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Director of Alumni Relations

Employer
Northeastern Illinois University
Location
Chicago, Illinois (US)
Salary
$87,000 - $95,000 commensurate with experience
Date posted
Jun 12, 2024

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As a member of the Institutional Advancement (IA) team at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), the Director of Alumni Relations is responsible for the strategic planning, creation, implementation, and maintenance of alumni engagement programs designed to provide meaningful opportunities to develop relationships between NEIU and its graduates (88,000 alumni).  Reporting to the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the Director works collaboratively with IA colleagues, University leadership and College deans and directors to maximize alumni engagement with the goal of building loyalty, institutional pride, and awareness of the University’s mission, priorities and opportunities for volunteer and philanthropic support. 

During this exciting time for NEIU, the Director will act as the chief liaison between alumni and the University and will implement best practices to lead the team’s goals and deliverables. Relying on the candidate’s experiences as a seasoned professional in this field, the Director will shape the future for the University’s alumni outreach and engagement programs in the short and long-term. 

To that end, the Director will refresh, build and energize the NEIU Alumni Advisory (NEIUAA) Board, providing ongoing Board leadership and coordination of mutually determined goals and objectives. The Director will also oversee team strategies to steward, evaluate, and grow NEIU Alumni Association membership including building affinity groups, regional presences, fostering philanthropy from alumni of all ages, and engaging current students. Working with the Vice President and IA team leads, the Director will measure outcomes to evaluate efficacy of annual work plans and will make data-informed decisions and recommendations for future planning. 

As the energetic leader of a dedicated team, this position supervises and works alongside two direct reports: the Associate Director and Assistant Director, building and encouraging their pursuits, engaging alumni leaders and volunteers, and fostering cooperative and collaborative relationships across the University community. Outside of the Alumni Relations and broader IA team, the Director will especially work with University units such as Admissions, Student Affairs, Career Development, Marketing / Communications, academic colleges and departments, and will coordinate alumni advocacy efforts and all related events and communications with the University’s Government Relations Office.  

Another key aspect of the Director’s portfolio is to provide leadership in the planning, execution and/or overseeing of annual high-quality signature events, traditions, and communications, including the post-activity analysis outcomes. Such traditions, events and communications include but are not limited to: NEIU Weekend, the annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, a new high-level networking opportunity titled Amplify | Elevate, Commencement activities, and the refresh of the NEIU Alumni Magazine, In Common, in collaboration with Marketing. 

The Director will provide fiscal management and will oversee all financial operations for the Office of Alumni Relations state budget as well as NEIUAA-related funds and scholarships within the NEIU Foundation.  

The role will involve some travel for various alumni events and visits with specific alumni to drive engagement efforts and cultivate relationships. The Director is expected to pursue appropriate professional development opportunities for themselves and their team to stay abreast of current best practices and industry trends. 

Strategic Leadership:

  • Provide overall direction and creative leadership for the Office of Alumni Relations

  • Craft annual plans that are both ambitious and achievable, and set goals using data-informed strategies and tactics 

  • Actively inform and provide strategic counsel for the VPIA and IA leadership,

  • Upon request and/or proactive outreach as appropriate, provide information on plans, progress and outcomes for the University President and Cabinet, Board of Trustees, NEIU Foundation Board, NEIUAA Board, University administrators and shared governance groups

  • Facilitate NEIUAA Board-building

Alumni Engagement: 

  • Serve as the primary liaison between the University and NEIU alumni

  • Facilitate meaningful and resourceful alumni programs including affinity groups, NEIUAA membership participation and regional engagement to attract, engage, develop, and connect alumni

  • Ensure that NEIU’s three campus locations are supported in the alumni engagement plans, including the Main / North Campus in Albany Park, El Centro location in Avondale, and Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies in Bronzeville

Event Planning and Execution

  • Lead planning, organizing, and execution of signature alumni events, including reunions, networking opportunities, and other engagement initiatives

  • Examples of events the Alumni Relations team leads are: The annual Alumni Awards Ceremony, NEIU Weekend, Alumni Member Stewardship events, Athletic Alumni reunions, Graduates of the Last Decade programs, the Class Gift Program, alumni engagement outings to local events

  • Examples of events the Alumni Relations team supports are: Commencement (May and December), Academic Honors, the annual Chuck Kane Scholarship Golf Outing, Amplify | Elevate, Goodwin Lectureship, Giving Tuesday, Proud to be NEIU Day, and Golden Eagle Welcome Day

Relationship Building: 

  • Cultivate internal and external relationships with faculty, staff, and University leadership to develop, advise, and collaborate on annual alumni engagement activities

  • Cultivate meaningful relationships with alumni, donors, and other stakeholders to enhance alumni involvement and support for the university.

Collaboration: 

  • Related to relationship-building, work closely with departments, faculty, and staff to align Alumni Relations efforts with broader institutional goals. 

  • Such Collaborations will annually involve Enrollment Management, Student Affairs (Student Leadership Development, Career Development, Marketing / Communications, Student Union, Events and Conference Services among others), Government Relations, and College Leadership. 

  • Serve as a senior leader, key thought partner, and active participant in the Division of IA

  • As appropriate and on occasion, perform other duties critical to the Division's or University’s progress as approved by the VPIA 

Communication: 

  • Develop and implement robust communication strategies to keep alumni informed about NEIU’s news, achievements, priorities and opportunities through multi-channel engagements (in-person activities, speech preparation, online communications, email, social-media, web presence, printed collateral).

Fundraising: 

  • Work closely with the IA team and internal constituents to achieve annual funding goals and to devise specific fundraising outcomes for the Office of Alumni Relations. 

  • Collaborative efforts especially include supporting major gifts outreach and identifying appropriate relationship-building strategies from an Alumni Relations standpoint, support for engagement of high-achieving alumni via Alumni Awards and other recognitions, and support for fundraising events. 

Data Management: 

  • Maintain accurate alumni records and information in Raiser’s Edge NXT system to track engagement, giving, and participation.

Budget Management: 

  • Provide sound financial planning, management and budgetary oversight of Alumni Relations’ state budget and funds within the NEIU Foundation

  • Maintain accurate financial records, receipts, and follow University and Foundation protocols for contracts, purchases and reporting  

Team Management: 

  • Lead a team of two direct reports, the Associate Director and Assistant Director, and work with at least one student worker position (students are employed via Work-Study and/or NEIUAA resources)

  • Provide team-building, engagement and personal and professional development opportunities to staff

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