.  These leaders serve a two-year term and act as connectors between the committees the chapter creates.
  • Review committees to consider forming and their designated roles below. 
 
COMMITTEE-BASED STRUCTURE: ROLES AND COMMITTEES

President
-Oversees the operation of the chapter
-Works with current volunteers
-Promotes and nurtures new leadership
-Serves as liaison between chapter volunteers and the UWMAA staff

Vice President
-Assists the president and the chapter to foster continuity and ensure a smooth transition to new club leadership
-Facilitates communication between committees and members

Committee Members (Alumni may serve on more than one committee)
-Recruit volunteers to plan and facilitate events (e.g., scholarship fundraising activities, student engagement events, service projects, social gatherings, etc.)
-Participate in meetings in-person or via conference calls
-Work closely with UWM to ensure a system is in place to engage new volunteers on a regular basis

Events Committee
-Leads the committee that develops the annual calendar of activities for the chapter
-Works with UWMAA staff to produce promotional materials and to advertise scheduled events
-Helps coordinate and facilitate plans for chapter events, campus and student engagement opportunities, and service projects

Scholarship Committee
-Plans and coordinates efforts to contribute to the existing UWMAA Student Scholarship Fund

Ambassador Committee
-Leads the chapter’s admissions efforts
-Works with Ambassador Program staff to schedule calls, plan events, and update the chapter on the number of area students interested in UWM
-Works with Ambassador Program staff to ensure presence of alumni volunteers at college fairs, summer send-offs, and other recruitment events

Community Service Committee
-Coordinates service projects in support of non-profit organizations
-Organizes chapter’s involvement with UWM Hunger Cleanup Program, Rak-a-thon, and other annual campus community service opportunities

TRADITIONAL BOARD STRUCTURE: 
Most appropriate for well-established groups with a large alumni network located in a single geographic area.
  • A chapter using a traditional board structure must have a President, Vice President, a Secretary-Treasurer, an Event Chair, and an Admissions Ambassador Program Liaison. These roles are particularly significant for ensuring strong leadership, well-received events, and successful fundraising.  Review role descriptions below.
  • Leaders will serve a two-year term and must be elected in a formal process by a majority of the board members.  The UWMAA can assist chapters in election processes and must approve the final election outcomes.
  • Chapters can create and abide by bylaws. Review the UWMAA bylaw structure to utilize as a model in creating individual chapter bylaws.  Bylaws are not required.

TRADITIONAL BOARD STRUCTURE: ROLES

President
-Oversees the operation of the chapter
-Works with current volunteers
-Promotes and nurtures new leadership
-Serves as liaison between chapter volunteers and the UWMAA team

Vice President
-Assists the president and the chapter to foster continuity and ensure a smooth transition to new club leadership
-Facilitates communication between committees and members

Secretary-Treasurer
-Takes minutes at meetings
-Assists the event chair with preparing promotional materials
-Assists the past president with chapter finances

Event Chair
-Leads the committee that develops the annual calendar of activities for the chapter
-Works with UWMAA staff to produce promotional materials and to advertise scheduled events
-Helps coordinate and facilitate plans for chapter events, campus and student engagement opportunities, and service projects

Ambassador Program Liaison
-Leads the chapter’s admissions efforts
-Works with Ambassador Program staff to schedule calls, plan events, and update the chapter on the number of area students interested in UWM
-Works with Ambassador Program staff to ensure presence of alumni volunteers at college fairs, summer send-offs, and other recruitment events

Community Service Chair
-Coordinates service projects in support of non-profit organizations
-Organizes chapter’s involvement with UWM Hunger Cleanup Program, Rak-a-thon, and other annual campus community service opportunities

General Club Volunteer
Commitment can be monthly, yearly or one-time basis
-Assists the chapter with coordinating and promoting events and admissions efforts
-Attends chapter events and various other chapter activities