How to Start a High School Alumni Association

by Laurie Brenner

As time passes, it can get harder to track down graduated students for reunions or special school-associated events. A high school alumni association will help support individual graduating class events by keeping an updated list of all school graduates. Before you can arrange special events and ask for donations or dues, you need an association committed to planning and hosting alumni events.

Reach out to high school graduate classmates with whom you are still in contact to form an interest group. Once you've arranged a meeting with this group, have each member of the group communicate with classmates with whom they're still in contact about possibly joining the group.

Meet with school representatives to let them know you are starting a high-school alumni association. Determine whether this is an overall school association for all graduating classes or an individual graduating class association. Ask for a list of graduating students' names and addresses from the school files. This will give you a starting place to help begin creating a list of graduates and starting a database.

Let each member of the interest group take several names from the graduate list to update alumni contact information. Have each interest group person track down the members of the class by contacting other classmates they still know or communicate with on social media websites or by searching online for them. Update the alumni list with current email addresses, street address information or both.

Write a letter to alumni graduates that explains the plans to create an alumni association. Ask them to provide updated contact information. Ask those interested in participating in the alumni association to contact members of the interest group.

Establish an agenda for the first-ever meeting of the alumni association. The agenda should include plans for developing the organizational structure of the association such as bylaws, mission statement, plan of action, goals, association officer nominations and elections, and funding structures, if any.

Convene a meeting of those interested in participating on the leadership council or association board. Decide when to hold officer nominations and elections and on the voting mechanism. Organize a committee to be responsible for developing the organization's bylaws and another group to come up with ideas for funding activities such as volunteer donations, annual dues or sponsorships.

Hold officer elections and formalize the organization's bylaws.

Ask for individual volunteers to participate on separate committees to handle association communications, fund-raising activities, dues collections, if established, and reunion events.

Schedule dates for committee meetings, and coordinate upcoming board meetings to include committee updates. For example, plan the next leadership or board meeting date, time and place, and include on the agenda a committee presentation on the proposed association dues structure and suggested fund-raising activities for review and approval.

About the Author

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.

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