Theme #5 Report

Theme #5 Report

Theme #5: We will strengthen alumni/ae involvement with our community.

The FSILG Strategic Planning team for Theme 5 aimed at strengthening the communities’ relationships with alumni in a variety of capacities. The group collaborated with multiple internal and external partners of MIT including the Annual Fund, Alumni Association, FSILG Office, AILG, and students.

Theme #5 Initiatives:

  • Initiative #5.1:  Develop new models for encouraging engagement between alumni/ae and their FSILG
  • Initiative #5.2:  Foster undergraduate mentoring programs
  • Initiative #5.3:  Expand alumni/ae communications
  • Initiative #5.4:  Further develop fundraising infrastructure and support
  • Initiative #5.5:  Continue to improve on excellence of alumni/ae community-wide programs

What has been accomplished: A good deal of listening was incorporated into the Theme 5 process. The student voice was present in 4 visioning sessions primarily during the initial planning stages. Alumni were well represented in several environmental scans as well. And an extended session – part of the September 11, 2013 AILG plenary – was held to better understand the alumni viewpoints.

Fundraising was a major emphasis for examination and review. Theme 5 emphasized major capital campaigns rather than annual fundraising efforts. There is significant deferred maintenance in FSILG facilities both in Cambridge and Boston. The capstone of this effort was a fundraising/planning seminar held on Feb. 26, 2014, “How to make your FSILG Capital Campaign a success, using your own and MIT resources wisely”. It was attended by over 45 FSILG members and was very well received.

Prior to this, staff from the Annual Fund and Alumni Association met with students and Theme 5 team members to refine the FSILG Best Practices Toolkit. Additionally, the team partnered with key constituencies to create awareness of Alumni Association services available to FSILG chapters. A final action was to plan for a May (end of the academic year) email to FSILG seniors to be distributed annually for continued new alumni engagement and furthering the connection to MIT and the FSILGs.

What was dropped: Developing new alumni communication vehicles to contact alumni was postponed. Theme 5 members studied different ways to format the biannual communications that are distributed to all 20,000 FSILG alumni from the Alumni Association. A general pattern along the lines of new Parent Association newsletter was deemed most appropriate. Typically, each communication has 4-5 items, each with a picture, a few introductory sentences, and a link to more text or a web site. However, no current communications are planned.

Additionally, the integration of the AILG website with that of the Alumni Association was not begun. This was primarily due to technical issues with the new Alumni Association website and lack of bandwidth with the Theme 5 team. Also, under Initiative #5: continue to improve on excellence of alumni/ae community wide programs the group did no major work to explain the signature AILG programs (e.g. Accreditation; Safety, Licensing, and Inspection; FSILG Cooperative; Information Technology; and Chapter Alumni Risk Management Advisor (CARMA) programs) to undergraduates, alumni and MIT staff.

What work is continuing on: Communication and information technology (IT) improvements were essential priority parts of the planning framework that need further work. Positioning the FSILG community to participate in new technology initiatives in coordination with the Annual Fund and Alumni Association was also deemed imperative. The integration of FSILG chapters with services such as crowd source funding and the use of mobile devices for capital campaigns are key parts of establishing efficient internal and external communication for the chapters in years ahead. Subsequently, Theme 5 members worked with the Alumni Association IT professionals to better support the needs of the FSILG community. The new tools coming online will allow current and future students to actively engage alumni for both mentoring and fundraising. Also, the team worked with the Annual Fund on promoting the Individual Residence Development Fund.

Finally, Theme 5 members will continue with the updating the FSILG Volunteer Toolkit and adding options to the Institute Career Assistance Network (ICAN) for mentoring students. As a result, this change will allow easier FSILG students easier outreach to their alumni.

What emerging needs were identified: Recommendations for future action include furthering the relationship between students and alumni through career networking. It is also apparent that there is strong, continuing interest in aiding and abetting the FSILG fundraising, both through traditional and new methods.