Alumni relations is an important part of maintaining a college or university's funding stream and reputation in the community. More than just throwing parties and schmoozing with graduates, alumni relations officers may also assist former students with job-seeking and career development. The most important part of the job, however, is building and maintaining personal relationships with alumni donors.
Alumni relations personnel spend a lot of time writing letters, making phone calls, planning events, and keeping records of their activities. They also promote and maintain participation membership in alumni associations. Furthermore, they serve as liaisons between graduates and current university officials. Alumni development officers work with recent graduates to build life-long relationships and connect them with established members of the alumni community. Alum relations coordinators or directors will have supervisory responsibilities, and may solicit wealthy donors personally.
An alumni relations officer works in an office, usually on campus. A 40-hour workweek is typical with much of the office work done during business hours, but expect to spend plenty of evenings and weekends attending conferences and events. Some out-of-town travel may be required, but most meetings will take place either at the school or nearby.
A bachelor's degree is the bare minimum here, and someone with a master's degree wouldn't be overqualified. Prospective applicants should have exemplary communication and social skills. Experience in fundraising or marketing is helpful for soliciting donations, while familiarity with activity planning and public relations helps to keep potential donors involved. Although it may not say so in the job listing, it helps if the school at which you will be working is also your alma mater.
Depending on the responsibilities, salaries for this sort of work vary greatly. At the University of Washington, for example, a development and fund-raising events coordinator has an annual compensation scale ranging form $34,500 to $46,200. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook lists the median salary for all public relations specialists and fund-raising managers at roughly $50,000 a year, but for those employed by universities, the median was $95,950. In 2012, the Director of Alumni Relations at Arkansas State University received $91,800, while the vice chancellor for advancement in the alumni office at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville was paid $175,000. Jobs relating to community outreach are expected to grow by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020.
- Duke University Job Description: Development/Alum Rel Officer, DUAA
- Duke University Job Description: Dir, Alumni Relations, Law Sch
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Public Relations Managers and Specialists
- University of Washington: Compensation, a Division of Himan Reaources
- Arkansas Online: Right 2 Know, Public College and University Salaries
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