Edward Arden is a 2014 On Purpose Associate who spent six months on placement with Frontline. Part of Edward’s work was to develop ideas for an alumni network for Frontline participants. Here he blogs on his findings…
The season of goodwill – and enforced office socialising – has well and truly arrived. It’s the perfect time to look back (through that festive fug) at colleagues and workplaces past. In my first placement I worked on alumni proposals for Frontline, the graduate recruitment programme for social work. The first participants won’t complete the programme until 2016, which means there’s a rare opportunity to start a network from scratch and really think it through. Here are the lessons I learnt.
Identify your purpose
It’s important to be clear at the outset about the purpose of your network. This isn’t always obvious and varies a good deal. For Frontline, the ultimate goal is to help alumni to remain in social work or a related role. Universities, on the other hand, have an eye to fundraising, while professional services firms look to win new work from alumni who work for potential clients.
Use technology to help
The scale of alumni networks varies dramatically, but reliance on technology is something they all have in common.