1. LET’S DIVE IN
2. WE ARE SOCIUS
3. VALUE OF ALUMNI NETWORKS
4. OUR SERVICES
5. HOW WE OPERATE
6. CASE STUDY
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
ANTOINE DE SAINT-EXUPÉRY (1900-1944)
4. 1. LET’S DIVE IN
World-class alumni programmes comprise many facets, and
no two organisations are exactly the same. Components of
an alumni operation build on each other and we achieve
results as we systematically build out your programme.
Perhaps you already have staff or volunteers working to
engage alumni - fantastic. Maybe you can identify with the
scenario of alumni relations being an added responsibility of
a long-serving, personable staff member who “knows
everyone”. Or possibly, similar to many schools, you know
your alumni are valuable, but your capacity is stretched,
resources are limited and there is no one competent putting
up their hand to take charge.
Our starting point is always to understand your context -
what is currently happening; what has happened in the past
and who is or has been involved. With this as a backdrop we
look towards the future - what goals do you have in mind;
what could you achieve and what will it take to get there. We
exist to build your alumni community, the following pages will
give you insight into our expertise and passions.
We appreciate and acknowledge the good research compiled
by Future First Global, Open Society Foundations and the
Global Citizen Foundation to give us informative alumni
statistics (see a link to the full report on our last page).
5. 2. WE ARE SOCIUS
Socius Consulting was founded in Cape Town, South Africa in
2012 to offer professional services in alumni relations and
related activities. Socius has always had strong ties to the UK
and in 2015 expanded operations to London.
We have worked with universities, schools, residences and
sports clubs. Through experience, research and real-world
problem-solving we are well placed to plan, implement and
support excellent alumni strategies, systems and processes.
Our vision is to build engaged alumni communities where
meaningful relationships develop to the benefit of all
involved. To achieve this we partner with leaders who display
a passion and commitment to their community.
MAURICE TURNOR GARDNER
FORMER CEO OF COCA COLA
ANTHONY RECORD M.B.E.
CHAIRMAN WCR GROUP
FOUNDER WELSH ICE
6. 3. VALUE OF ALUMNI
Thriving alumni networks support and nurture excellence.
Alumni who feel appreciated and engaged contribute
significant value; these are some of the more common ways
we find alumni positively impact their alma mater:
Alumni Open Doors For You
Source of Funding
Sales and Marketing
Mentors and Internships
Knowledge of the Past
Support in a Crisis
Alumni Care for Heritage
Socius partners with schools and organisations to build
engaged, vibrant, outstanding alumni communities.
7. Our value lies inknowing when, whyand how tomake sure you
are achieving excellence inthe following areas.
4. OUR SERVICES
8. 4.1 NEEDS ANALYSIS
Our first order of business is to understand your context,
strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Through questions
and conversations we quickly gain a sound grasp of your
We firmly believe in not taking anything for granted - our
assessment process is intended to help you and us have
clarity on your immediate, medium-term and long-term
needs, wants and wishes.
Carrying out this thorough assessment empowers you and
us to make informed decisions.
MOST DESIRED FORMS OF ALUMNI SUPPORT
Talk on Careers
Offer Work Experience
(5 = most desired)
9. 4.2 DATABASE
A house built on poor foundations always has problems and
at some point collapses. High quality alumni data is the
bedrock that successful alumni programmes are built on.
Attractive, visible components of an alumni programme (for
example, sell out events or oversubscribed fundraising
campaigns) are borne out of hard work poured into building a
high quality database. We ensure this important aspect is
prioritised and successful.
Think: Customer Relationship Management software,
digitising archives, consolidating source documents, research
associates, incentivised referrals, intelligent segmentation
and meaningful reports.
Globally, research shows that only
20% of schools keep records of their
alumni; and only 10% have
10. 4.3 COMMUNICATIONS
“I wish I had been there, but I didn’t know about it.”
This statement can be one of the more painful, frustrating
phrases to hear as a reunion or event organiser. So much
effort goes into creating a fantastic event and it hurts to know
that poor communication and marketing mean many of your
intended audience are oblivious to your activities.
Excellent, two-way communication develops meaningful
relationships. We look at how best to listen to and to talk to
the different segments of your alumni community.
Using multiple channels we intentionally trigger positive
conversations between your alumni about you, refreshing
memories and planting seeds of goodwill.
MECHANISMS WE USE:
2.Monitoring and Evaluation
3.High quality email send outs
Your most valuable asset and opportunity are your
passionate alumni. No doubt from time to time they will let
you down or drive you round the bend, but overall they are
uniquely placed to bring energy, skills, networks and
resources into your alumni programme.
Volunteer alumni can make a world of difference to your
school, but leaving them to their own devices is foolish - they
need support, good structures, direction and encouragement.
We ensure your alumni volunteers operate with purpose.
Through authentic and ongoing recognition and appreciation
we raise enthusiasm, sustain motivation levels and ensure
longevity to a volunteer’s contribution. As a third party to
management and volunteer alumni we can facilitate sensitive
conversations and bring expert advice in areas where
Integrated Communication Strategy
Annual Mail Only
AVERAGE SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT WITH ALUMNI
Someone has to project manage all the good ideas, follow up
on delegated tasks and keep track of the big picture - you
can do it if you want, but we are very good at it.
As we progress through a project there will invariably be
developments which affect what needs to be done. Managing
changes and everyday details without losing sight of the end
goal is something we are great at.
Milestones agreed at the start of the project make sure there
are tangible ways to evaluate our joint progress and success.
Alumni networks are usually led by teachers rather than the
institution itself. Therefore, these networks rely on personal
relationships, but when the teacher leaves the institution,
these networks breakdown.
COMMON MANAGEMENT PITFALL
13. 4.6 EVENT MANAGEMENT
Reunions and events are important moments for your alumni
community to experience higher levels of affinity and nostalgia.
They offer an opportunity for old friends to reconnect and for
new networking to take place.
However, organising events can be overwhelming, assuring
attendance stressful and mistakes costly.
We ensure that your events avoid common pitfalls and
contribute to successful planning and event management. We
make it easier to organise an excellent occasion.
FOUR STEPS TO EVENT SUCCESS
Excellent Guest Speaker
Sell Tables, Not Seats
Communicate In Advance
Detailed Project Plan
Financial giving from alumni can unlock dreams or bring
financial stability in a time of need. We understand that
money is important and that alumni can be a source of much
-desired or critically-needed additional income for you.
Our view is that in a world of many good causes, it is wise
(and prudent) not to assume your alumni will, or even want
to, support you financially - no matter how compelling your
Our desire is to see well-thought through fundraising
campaigns, presented professionally and respectfully to
alumni. Alumni should feel valued rather than hounded.
WE ADD VALUE THROUGH:
1. Ideation and Concept Development
- What is the best way to raise funds for this cause?
2. Campaign Structure
- How will it be conducted and organised?
3. Resource Development
- Writing speeches and arranging marketing material.
Securing stakeholder buy-in matters in most environments
and the realm of alumni development is no different.
The best plans and programmes can come unstuck when
people feel left out of the process, ignored, manipulated or
We make sure that participation and opinions are invited and
skilfully managed. Ownership of a vision and plan by all
stakeholders sets you up for success.
Through facilitated sessions and thoughtful communication
we achieve higher levels of consensus and support.
Only 4% of adults have registered to be
part of their former school’s alumni
network, although over 50% would be
interested in doing so.
4.9 MENTORSHIPS AND
Percentage of young people in school
who indicated that it would be useful to
receive support from their alumni
One of the hallmarks of thriving alumni communities is that
volunteerism increases. One of the more rewarding and
beneficial areas that this can be channelled into is
mentorships and internships.
For students these are gateways into the working world,
For alumni these are meaningful ways to contribute, and
require minimal effort. The possibility of recruiting talent
always exists and adds real value to the process for everyone.
We set up structures, facilitate connections and then handover
the reins for you to reap the rewards.
17. People say “it’s not what you know that counts, it’s who you
know”. Well, we actually think it is a combination of both; but
that said, any alumni operation worth its salt should be
enabling alumni networking. Networks have real value to
everyone; help your alumni benefit and they will reward you.
Professional networks are strengthened as old friends
reconnect and new introductions are made. Our job is to
stoke the proverbial fire, creating opportunities for more
connections to be made.
We use events and digital networking tools, such as LinkedIn,
to develop alumni communities that are in touch with each
other. Groups within your community that share interests
typically emerge and develop a life of their own.
1. Retrieve Unique and Up-to-Date Data
2. Career Development Opportunities
3. Connect Alumni and Students
4. Digital Networking Platform
BENEFITS OF LINKEDIN
PLANNING AND VISION
Having a clear vision, setting strategic goals and writing out a
“how-to” plan is a precursor to any successful venture. After
all, if you do not know where you are going, how do you ever
expect to get there, right?
We collaborate with your management team and important
stakeholders to cast a vision, set goals and develop a plan
that balances ambition with pragmatism.
Typically this process is most successful when it is carried
out over an extended period of time, giving many people a
chance to contribute to the process and buy-in to your vision.
93% of Head Teachers say that support
in building and maximising alumni
communities would be useful at their
Have you ever listened in to a brainstorming session
organised by passionate alumni volunteer eager to make a
difference? Ideas are a dime a dozen; all kinds of ideas, plans
and causes start filling the airwaves - some are great, others
are terrible. The passion is infectious.
Engaged alumni communities led by passionate volunteers
offer limitless scope for ideas and “product development”.
Whether you are thinking of a ‘Members Club’, a ‘Rewards
Programme’, or even a ‘Memorabilia Store’, we value new
ideas and pride ourselves on delivering innovative solutions.
The chances are we will have encountered an idea before
and be able to contribute valuable wisdom or know-how. If
you can dream it up, there is a pretty good chance that we
can make it happen.
“Some men look at the way things are and ask why?
I dream of things that are not and ask why not?”
- ROBERT KENNEDY (1925-1968)
20. We would like to think that you will keep us around forever,
however we care too much about seeing our efforts bear fruit
to leave you dependant on us.
For this reason we offer workshops and one-on-one training
for your staff and volunteers. Our goal is to make sure that
the progress we have achieved continues sustainably with or
without us. Training ensures you have staff or volunteers with
the skills and understanding to implement your strategy.
Training is usually provided in the areas of database and
communications management, fundraising principles, event
management and volunteer motivation and management.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.”
- JOHANN VON GOETHE (1749-1832)
5. HOW WE OPERATE
We think honest, straight-forward conversations are a great
way to start any relationship. If you like us and we like you
then we are off to a good start and can get more serious
about what we can achieve together—sometimes that only
takes a couple of minutes.
As we come to understand your needs we will develop a
project scope detailing how best we can add value to you.
One size does not fit all for alumni relations, so you will always
receive a bespoke proposal tailored to your needs.
We will give you an understanding of your likely Return on
Investment (ROI) and proposed project milestones over our
agreed contract period. We appreciate that our clients want to
understand and control costs wherever possible. Developing
alumni communities is a long-term project so to be practical
about fees and budget periods we complete work in phases
and will propose a fee structure to suit the phase.
Unsurprisingly, having fun is important to us and a critical
drawcard for your alumni volunteers. We like to think we bring
the best of British-South African humour to everything we do.
ARE YOU READY TO TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR
FUTURE ALUMNI COMMUNITY?
22. 6. CASE STUDY
University of Cape Town Rugby Football Club is one of the
oldest rugby clubs in the world, founded in 1882. Estimates
suggested there could be over two thousand alumni who
played for the club between 1950 and 2014, but no one knew
for sure; alumni engagement was low.
1. Establish a database of past players and supporters
2. Reconnect past players with each other and the club
3. Construct a volunteer-led strategy for the future
Outcomes | 12 Month Project
Data and communication efforts generated tremendous
results; a structured supporters club was launched; volunteers
spanning sixty years of club history were activated to
champion their respective peer groups; and events were
organised to galvanise club alumni in the UK and South Africa.
UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN RUGBY CLUB