Each year the University of Nevada, Reno holds a Golden Reunion for those alums celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation. It’s held every year during commencement week so the Golden Alums can participate in all the events leading up to and including commencement. Our Alumni Relations department does an excellent job of hosting many fun events and activities for the alums during their week back on campus.
The development team uses this opportunity to meet alums who might otherwise be difficult to get a meeting with. This opens the door to future phone calls, e-mails, and meeting requests because now you’ve already met them, introduced yourself, and had a chance to begin getting to know them.
Alums that you already know introduce you to their friends from college. Now you’ve made a new connection! And, as part of the conversation, you learned a story about when they attended the university and fun times they had while they were students. Not only are you building relationships, you get valuable – and often interesting, historic information – that builds your knowledge about the university.
Another great development opportunity was putting together “gift packets” for our Golden Alums. This year we had 5 alums who received their degrees from the College of Science, and 4 who received their degrees from the Mackay School. We always have small giveaway items available, such as pens, key chains, glasses, mugs, etc. This year we put together some of our nicest giveaway items into gift packets and presented these to our alums at the Commencement Dinner.
Here’s the key: we included a personalized, hand-written note in each packet. Each note welcomed them back to campus and let them know how proud we are to have them as OUR alums! We often don’t hear any feedback, but this year I received a card from one alum. She thanked me for the hand-written note and told me how grateful she was that we took the time to make her feel special.
Knowing I made a difference in her life – even for just a moment – makes my heart happy!
That’s what development is all about!
Photo Credit: Golden Reunion