New Interactive Guide Aims to Activate Alumni NetWORKS
Schusterman Family Foundation launches Alumni Playbook to help community initiators design effective post-programming strategies to engage young Jews
Washington DC, August 24 – The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation has released a new interactive resource for Jewish professionals and community initiators looking to cultivate robust alumni networks and provide constituents with ongoing opportunities for meaningful engagement. The Alumni Playbook offers an online compendium of strategies, best practices and case studies designed to connect with and activate the hundreds of thousands of young Jews who have participated in Jewish experiences and programs.
The Playbook is part of Schusterman’s ongoing efforts to empower established and emerging Jewish organizations to meet the challenge of engaging participants through appealing alumni experiences and community-building strategies. While it emphasizes work being done by Jewish nonprofits, the Playbook contains ideas and models that are applicable to for-purpose, nonprofit and philanthropic efforts beyond the Jewish community.
“Alumni represent a tremendous asset, and we should be devoting as much time, effort and resources to keep them engaged as we do to attract them,” said Sandy Cardin, President of the Schusterman Family Foundation. “When provided with meaningful opportunities for further engagement, many well-connected, action-oriented alumni are eager to help strengthen those organizations with which they are involved by volunteering, serving as goodwill ambassadors and otherwise sharing the institutional values they found so compelling in the first place.”
Built upon the recognition that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to post-programming, the Alumni Playbook offers organizations myriad tools to tailor their alumni strategy to their specific needs and capacity, including:
- A list of best practices to help Jewish organizations build an effective alumni strategy;
- An idea menu with suggestions for high-impact alumni programs;
- A series of case studies that exhibit seven organizations’ vibrant alumni communities;
- A toolkit with additional resources and reading material; and
- A discussion guide to involve stakeholders.
One of the Playbook’s most potent resources is a collection of case studies that share the practical experiences of seven organizations that have developed successful post-programming strategies, including: AVODAH, Birthright Israel Excel, The Bronfman Fellowships, JDC-Entwine, Moishe House, ROI Community and Tevel b’Tzedek.
The Alumni Playbook draws on the successful approach of the higher education sector, which over the years has built powerful networks of alumni supporters. It features the insights and perspectives of experts from Teach For America and Yale University, among others.
“We have learned through experience that fostering a culture of strategic planning – a disciplined approach to sharing values, forging a vision, building teams and communicating effectively – is vital for any organization that wants to keep the best and brightest focused on its mission long after core programs end,” said Mark Dollhopf, Former Executive Director of the Association of Yale Alumni. “It’s not the plan, it’s the planning. As interest in this field continues to grow, the Alumni Playbook is a much-needed resource for professionals tasked with this critical work, whether they are just starting to develop alumni programs or are looking to revitalize their established alumni networks.”
“Our alumni need our support to help keep our community growing and thriving,” Cardin added. “They need ongoing and interesting opportunities to stay connected. They need to feel inspired and motivated. They need to be valued as leaders capable of ensuring a brighter future for us all.”