Established in 2003 to support the needs of camp alumni programs

A Step by Step Approach to Developing
and Maintaining an Alumni Program


DATA ITEMS <==     WISDOM - Words of Wisdom(!)     ==> Back to Overview


The Most Important Decision is Whether to Proceed

  • It takes at least one person who is COMMITTED to make the Alumni Program work, who can delegate responsibilities as necessary, who has access to resources as needed, who has the support of camp staff and volunteers when required.

  • Time is FAR better spent making sure your current resources are up-to-date and accurate (i.e. camper, staff, board rosters, Annual Reports and newsletters) in preparation for the launch of the Alumni Program than to begin the Program unprepared or unsure of the commitment.

  • Once alumni are contacted, they will be exposed to the workings and organization of your camp. If you don't have your act together, alumni may become disillusioned about a camp which had previously evoked so many positive feelings, and you will have done permanent damage.

Don't Get Lazy - "Mailings Lists Are Living Beings"

  • Neglect will not only have a negative impact on alumni feelings (like mailing to families of deceased individuals), but will destroy years of work, and make it that much harder to restart.

  • If your Alumni Program resources are drying up (no staff, no time, no money), communicate this with Alumni in one last newsletter(!) - resources may reappear. Or, if not, go to a 'minimal maintenance' mode (once-a-year postcards, etc.)

Embrace Your Alumni as You Would Your Campers

  • Camp is a philosophy. The 'practice what you preach' needs to extend to alumni, otherwise they'll see hypocrisy. Don't treat alumni as checkbooks. Financial status wasn't a criteria to treat people as campers or staff; the same should apply to alumni. You give a better sense of what your camp is about.

  • Don't promise what you can't deliver. Start small. Be honest. Communicate. Alumni understand how camp works - they've been there! They just don't want to be taken for granted (like being contacted only for money).

  • Have fun! These are camp people after all. Share the common themes - was there as little talent at their 'talent shows' 70 years ago as there is today?

Set a Tone

  • When you get your mail and flip through the return addresses, which ones do you anticipate opening? Which ones do you dread? A successful Alumni Program is one that people want to be a part of and look forward to hearing from.