What do alumni expect? People who are already active as registered Scouters or have children who are registered are not the primary target market for alumni programming. They are already involved, and their engagement is focused primarily on their units.
However, they are a secondary focus because we want them to know there is a place for them to stay active after their direct involvement. We also want them to sense support for the front-line work they are doing. Active ALUMNI affiliates can accomplish this task by lending auxiliary volunteer support. This reinforces for them and the community that the work of Scouting matters, and they can continue to be involved in the Scouting program at their own individual comfort level.
Non-active alumni are the primary focus of the Alumni Association. The most important thing is to find, reconnect, rekindle, and re-engage each alumnus with Scouting. Everyone’s level of involvement will be different based on his or her circumstances, financial resources, time availability, and interest level as well as age and career status.
We know that most Scouting alumni want to receive an invitation to hear about Scouting today, meet and network with other people (alumni and registered Scouters), and learn about ways to get involved that will work for them as individuals; this can include remaining on a mailing list to lend future support; becoming a registered volunteer on a unit, district, or ad hoc basis; donating; or becoming an informal Scouting supporter.
They do not want to feel used, do not want to be charged excessive fees to attend an event, and do not want to feel shamed or “guilted” into making a financial donation.
They are open to a wide variety of informal, zero-commitment, low-cost events for socializing, having fun, and learning about the parts of Scouting that interest them. They also desire a variety of times and places to reconnect with Scouting so that they can find activities that fit their busy schedules and feel comfortable. A great way to start this is to offer a menu of events with varying levels of commitment. See Section 9 of this guide for examples or appropriate Alumni Association events.
They should view Scouting as a lifelong enrichment course and consider Alumni Association activities to develop skills, networks, and knowledge. If Alumni committees foster this type of experience, alumni will be more likely to return for more events and to continue their engagement in Scouting.