Yes, a thousand times yes!! I must confess to you that I had been working with college students for about 15 years when it occurred to me that I needed to do more to connect with alumni. They still wanted that relationship and so did I. I found myself trying to think of ways to help and encourage alumni. Over the last 25 years (yes, I have been a collegiate minister for 42+ years). I have seen the impact that alumni have on our ministry and there have been some things that I never anticipated that have made our ministry stronger. The Lord has used this ministry to help us grow.
First and most obvious is that we receive major financial support from our alumni. We have alumni that give recurring gifts every month. We have special one-time gifts for support, for missions and just for general assistance. This has grown significantly over the years and we do so much more in our ministry because of these gifts. One other sideline to note is that we don’t cash their check until we write them a thank you note. We feel that it is important to write them a professional letter acknowledging their gift and we put a handwritten note in with the professional letter.
Second, we have an online Facebook group only for alumni. We post things every week online thanking alumni for their support and just giving them an update on some things that are happening in our BCM. Usually, we have a response from alumni on this page. This keeps alumni updated and helps generate interest in the things that are happening. We post a guide for praying for different parts of our campus at the start of school.
Third, we have an alumni printed newsletter that goes out twice a year. We purposely do this in June and in December. This is because things slow down a little more during this time. We print news about alumni in the newsletter –who’s having babies, new homes, jobs, etc. We ask alumni to send in their news to us and it is printed. It is the first thing that alumni read when they get the newsletter. We also include current news about BCM, along with a self-addressed envelope if they would like to give a gift to support our ministry. We usually will have some returned with gifts especially at Christmas time.
Lastly, something that I didn’t anticipate is alumni sending their children to our university because of the strong connection with our BCM. The school loves the fact that they are getting students to attend, because they want their children involved in our BCM. This year we have 9 students whose mother or father or both were involved in BCM during their students.
I know that our priority needs to be students, but don’t forget that you can grow your BCM stronger and the Lord can use BCM in a mighty way. In fact, we now have BCM alumni working on our campus in strategic places. Don’t neglect your alumni. It’s worth the time and work!! Trust me!!