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Principles of practice for alumni relations professionals at educational institutions

April 30, 2014 Revisions; adopted by the CASE Board of Trustees in March 2005

As a critical discipline within advancement, alumni relations professionals collaborate with their colleagues in development, communications and advancement services to maximize resource decisions regarding alumni engagement. Alumni relations professionals lead strategic decisions and then perform roles serving their institutions and alumni including: championing the institution’s mission, encouraging and fostering alumni involvement with their institutions, building long-term relationships with alumni and other constituencies and engaging with the research agenda. Critical collaboration includes partnerships with admissions, career services, athletics and student affairs.

The principles below are intended to assist alumni relations professionals in fulfilling their role in a manner that will benefit their institution, its alumni and the profession of alumni relations.

Ethical principles

Alumni relations professionals have a fundamental obligation to:

  • Advance the mission of their institutions and serve and support its alumni in an ethical and socially responsible manner
  • Reflect in their work the basic values of educational institutions, including an abiding respect for diverse ideas, interests and constituencies
  • Reinforce through words and actions the principles of honesty, integrity, and trust, which form the basis for long-term relationships and engagement with the institution’s alumni and other constituencies
  • Place the welfare of the institution and its alumni above personal gain, avoid conflicts of interest, take responsibility for their decisions, and treat colleagues, alumni and the public with courtesy and respect

Operational principles

Alumni relations professionals are most successful at advancing and serving their institutions when:

  • Their efforts support the interaction between the institution’s strategic plan and the interests of alumni
  • They provide strategic counsel to their institution’s leadership, convey the viewpoints and interests of the alumni, and participate in the formulation of strategic initiatives or institutional policies
  • They base their work on best practice that informs their understanding of the institution’s alumni and measures progress toward established goals in support of the institution and its alumni

Engagement principles

Alumni relations professionals best serve the needs and interests of the alumni and ensure the involvement of alumni with the institution when they:


  • Promote and embrace alumni as vital stakeholders in their institutions
  • Advocate for alumni, representing their interests in working with institutional departments and constituencies as well as the broader community
  • Provide alumni with relevant financial information concerning the work of the alumni association and its activities
  • Ensure personal information provided by alumni is handled in a professional and confidential manner at all times
  • Recognize alumni contributions of time, talent and treasure


  • Inform alumni about institutional mission, vision and goals
  • Educate students about their future responsibilities and opportunities as alumni
  • Ensure the mission and goals of alumni programs are consistent with and support the mission and goals of the institution


  • Encourage alumni to support their alma mater through service, leadership, advocacy and philanthropy
  • Involve alumni to serve the broader community as ambassadors for their alma mater and education in general
  • Actively engage alumni in the planning and designing of alumni programs, services and events
  • Involve students with alumni programs, services and events
  • Challenge alumni to pursue volunteer and leadership opportunities throughout the institution, including individual schools, admissions, career services, athletics and student affairs
  • Involve alumni - seeking their ideas, input and feedback
  • Recruit alumni to leverage their networks on behalf of the institution

These principles are intended to supplement and complement the CASE Statement of Ethics adopted by the CASE Board of Trustees in 1982.