Posted by Kristina Ennis on Dec 01, 2019
Alumni of Rotary programs are often an untapped resource for clubs and districts. These individuals have experienced the giving power of Rotary, and what the organization can accomplish here and around the world, however, we don’t call on them to share their time, knowledge and experiences as much as we could.
How many Interactors, Rotaractors, Rotary Youth Exchange Students, New Generations Exchange students, RYLA students, Rotary Peace Fellows and Rotary Scholars has your club sponsored? How many are you in contact with? Alumni do not have to be members of your club in order for you to gain from their experience – keeping the connection is what counts.
Research on Alumni engagement shows there are four stages Alumni go through after participating in programming by an organization or institution:
1) Affiliation. Anyone who has completed a Rotary program is affiliated simply by being a part of the programs.
2) Affinity. Alumni should be “in the loop” about your club’s activities, passions and projects so that they can engage if they wish to. Invitations to events, asks to volunteer, present or engage should be sent to all Alumni. They may engage, they may not, but communication keeps the options open, which gives Alumni the opportunity to progress to the next stage.
3) Engagement! This is where the relationship becomes a partnership, and Alumni begin to take up opportunities to volunteer, present, mentor and engage with the club. This may also be the time where the Alumni decide to become Rotarians.
4) Support. The Alumni support the Club, District and Rotary International by donating time, money or expertise. They might organize a RYLA, be a Club Interact liaison, host an exchange student, or mentor a Rotary Scholar alongside other smaller volunteer activities that began during the engagement stage.      
It can be easy to sponsor Rotary Programs, celebrate the results, and then move on, but we are missing so many opportunities each year to gain new members, learn from their experiences, and improve our services and projects. Even if your Alumni have moved away, informing them of your activities helps the organization as a whole. Perhaps their affinity with your club drives them to reach out to a club in their area, and help with projects wherever they find themselves. Rotary can benefit from these relationships internationally.
We are working, at the district level, to help clubs reengage with their Alumni. Social Media groups are in the works, a template to reach out to Alumni is being developed, and the Rotary International Alumni list is on hand.
If you have any questions, we will be glad to help you!