7.1 TRACKING AND REPORTING ON ALL YOUR ACTIVITIES ON A DAILY BASIS
Many types of reports are created during the execution phase of a Strategic Plan in order to track progress.
Status reports have a few key objectives, including:
- Making communication across the organization seamless.
- Simplifying the communication process.
- Keeping stakeholders in-the-know as the project moves forward
- Delivering the right information, to the right stakeholders, at the right time.
- Enhancing organizational support for everyone involved.
Monitoring, tracking and reporting are a highly-collaborative process. Without monitoring and tracking the progress, the reporting is not accurate. Therefore, teams must collaborate when creating reports, so communications are clear. This collaboration and communication are facilitated by the right management tools.
7.1.1 The Six Elements of a Report
As the execution phase progresses, it’s important to report on progress so the schedule doesn’t go astray. Comprehensive reports include six elements:
22.214.171.124 Basic Information
Start with the basics. What is the project’s name? Who will be managing the project? What are the available resources? Effective tracking requires detailed information.
126.96.36.199 Status Information
Report dates are the most important status information, and should always be front-and-center. Also, data separating status reports from other reports crossing stakeholders’ desks should be visible to grab attention.
188.8.131.52 Milestone Review
Milestones are major touchpoints for your project. They serve as a guidepost for remaining work, and the timeline for it to get done. Conducting a milestone review lets stakeholders see actual progress versus what was estimated in the project proposal.
The summary includes a projected completion date, as well as resources and costs expended. Inclusion of issues causing delays is an important summary component. There should be a clear explanation of how these issues could affect budget and timeline, and work being done to ensure things are corrected to get back on track.
184.108.40.206 Issues and Risks
This section is straightforward. List issues and risks you have encountered. Note how these are being resolved. Finally, outline how resolutions are positively impacting project execution.
220.127.116.11 Project Metrics
Back up statements with hard numbers and data points. Project planning details should have outlined these metrics. Show how data illustrates the success of your project to date, or, highlight needs for immediate improvement.
7.1.2 Project Reporting Best Practices
There are some project reporting best practices to consider:
- Communication is the cornerstone: Status reports are a key element of your communications plan. Writing reports in a way that delivers the right information to the right people, at the right time, should be the overarching goal.
- Be consistent: Find a format and distribution method that works for your stakeholders, and stick with it. They’ll appreciate the predictability of the information they receive.
- Set targets and measure against them: Establishing metrics is an important part of project reporting and monitoring. Accordingly, these metrics should be how you project progress is measured against goals throughout its life-cycle.
- Keep things simple: Keep reports simple to ensure effectiveness. Don’t pull in details unrelated to the issue on which you’re reporting.
Throughout any project, it’s important to evaluate reporting to avoid scope creep. As project teams start to work, and silos of activity develop, it’s vital to keep everyone aligned. This ensures project scope doesn’t creep.
18.104.22.168 Monitoring Scope Creep
There are five ways to avoid scope creep:
- Document all project requirements: As explained above.
- Establish change control processes: If scope creep happens, it’s important to have change control processes in place to bring things back on track.
- Create a clear project schedule: A thorough project schedule outlines project goals. It outlines tasks to be done to reach those goals. This schedule is referenced against the project plan’s requirements document to make sure everything is moving forward. If not, the schedule sets the course for tweaks or changes.
- Verify scope with stakeholders: It’s worthwhile during a project’s lifecycle to review scope with all stakeholders. Reviewing the schedule together, and making sure all tasks stakeholders are expecting to be done on a given timeline is also a good idea.
Engage the project team: Make sure your project team is happy with how things are going throughout the project. Weekly 1:1 meetings or team meetings to review tasks, and also overall project progress is a great way to keep your team engaged.
7.2 COMMON TOOLS AND TEMPLATES
Some of the common tools and templates you will require for administrative purposes include
- Functional and updated database.
- Offer services.
- Communication with alumni via forms;
- Membership Registration Forms
- Event Registration Forms
- Feedback Forms
- Payment Forms
- Evaluation Forms
- Contact Forms
- Survey Templates
- Questionnaire Templates
7.3 MANUALS AND GUIDELINES
Your association will need to put in place various manuals and guidelines to guide various areas of your association such as Operations Manual, Elections Guidelines, Fundraising Manuals and others.
These guidelines will assist you to create confidence and consistency in your administrative activities and make it easy to onboard new members, staff and volunteers
Below is a sample Operations Manual for an Alumni association
7.4 MANAGING CORRESPONDENCE, FORUMS AND DISCUSSIONS
7.4.1 Ways to manage correspondence processes;
- Implement an alumni management system which correspondence function such as AlumniPad.
- Bring order and keep track of important contacts.
- Ensure access to institution-approved correspondence templates; select, approve and distribute a set of correspondence templates that align with the organization’s processes and policies. Achieving such consistency will significantly improve the communication processes both within the organization and with others.
- Safeguard your correspondence. Ensuring that your correspondence between clients is safe and secured should be one of the highest priorities for every organization.
How to manage forums and discussions;
Social media forums such as WhatsApp, if not well managed, can derail the mission of your association. It is important that you put in place measures to manage and shape the discourse on such forums in order for you to stay the course of your mission. Some of the ways you can regulate and manage the forums include
- Build a moderation team.
- Establish forum rules and encourage quality posts.
- Keep out the spam.
- Stay active and involved in the community.
- Monitor forum traffic.
7.5 MEETING ALUMNI DEMANDS AND GROWING YOUR CAPACITY
It is vital to meet alumni needs based on alumni set expectations. This correspondingly leads to the growth of your organization’s capacity. Here are ways to grow your alumni association’s capacity.
It is important that there is open communication between the alumni and the organization’s leadership. If you are leading the alumni association, recommend regular scheduled meetings to foster a deep relationship.
Before launching a meaningful alumnus giving program be sure to sense the idea with a diverse group people. This will ensure you get good feedback on feasibility and you will learn more about how people wish to be engaged, what they want to do.
Engaging All Ages:
Offer opportunities for engagement such as serving as a mentor, hosting events, or volunteering in local events.
7.6 USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO RUN YOUR ASSOCIATION
Here are a few examples:
These services make it easier for alumni to stay in touch with each other, while providing the organization with an effortless way to send solicitations for money.
7.6.2 Social media
When it comes to connecting through social media, there are many options for associations than just a Facebook or LinkedIn page. Organizations can create a Facebook or a LinkedIn Group for all their alumni or segment them by graduation year, academic areas, or extracurricular activities. These groups can be moderated by alumni, the alumni office, or both.
7.6.3 Alumni portals
They allow alumni to search directories for classmate contact information, register for events, and access career resources.
These portals sometimes offer a private social networking platform that can operate just like a LinkedIn group. The alumni portals can be useful in meeting certain critical objectives of your association and programs such as mentorship and career opportunities.
7.7 MAXIMIZING VALUE FROM ALUMNI MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
7.7.1 Manage your Corporate Alumni Network with Software
As your network grows, your ability to track and analyze data becomes difficult. Content calendars become overwhelming with the variety of content that is required to engage your various alumni populations. Communication plans start to become cast aside to focus on only the biggest upcoming events. Overall, the program begins to collapse from the pressure of trying to constantly engage everyone in your network.
This is the time that software becomes crucial for alumni network growth. Software enables you to:
- Streamline Administrative Tasks with tools to validate incoming alumni and ensure accurate data.
- Administer Content Calendar through the content library.
- Execute Communication Plans using the automated message manager.
- Manage Upcoming Alumni Events with the event planner to further engage your alumni.
7.7.2 Importance of Alumni Management Platform
Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook do a great job at maintaining up to date information, However, you still need an alumni management platform in order to draw real value from your alumni. Some of the reasons you need an Alumni Management platform include
- Alumni are a truly valuable asset, don’t lose their data and the control over your relationship with them!
- Alumni are a formidable asset for your organization, they are:
- Potential recruiters for your new graduates.
- Brand ambassadors for your organization.
- A significant source of revenue through donations and memberships.
- A large pool of expertise across different industries and roles.
- A precious help for the organization of your alumni events.
- Reinforce alumni engagement by leveraging your institution’s brand. Reaching high levels of engagement in your alumni community requires trust and a high sense of pride and belonging. Providing your alumni with a branded online platform rather than interacting with them solely through non-branded and generic platform/s, will increase the emotional link and therefore the level of engagement you can achieve. A branded platform will be perceived as bringing more value and foster a sense of belonging as the platform is exclusive to your alumni.
- Centralize your alumni management tools to extract more value from your actions. An alumni management platform allows you to centralize the tools you need to engage and grow your community: Such tools include
- Event management
- Email marketing
- Social network integration
- Job board
- Membership management
- Insightful Statistics
- Create a map of your network and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. Likewise, if you are creating an event for a 5-year reunion you will want to make sure the information doesn’t get lost in a feed.
- A dedicated alumni platform will mean that the communication is delivered to the right people, in the right locations, at the right time. Your ability to target your communications so that they hit their exact target audience makes for much more powerful communications and increased community engagement.
- Generate a pool of opportunities for your alumni. You need to make sure your platform allows your alumni to easily extract the information they are looking for and that it creates opportunities for them. These could be:
- Opportunities to network with other alumni.
- Easily meet up anywhere in the world with their former classmates.
- Get information about alumni events.
- Career and investment opportunities.
- Access to research from the school or other benefits.
- Opportunities to give back financially or by offering some of their time.
- Save money and stay up to date with alumni relations best practices by using a specialist
The two initial requirements to start an alumni association are:
- The enthusiasm and willingness of several individuals who are willing to take on the organizational initiative and sustain it.
- The interest of a reasonable nucleus of alumni and friends of the organization to participate in the association’s activities.
Who Should Take on the Leadership Role of an Alumni Association?
In addition to being an alumnus/ae of the organization (or an employee), the leader of an alumni association should also have the following characteristics:
- Willingness to work with the institution.
- Willingness to contribute time.
Ability to motivate and engage alumni.