It's natural to still have questions before volunteering to lend a hand or your expertise. Perhaps the answers to some of these more popular questions asked by others will help ease your mind before jumping in:
Alumni Chapter Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much time does it take?
Good question. The answer is: it depends on what role and level of responsibilities you choose to commit. Just like volunteering for your child's PTA, local church, soccer team or charity there are many different volunteer opportunities within the chapter for you to explore. At the highly involved level, a chapter president can expect to spend about 5 hours a week making phone calls and managing the work of other volunteers. At the basic level, a general board member can expect to spend just a few hours every other month attending a meeting or event, mentoring a student or sharing their talent and expertise with others. To help in your "assessment," most chapter leadership positions have job descriptions you can review to determine the specific responsibilities attached at each level before raising your hand to volunteer.
Q. Does each chapter have a budget?
Yes. A portion of the membership dues paid annually by each member are directed to the chapter account for use by chapter leaders in support of programs and initiatives determined by each individual chapter board. In addition, the general Alumni Association has funding set aside to help enhance chapter programming and to assist new chapters who do not yet have members paying dues. In addition, the Alumni Association pays outright for many of the administrative services and costs associated with chapter management.
Q. Can an alumni chapter charge additional membership dues?
No. Membership fees are set and collected by the Alumni Association. But, chapters are welcome and encouraged to solicit contributions for scholarships or raise additional funds designated directly to their chapter for special projects and purposes. These funds will be deposited directly into the chapter account and are considered gifts to the university so the donor will receive a charitable tax receipt for their contribution.
Q. Does belonging to a chapter automatically make me a member of the general CSUN Alumni Association?
Yes, members of an alumni chapter are also members of the general Alumni Association and receive a host of benefits and services afforded to all members.
Q. Is there university staff support to help with the chapter?
Yes. The Office of Alumni Relations employs a staff of professionals available to help chapters organize and charter, grow their membership, access lists and contact information, market and plan events, train volunteers and more. Call or email us for support.
Q. Can people who never attended (or never graduated) from the university join a chapter?
Yes. Cal State Northridge is part of a vibrant community and many spouses, neighbors, business partners and parents feel a tremendous amount of loyalty toward the university even though they may have never attended a class. Former students who never got around to completing the final coursework toward a diploma can still call themselves alumni and join our ranks. Any individual who is interested in connecting and supporting the mission of the university is welcome to join our Matador family.
Q. How do we get a list of alumni?
The Alumni Association maintains contact information on all former students regardless of their affiliation with the Association. If somebody attended the university, most likely we have them in our database. That being said, we also respect the privacy of our alumni and manage these lists and requests for information with care and concern for individual preferences. Staff in the alumni office can assist the chapter in connecting and contacting alumni via phone, email and mail based upon individual preferences communicated by alumni on how and what they prefer to receive or not to receive from the university.
Q. What do other chapters do?
Although the answer to this question varies by the type and mission of each individual chapter, our most successful chapters split their programming into three main areas of focus:
1. Professional Development
- Provide continuing education courses for professionals in the field
- Providing career enhancement and networking opportunities and activities
- Advocating for policy and legislation affecting your profession
- Honoring graduates
2. Student or department support
- Mentoring students
- Providing internships and hiring students
- Recruiting prospective students to consider attending the University.
- Fundraising or providing scholarships for current students
- Providing advice on department curriculum or accreditation
2. Social and fun
- Planning social outings to local sports and entertainment venues
- Planning reunion activities
- Supporting CSUN athletics and the arts
We also recommend that chapters think about “piggy-backing” on already scheduled activities. Investigate whether there is a department/area/college event the chapter could co-sponsor, a community event alumni might want to attend as a group, or a campus activity your chapter may want to support as a group.
Q. Do you have additional resources for volunteers?
Yes. Visit our resources for chapter volunteers website for additional help.
Q. What are the expectations for alumni chapter volunteers?
Here are the basic expectations for all volunteers.