International Alumni Relations Strategy

Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly will help you and your institution think holistically about how to build a lifelong relationship with your international alumni: Identify tactics for recruiting and retaining more international alumni volunteers; create budgets and infrastructure to support both short and long-term global planning; plan new and improved international events; and identify, develop and/or expand international volunteer management opportunities and practices.

The Importance of International Alumni Chapters

Today across the world, institutions are weighing the pro’s and con’s for investing in international alumni relations. Making the case for engaging international alumni via regional chapters or networks is easy when you consider these eight reasons:

  • Helps your institution create a global footprint of alumni engagement that supports its overall mission/vision.
  • Supports specific University internationalization efforts including:
    • International student recruitment.
    • Academic partnerships (research/education/faculty-visiting scholar exchange) and study abroad programs.
  • Facilitates networking among local alumni as well as re-establishes active connection between alumni and the institution.
  • Creates a framework for international alumni to serve as sources of undergrad/graduate internships, jobs, or other living/learning opportunities.
  • Helps promote the overall visibility and “presence” of the institution overseas.
  • Assists in fundraising and donor cultivation activities on behalf of the institution, including international financial aid for undergraduates from the home region.
  • Assists in building and strengthening the regional alumni database by verifying accurate contact information.

International Alumni Barometer

Many universities know less than they would like about their international alumni, but recognize this population as vital to long-term recruitment, fundraising and branding efforts. What does a particularly engaged international alumni base look like? What student experience specifics are correlated with above-average alumni satisfaction? How to explain exceptional levels of giving?

The International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate) and Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly have partnered to help universities address these questions, by means of an International Alumni Barometer (IAB).

The IAB covers alumni reflections on their time studying abroad, engagement with their alma mater and alumni demographics. Participating institutions will gain insights into the paths and views of their own alumni, as well as peer benchmarks. Analysis will distinguish alumni by nationality, field and year of study, among other variables. The pilot survey will run Fall 2015. Pilot participants will help shape and refine the IAB survey questions.

The pilot will concentrate on top tier public and private universities, with a view to expanding number and range of participants, and building a longitudinal dataset.

For further details, please contact Gretchen Dobson at

International Development Strategy

Using the Four Pillars of Engagement, Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly will help your institution construct the right stories to share when seeking greater participation and gifts. Incorporate international alumni relations into overall outreach strategy with Admissions, Academic Units and Advancement to stimulate more international donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Global Capital Campaigns

An integrated international alumni relations and development strategy will prepare advancement and academic officers to work in tandem to achieve aspirational goals of a campaign.

Particular focus on growing participation during the campaign is achieved through an international volunteer relations program designed to strengthen the relationships of key stakeholders as well as improve the overall reputation of the institution.

Global Academic Partnerships

A senior international officer is responsible for the academic programs and research agenda abroad. Recent surveys have shown that alumni feel connected to their academic affiliations: their professors, classmates, campus and experiences. Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly will identify ways to build efficiencies across academic departments and the institution with respect to international and domestic outreach and engagement. Working closely with  deans and the senior international officer is a pure win-win for all involved.

Global Alumni and International Student Engagement

International Alumni as Brand Ambassadors: Engage Your Alumni to Help Recruit International Students

Improved Alumni Relations Equals Better Brand Influence

  • International outreach can be much more successful when institutions involve their most genuine brand ambassadors – alumni. Their personal history with the academic institution is of incredible value to prospective students.

To get alumni more involved, you may need to give your alumni relations a boost.

  • Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly will help institutions develop a strategic process to leverage international alumni abroad for student recruitment. These steps include developing relationships with not only alumni but regional alumni organizations, institutional student recruiters and agents, current students, families, faculty, deans, the community and more.

International Events and Meeting Management

Alongside consulting, Gretchen and her team specialize in international special events and meetings for clients with particular needs outside their home country. With over 20 years of managing events for audiences from a dozen to over 1,000, Gretchen Dobson and Academic Assembly will represent your institution’s or organization’s interest in regions around the world where you are missing staff or volunteer representation. Examples include: satellite campus reunions, memorandums of understanding and dual-institution partnerships, executive education courses, capital campaign launches around the world, and global forums bringing together regional alumni with your institution. Gretchen serves as a project manager and is involved from the beginning to the end, including staffing services on site.

Professional Development

Gretchen also provides professional coaching for international advancement and academic officers. Whether you are a new Dean inheriting an international outreach agenda or a new Vice President of Advancement or Director of Alumni Affairs walking into a world of international alumni engagement at your home campus, rest assured: the results of spending a day or two with Gretchen will be felt for many years to come. Gretchen devotes her energy and expertise in helping professionals inherit an International IQ within days.

More information about Professional Development Services