Interested in being on your city’s Chapter Leadership Team? Fill out a Volunteer Interest Form, and you will be contacted by the Office of Alumni Engagement!

What is an SMU Chapter?

For alumni, parents and friends across the globe, SMU Chapters provide activities that inspire engagement, involvement and support for SMU, and generate connections that expand your SMU network.

Responsibilities of Chapter Leadership Teams

  • Plan, promote, and participate in Chapter and University events
  • Regularly communicate with the Chapter President and Alumni Engagement Office
  • Participate in two Chapter Leadership Team brainstorming and planning sessions per year
  • Participate in and/or support other SMU Alumni Volunteer programs, including SMU Admissions Volunteers and SMU Career Volunteers
  • Support SMU with an annual gift to a fund of your choice. Participation is key! It’s not what you give, but that you give that matters most!

Goals of Chapters

Events

  • Increase event attendance by 5% annually
  • Plan a minimum of two to four fun and relevant events
  • Promote events in collaboration with the Office of Alumni Engagement and SMU E-Marketing as well as via Social Media and peer-to-peer initiatives
  • Create a strong, successful, and involved Leadership Team
  • Maintain a budget
    • The Office of Alumni Engagement provides a small budget which can be used in several ways, including down payments for venues, prepaid tickets for group events, catering, etc.
    • Cost-recovery is an option to help pay for events. Chapters are encouraged to charge a small amount for some events to ensure attendance. *Chapters are not allowed to “earn money” for their budget or for the University.
    • All contracts must be approved and signed by SMU.

Volunteers

SMU has two programs that need alumni volunteers from across the country. We need the Chapter Leadership Team to help us recruit volunteers via social media and promotion of the opportunities at each event.

SMU Admission Volunteers

SMU Admission Volunteers is SMU’s student recruitment program. Alumni serve as the best representatives of the SMU experience to prospective students and parents. Share your experiences and encourage future Mustangs in your city to apply to and attend SMU. Help us increase our personal touch

SMU Career Volunteers

In partnership with the Hegi Family Career Development Center, we have launched SMU Career Volunteers to connect SMU alumni and students. This program offers students a glimpse into the world post-graduation. Alumni volunteers help prepare students for their future careers and lives by providing the opportunity to work with alumni in a variety of capacities. Volunteer opportunities include mentorships, our “Ask an Alum” database, and one-day externships during winter break.

Giving

Universities measure their success by the impact they make on the lives of their graduates. When alumni are moved by their experience, they are inclined to show support by making an annual gift. Counting annual gifts is how a school quantifies the support of its alumni. An annual gift of any size indicates an alum’s vote of confidence and symbolizes inspired gratitude for his or her experience at the school. U.S. News & World Report uses a school’s annual giving rate as a large part of the formula that determines the school’s ranking. The larger the percentage of annual donors, the higher the ranking. And as SMU’s ranking increases, so does the value of an SMU degree.

SMU competes for top students and faculty in order to create a degree with a competitive and appreciating value. SMU’s financial health determines its ability to fulfill its mission. Tuition and fees cover about two-thirds of the cost of an SMU education. Gifts from alumni, both annual gifts and gifts to the endowment, along with other revenues, make up the difference.

Invest

  • Make a gift to any area of the University by the end of the fiscal year.

Promote

  • Post/Repost Social Media status during giving challenges
  • Examples: Fry the Frogs Young Alumni Giving Challenge in September; End of the year Horse Power Challenge in May
  • Lend your name, via your Chapter Leadership Title, to emails going out to peers in your city
  • There is no need to fundraise through events – it is not a responsibility of the Chapter to bring in funds

Chapter Event Planning & Marketing Process

The Office of Alumni Engagement will work with the Leadership Team to schedule the fiscal year’s events during the summer. Alumni Engagement will work with Chapters to market events in the following ways:

Emails & Invites

  • Event details must be submitted six weeks before the event
  • Email invitations will be sent three to four weeks in advance of the event with a reminder one week prior
  • All emails will be sent from Alumni Engagement using the Chapter’s email alias
  • SMU assumes responsibility for alumni email lists
  • SMU will set up an online registration site for RSVPs
  • Every month, all alumni, parents, and friends receive an email newsletter called SMU Update. We will list major events in this newsletter.

The SMU Website

Social Media Channels

  • Each Chapter will have its own official Facebook page created by SMU and maintained by Alumni Engagement and the Leadership Team

Using Contact Information

SMU has a unique relationship with its alumn. We honor and respect the privacy that alumni have come to expect from their alma mater. We are very careful in sharing personal information with non-employees. In order to respect this privacy, email addresses will only be disseminated to Chapter Leaders after a waiver for confidentiality/security purposes is completed. Any information received is not available for non-SMU purposes of any kind, including commercial solicitations or the expression of personal, political, social or economic views. This policy applies to all alumni and University personnel.

Chapter Event Ideas

Professional Networking

  • Breakfast Series
  • Careers and Cocktails
  • Wine/beer tastings

Social

  • Happy hours
  • Sporting events
  • Holiday parties

Spirit

  • Game-watching parties
  • SMU tailgates for local games

Volunteer

  • Stampede of Service

Family-friendly

  • Cultural outings
  • Concerts
  • Picnics

Chapter Event Ideas

Professional Networking

  • Breakfast Series
  • Careers and Cocktails
  • Wine/beer tastings

Social

  • Happy hours
  • Sporting events
  • Holiday parties

Spirit

  • Game-watching parties
  • SMU tailgates for local games

Volunteer

  • Stampede of Service

Family-friendly

  • Cultural outings
  • Concerts
  • Picnics

Chapter Event Planning Tips

Determine what type of event you would like to plan

  • Know your audience. Which group of alumni are you targeting (young alumni, alumni with children, professionals, older alumni)?
  • Research what is going on where you live. Is there a new exhibit opening in town? A fun show at a new theater? Local sporting event? SMU game on national television? A local fair? A community service project?
  • What time of year is it? Are people likely to be very busy with work and personal commitments?

Engage in cost-recovery planning

  • Select venues that will allow your guests to pay on their own (Tip: Many bars have free food during Happy Hour. Your guests can buy their own drinks but enjoy complimentary treats.)
  • Charge a fee for your attendees to recover any costs incurred
  • Go potluck style – ask guests to bring appetizers, desserts, or picnic food
  • Find an alumna/alumnus willing to host an event at his/her home

Be cognizant of your calendar

  • Evenly space your events throughout the fall and spring semesters
  • Offering too many or too few events in one season can impact attendance for the entire year

Day of the Event

  • Arrive 20-30 minutes early to secure location and set up
  • Be sure to tell the host/hostess of the venue who you are with and where you will be seated, so alumni attending will be directed correctly
  • Display SMU swag so guests can find you
  • Have blank name tags for everyone to fill out
  • Display the Sign-In Sheet for the event
  • Wear your nametag and personally greet attendees
  • Take pictures! We’d love to feature your Chapter on our websites and the SMU Magazine.
  • Post pictures on social media and encourage people to tag themselves.

Post-Event

  • Scan or take a picture of the sign-in sheet and send to Alumni Engagement. It is imperative that we do our best to have everyone sign in so we can accurately report our attendance numbers to the Alumni Board. Renewal of Chapter funding depends on this!

Sample Social Media Posts