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Advice for Alumni Volunteers

The LSE community is profoundly enhanced by a growing number of dedicated volunteers. Whether you have been volunteering for decades or just are just joining this year, we want to ensure all volunteers feel confident and prepared.  All our volunteers are supported by our Alumni Association Executive Committee and experienced Alumni Engagement team. We provide a range of services and support to help sustain and promote alumni groups. 

With over 80 groups, based in more than 90 countries and serving a network of over 160,000 alumni, you have the potential to make a tangible impact on the lives of LSE alumni all over the globe. The groups are an invaluable source of support to the School and are run by people like you, the alumni volunteers who give their time and skills generously. We are hugely grateful for your ongoing efforts and support.  

The sections below provide best practice guidance for all alumni groups and volunteer activities which are regularly reviewed and updated by the Alumni Engagement Team.

Alumni Groups Overview

It is essential that all groups, established and new, have strong leadership and a dedicated committee with clear terms of office. This protects existing committee members from volunteer fatigue, and encourages transparency and inclusivity while encouraging participation from and a pipeline for new volunteers.  

Group Governance and Committees

Committees and Leadership

In terms of leadership, most groups choose to have a one Group Leader, although some groups implement shared leadership, such as Co-Leaders/Co-Chairs. Whichever configuration, it should be designed to enhance the experience of all alumni and volunteers. The Group Leader and all committee members must be alumni of the School. 

Term limits

We recommend a term of one to three years for each committee position, with a maximum of two terms in each role. Implementing a staggered or rotation system so that each year a selection of committee members is elected allows for a continual process of renewal in the committee, while maintaining a degree of stability, continuity and expertise. 

Committee Structures
 
While the number of committee members and elected officers will vary depending on the size and needs of the group’s membership, our recommendation is for a minimum of three committee members (including a Group Leader). Committee roles listed below are suggestions and a starting point for thinking about your committee and the group’s individual needs. 

Group Leader

  • Lead and supervise the overall efforts of the Group 
  • Liaise closely with the LSE Alumni Engagement Team 
  • Coordinate the overall efforts of the Group including committee meetings and transitions within the committee 
  • When appropriate, act as alumni host at group events 
  • Connect with allocated Regional Liaison Officer and other Group Leaders in the region 

Treasurer

  • Oversees the alumni group’s income and expenditure 
  • Where applicable, maintains the group’s bank account 
  • Reports on the financial position of the group to each committee meeting and at the Annual General Meeting.

Events Coordinator

  • Supervise the planning and delivery of events – in person and online 
  • Source speakers and venues 
  • Coordinate event details and logistics 
  • Provide regular updates to the Alumni Engagement Team on alumni event registrations and attendance 

Communications Coordinator 

  • Oversee and coordinate communications with the alumni community (through Alumni Engagement Team for email to community) and social media;  
  • Manage correspondence/enquiries to the alumni group email address  
  • Connect with LSE Alumni Engagement Team on group updates and activities 

Students and Recent Graduates Coordinator
 

  • Role open to any alumnus/na who graduated in the last five years 
  • Engage specifically those who graduated within the last five years 
  • Promote LSE initiatives to support this group; 
  • Develop ways to connect alumni in the region and to offer careers support;  
  • Coordinate any departure/welcome home activity for the group 

Insurance and Legal Entity

Insurance

The School’s insurance policy does not cover group activities, officers, committees or members of the group. The School recommends that alumni groups obtain appropriate insurance for their activities. The School cannot advise in relation to insurance needs, or the merits of particular insurers or insurance policies. Accordingly, alumni groups are asked to seek their own independent advice.

Alumni groups should also carry out risk assessments before any events and make sure that event attendees are aware of any on-site risks. Groups should request allergy and accessibility information from participants in advance to enable to event to run safely. This (and all) data should be held securely. See the Data Protection page for more information.
 
Legal Entity

The School does not recommend that recognised groups apply become a legal entity within their countries. If a group wishes to explore becoming a legal entity, they must consult with the Alumni Engagement Team ahead of making local enquiries. Please note that it is not always possible for the School to support these requests.

Succession Planning

Identifying future group leaders is an important task for any committee. Succession planning on an ongoing basis is essential to ensuring the continuity of an alumni group. If a group has momentum, through ongoing activities and engagement, it might be easier for you to identify successors for your committee. The Alumni Engagement team, and your Regional Liaison Officer will be able to offer support and guidance for succession planning for all committee positions, but particularly for the appointment or election of a new group leader.

We understand that established groups might already have a process in place for the identification, appointment or election of a new group leader, and in many cases for the appointment of all committee members. We encourage all groups to keep the Alumni Engagement Team up to date with any group specific processes for succession planning so that we can provide relevant guidance, support and ensure our records on group committees remain up to date.  

All groups should be mindful of the standards and commitments within the Alumni Group Agreements that must be maintained when succession planning or recruiting to their committee.

Group Leader Recruitment and Election Process

We have put together the following preferred process for the recruitment and election of a new group leader which involves the support of your Alumni Engagement Team, and Regional Liaison Officer. 

  • The Group Leader (GL) has served no more than 3 years (or 2 terms of 3 years) and informs current committee members, Regional Liaison Officer (RLO) and PAGE of intention to stand down. 

    Please give your PAGE representative a minimum of 2 months’ notice of your intention to step down to allow time for recruiting a successor. 
  • Expressions of interest invited from the existing committee members by current GL

    PAGE, RLO and existing committee members to review applications. 
  • GL appointed based on strength of application OR Elections held 

    PAGE to provide logistical support to any election process.

    Other applicants thanked for interest and potential to offer other committee positions. 
  • Transition meeting with outgoing GL, PAGE and GL elect (within 1 week)
  • Formal handover to newly elected GL (within 1 month) 

    Alumni in region informed of change in group leadership (within 1 week).

    RLO to connect with new GL, provide advice and to check in monthly.

    PAGE relationship manager to provide Group Leaders induction and to book regular check ins for duration of term (minimum monthly).  

In exceptional circumstances, where no committee exists or there is no interest from existing committee members: 

  • PAGE and RLO to invite expressions of interest from existing alumni volunteers and contacts in the region – and to expand search based on level of interest: 

    Interested alumni requested to submit GL application. 

    Applications open for a minimum of 2 weeks .
  • PAGE and RLO to collate responses and applications  
  • GL appointed based on strength of application OR Elections held 

    PAGE to provide logistical support to any election process. 

    Other applicants thanked for interest and potential to offer other key committee positions such as Secretary or Treasurer.
  • Transition meeting with outgoing GL, PAGE and GL elect (within 1 week) 
  • Formal handover to newly elected GL (within 1 month) 

    Alumni in region informed of change in group leadership (within 1 week). 

    RLO to mentor new GL for 6 months, provide advice and to check in monthly.

     PAGE relationship manager to provide Group Leaders induction and to book regular check ins for duration of term (minimum monthly). 

Some groups provide a longer transition period (of 3-6 months) for new group leaders to shadow outgoing leadership. For more information on how to include this in your transition of leadership, please contact your PAGE representative. 

Committee Elections

Many groups hold annual or biennial elections to refresh their committees and recruit new members. These elections can take place either online or in person at the group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).  

We recommend a term of up to three years for each committee position, with a maximum of two terms in each role, and a staggered or rotation system. A staggered/rotation system means that each year a selection of committee members is elected rather than the full committee. This allows for a continual process of renewal in the committee, while maintaining a degree of stability and continuity.  

The Alumni Engagement team will be able to provide best practice examples of recent committee elections for alumni groups, as well as logistical support for the elections process if required. 

Elections Process

  • Groups may wish to undertake an election, rather than appointment process to approve new committees or group leadership. When planning an election, the group should: 
  • Inform their PAGE representative of the date of their AGM or date the date of the election.  

    Minimum of 2 months’ notice of the date of elections.

    Confirm all of the committee positions involved in the election.
  • PAGE to provide example role descriptions for each committee member 
  • PAGE to provide suggested timeline for elections (will be dependent on the number of committee positions involved in the election) 
  • Expressions of interest invited from the existing committee members by current GL: 

    Interested alumni requested to submit committee applications online. 

    Applications open for a minimum of 2 weeks.

    PAGE and RLO to invite expressions of interest from existing alumni volunteers and contacts in the region – and to expand search based on level of interest: 

    Interested alumni requested to submit committee application online. 

    Applications open for a minimum of 2 weeks.

    PAGE and RLO to collate responses and applications for review by Group Leader and existing committee.

    Elections held: 

    PAGE to provide logistical support to any election process.
  • Transition meeting with outgoing Committee members, PAGE and newly elected committee (within 1 week) 
  • Formal handover to newly elected Committee members (within 1 month) 

    Alumni in region informed of change in group committee (within 1 week) 

    RLO to provide advice and to check in with new committee members 

PAGE relationship manager to provide induction materials to new committee members and to book regular check ins for duration of term.

Volunteers – Recruitment and Retention

The success of every alumni group is dependent on the effort invested by its volunteer organising committee. You should always be seeking to identify, recruit and retain new volunteers and encouraging them to take part at an organisational level. Clear role descriptions and an understanding of what might motivate someone to accept a committee position are also very useful.

Volunteer recruitment 
Some suggested ways of recruiting new volunteers include: 

  • Regularly publicising available volunteer roles, with clear role descriptions and terms of office 
  • Holding an annual meeting specifically to discuss forthcoming events and activities, and to obtain suggestions for volunteers who can help with organising them. 
  • Asking enthusiastic members of your community to assist with small tasks such as event planning – for example to support an event in which they have an interest, whether academic, social or career related.  
  • Sharing volunteer opportunities from across the School with your members – often being involved in individual volunteering can develop into a desire to explore longer term opportunities.

Recruiting Recent Graduates to your Committee 

It is important to think about ways in which your group can include recent graduates in your activities, and to recruit recent graduates to your committee.  

A key item to consider is when inviting recent graduates to participate in group activities is timing. For example, timing a call out to new volunteers to take place in September will include both the new cohort of undergraduates who finish their studies at the School in the summer term, and post-graduates, who  tend to return to their local communities in September, following their final deadlines (ahead of formally completing their studies in December of that year). 

Another way to raise the profile of your alumni group among students and recent graduates is to build a rapport with your SU society counterparts – this can be through promoting their activities to your alumni community, collaborative events and offering guidance. You can find more information about the LSE SU societies here

Retention

The success of an alumni group can be heavily reliant on retaining engaged and enthusiastic volunteers. Investing time to ensure that they are looked after, and their roles are rewarding. Volunteers should feel they are an important part your alumni group, are fully involved in decision-making, and that their achievements are recognised.  

Some suggestions for retaining your engaged volunteers include: 

  • Stay active as a group and be receptive to new ideas 
  • Think about what motivates your committee members: this might include interest in specific areas, whether academic, social or careers-based networking. Understanding volunteers’ motivations can help you to identify suitable tasks together, which will keep their interest. It’s key that volunteers have a say over their role. 
  • Track each volunteer’s term of office and be aware of how they are feeling, especially if they feel underutilised, or alternatively if they feel burdened by the responsibilities of the position – ensure that the workload is shared appropriately. 
  • Invite all relevant volunteers to be consulted on group decisions that affect them and invite them to participate in relevant meetings and social plans. 

If you are concerned about recruitment and retention of volunteers to your committee, contact the Alumni Engagement team - we can provide further advice and guidance with reference to your specific group and alumni community 

Thanking volunteers
 

Volunteers should always be thanked for their efforts and if this can be done publicly, even better. A simple “thank you” for organising an event in front of members can really help to make volunteers feel valued. Please also let your main contact in the Alumni Engagement team know the names of any and all alumni who support your group – this way the volunteering can also be acknowledged by the School – through including them in our regular volunteer updates to recognising them in our annual roll of thanks. 

Campaigning and Political Activity

The London School of Economics and Political Science is a registered charity and is incorporated in England as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Acts (Reg no. 70527). As such any campaigning and political activity, including by alumni acting in their capacity as volunteers for the School can only be undertaken in the context of directly supporting the delivery of the School’s charitable purposes.

While alumni groups may express support for particular policies, it is essential to note that alumni groups cannot give their support to any one political party. As a charity LSE must always guard its independence, and ensure it remains politically independent across all activities and initiatives, including those undertaken by recognised alumni groups.

 
Financial Management

All alumni groups must be self-financing. The School bears no responsibility for the financing or finances of alumni groups. The School recommends that groups do not levy member fees, and that group activity is funded through free activity, ticket sales or events sponsorship.

Bank Accounts

We strongly advise that each committee includes a Treasurer. Their responsibilities should include keeping a basic written record of income and expenditure, together with a balance sheet. They should also present the group’s accounts to a group meeting on an annual basis. An example role description for a Treasurer is included in the Committee Governance section.

Bank accounts

It is advisable for alumni groups to have a bank account in the name of the group. We realise this is not always possible for international groups. The Alumni Engagement Team can provide a formal letter on request to groups who have signed the alumni group recognition agreement confirming that they are an officially recognised group if this is required. We also advise having two signatories for the group bank account. The School holds no responsibility for the finances of alumni groups who hold independent bank accounts. 

Budgeting and reporting

The following are examples of financial good practice: Consider the full calendar year when developing the group’s budget. It may be that some events can be part-subsidised, whereas other should aim to make a small profit to compensate.

  • Estimate likely income based on projected ticket prices (taking into account income from the previous year, where possible). 
  • Regularly monitor income against expenditure. 
  • Reconcile the group’s accounts as soon after each event as possible. 
  • Estimate expenses as accurately as possible based on received quotes. 

Sponsorship

In addition to self-funding events and activities, committee members of Groups can utilise their alumni and personal networks by seeking some form or sponsorship or underwriting. Many alumni groups find that prominent alumni are able to assist with securing meeting places for events at no cost, which substantially reduces the total cost of events. In other cases, groups have obtained financial support from individuals, firms and organisations interested in promoting their services. Group leaders should ensure that they only accept sponsorship that fits with the values and ethics enshrined in the Alumni Charter/Code of Conduct – and will cause no embarrassment to the group, the LSE Alumni Association, or LSE itself. Please note that any sponsorship agreement will be made between the Group and the organisation, not the School itself.

Before approaching fellow alumni or organisations to sponsor an event please contact the Alumni Engagement Team to determine if there is an existing relationship already in place within LSE.  For more guidance for groups wishing to seek sponsorship please contact Alumni Engagement team.

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect on the 25th May 2018. It is an EU regulation that affects all organisations (whether they are inside or outside of the EU) that hold and process EU citizens’ data. For more information on how the School holds, processes and uses alumni data, please view our privacy statement

GDPR Guidance

The School does not support alumni groups keeping their own databases of alumni records and recommends that groups only hold data that is essential to current activity. If you really need to share any of data, it should be kept it to an absolute minimum and only be transferred in agreement for how it was captured. While you are holding the data, keep it safe and secure. And when you no longer need it, delete it.

Your group must follow the key principals of data processing under GDPR:

1) Lawful  

You will need to have a basis for processing information. These include consent, contract, legal obligation, vital interests, public task and legitimate interest. Most of your group activities will fall under:

  • Consent – the individual has told you that you can process their information. For some activities, such as email communications or holding sensitive information, consent will likely be the appropriate basis for processing. 
  • Contract – such as event registration and processing of information for purposes of running an event or membership services. 
  • Legitimate interest – holding onto information that is relevant to the purposes of your organisation. This cannot be intrusive or excessive. 

2) Purpose 

Your purpose (what are you doing with the information) and the type of information you hold will help you to define what lawful basis you have  

3) Minimal Data

Only hold what is needed 

4) Accuracy

Keep your records accurate and up to date. Make any updates and amendments to your data as soon as is possible – the legal requirement is one month.  

5) Storage

Only keep the data for as long as is necessary. For example, when an event is over, delete the information that you have no need to retain for reuse. Don’t hold on to information ‘just in case’.

6) Security

Who can access the data and why? Where is it stored? Make sure the data you hold is encrypted and secure (for example, have passwords on documents containing personal data).

7) Accountability  

Besides the principles, think about your documentation. If anyone asks you how you got their data, and what you do with it, what would your answer be? – and if you were at the receiving end of that answer, would you be happy with it?

The Alumni Engagement Team cannot offer you legal advice on how you hold your data or comply with GDPR, but if you have any questions, we will endeavour to answer them as far as we can. Please email us with any questions at: alumni@lse.ac.uk.


Communications

The Alumni Engagement team is responsible for creating tailored programmes and opportunities for all LSE alumni. This is enhanced considerably by alumni groups’ programmes of events and outreach activity around the world.

Guide for Group Communications

Alumni groups are required to plan their activity annually and share this plan with the Alumni Engagement Team, and all formal alumni group communications should be sent via the School’s alumni CRM/database to ensure LSE has a complete picture of alumni engagement and interaction with our programmes and communications.

LSE has responsibility for managing and maintaining all alumni data, and for ensuring compliance with relevant data protection law. As such, Alumni groups and committees are not permitted to create and maintain their own alumni databases and mailing lists. 

So that groups can communicate easily with alumni through our central system, we have created a short form for groups to submit details of events and other activities:  

Alumni Group Event and Communication Requests  

Once requests are received, the Alumni Engagement team aims to respond and send your requested communication within 3 working days.

LSE and Alumni Website 

In support of our alumni groups, the School will promote groups, their events and activities across all digital channels including official websites. Please make sure that you keep the Alumni Engagement team up to date with all of your plans and activities so that we can ensure that are promoting accurate information about your group.  

Independent Group Websites 

Some alumni groups decide to maintain a presence on an independent external website. LSE PAGE can take no responsibility for independently hosted alumni group websites and we do not monitor or approve these sites. The School will only intervene in exceptional circumstances, such as if the content could be perceived as damaging to the reputation of the School. Therefore, we would ask that you include, in a prominent part of your site, a statement such as:   

‘The <Group name> is an autonomous group for alumni of the London School of Economics and Political Science and operates independently of the School. Responsibility for this website, and any and all activities associated with it, are the full responsibility of the group and its organising committee. This website is not maintained, monitored, or in any way under the control of the London School of Economics and Political Science.’

Social Media channels
  

You may wish to consider promoting your alumni group on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Facebook provides facilities for promoting news and events, as well as message board facilities for members to socially connect with each other. LinkedIn has a more professional focus and therefore may be more appropriate for interest groups or regional groups that organise a lot of career-related events.  

It’s worth noting that people are less likely to join a group platform that is not very well populated, so make sure that you have some content available, such as information on forthcoming events and photos, as soon as it is launched.  
The School requests that you include the following disclaimer on your social media pages to make it clear that is it not maintained or monitored by LSE:

‘The <Group name> takes full responsibility for this page/ group, which is not operated by, under the authority of, or in association with, The London School of Economics and Political Science.’

If you are planning on creating social media accounts for your group, please get in touch with the Alumni Engagement team who will be able to provide further guidance.

LSE's social media guidance.
 
Messaging Apps – Whatsapp, Telegram, WeChat 

We understand that some groups wish to use local messaging apps such as Whatsapp, Telegram and WeChat. Please note that we consider these groups private activity and the Alumni Engagement team cannot share alumni contact information direct with groups or promote these to encourage alumni to join. Please also note that LSE staff are not expected to join these groups.

Online Conduct

Please note that the standards and obligations set out in the Alumni Association Constitution, Byelaws and LSE Ethics Code apply at all times.

By way of further guidance for online conduct:

  • All posts on LSE branded forums, including social media channels, should be free of disability, age, race, gender, religion or sexual discrimination 
  • Alumni should represent themselves accurately and not falsify information, including job or degree status. 
  • LSE is a registered charity and therefore promotion of other charities via the official School channels is strongly discouraged, unless in exceptional circumstances agreed by the Alumni Engagement team 
  • Use of LSE channels by alumni for unsolicited advertising or funding requests is not permitted.  
  • The Alumni Engagement Team reserves the right to request the removal or deletion any posts or online content on LSE branded channels that are considered to breech the any of the above principals or the standards and obligations in the Alumni Association Constitution, Byelaws and LSE Ethics Code

 

LSE Alumni Group Email Account

While all group email communications should be sent through the central alumni system (currently iModules) to ensure compliance with data protection laws – all recognised active alumni groups will be allocated a free LSE alumni email account. Where appropriate this account can be used as a point of contact for group enquiries. This is a pro-account offered through the LSE Alumni Email service with Aluminati. 

Accessing your Alumni Group Email 

The Alumni Engagement Team will create an alumni group email account for you once all members of your committee have:

  • Read and agreed to the Alumni Charter 
  • Signed the Alumni Groups Volunteer Agreement 
  • Signed the LSE Confidentiality Agreement 

To receive your login information, please contact the Alumni Engagement Team 

You can login into your alumni group email account here

Please note: 

  • Alumni groups should not use personal email addresses or set up duplicate email accounts for groups 
  • The group email account should not be used to create a separate mailing list 
  • The account will be set up and accessible to the Alumni Engagement Team 
  • The login details should only be shared with current active committee members 
  • Any breach of the Alumni Volunteer Agreement and Code of Conduct will result in the closure of the alumni group email account. 

 

Volunteer Resources

We really appreciate all support offered to us by our volunteers who lead and manage activities in our alumni groups. In an effort to support and develop further the activities undertaken by alumni groups, the Alumni Engagement Team is positioned to be a resource and will provide the following:

Support and Resources

  • Promotion of alumni groups via the LSE Alumni website, digital communications and social media channels 
  • Positioning on the School’s alumni website to promote the group and its activities
  • Notification about any speakers or senior leadership travelling to their area if known in advance  
  • Tailored alumni group logo (based on the School’s Branding guidelines) 
  • Regular e-communications to volunteers - carrying best practice and updates  
  • A relationship manager in the Alumni Engagement team 
  • A Regional Liaison Officer on the Regional Liaison Committee to optimise cross group networking, activity and provide Alumni Association support 
  • An LSE Alumni email account for each recognised group 
  • Biennial Alumni Leadership Forum for groups to attend (in accordance with the Alumni Leadership Forum guidelines) 
  • Regularly updated Volunteer Guidance available on the LSE website 

Useful LSE Resources for Alumni Groups

 

 

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