To strengthen services for alumni and friends and deepen their connection in support of OSU, the alumni association’s board of directors voted unanimously to pursue strategic alignment with the OSU Foundation. On Friday, Jan. 27 members voted to approve a change to the Articles of Incorporation that will make alignment possible.
Alignment creates an efficient business model that promotes growth and collaboration. HR and finance functions will be merged, allowing the OSU Alumni Association’s staff to be redeployed with a focus on outreach efforts, including expanded volunteer relations, enhanced career and professional development, revamped communications and new digital engagement opportunities.
Many things will not change in an aligned structure. The alumni association will retain its brand identity and mission of supporting all alumni and the university. We will continue to be housed in the CH2M HILL Alumni Center and send the Oregon Stater to all alumni, regardless of member or donor status. The association will remain an independent nonprofit with a separate board that oversees our work.
We will also retain our membership program, which currently has more than 14,500 participants.
Members enjoy the same great benefits
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is alignment a good thing?
• Alignment allows us to strengthen engagement with alumni and connection in support of OSU by maximizing alumni association resources. While continuing to offer relevant programming, we will be able to expand volunteer relations, enhance career services, revamp communications and provide new digital engagement opportunities.
• We are creating a business model that promotes growth and collaboration. By merging overlapping functions, such as HR and finance, we are able to redeploy staff resources to focus on vital outreach efforts.
What does an aligned structure look like?
• Effective July 1, all those employed by/assigned to the OSUAA will become OSU Foundation employees.
• Kathy Bickel, vice president alumni relations and executive director of the OSUAA, will continue in her role as head of the alumni association.
• The OSU Foundation will continue to have responsibility for coordinating development programs and staff in support of fundraising.
• The OSUAA will continue to occupy and run the CH2M HILL Alumni Center. The OSU Alumni Association remains a separate nonprofit organization that holds and thoughtfully manages financial assets. Its board of directors will provide counsel and approve annual budgets for advancement strategies, programs and communications.
• The OSU Alumni Association will maintain its paid membership program. OSUAA members will continue to receive the same great benefits including access to discounts and special events.
How did this change my membership?
• In the past, all members of the alumni association have the right to attend the association’s annual meeting and vote on its board. With alignment and a change to the Articles of Incorporation, members no longer have this opportunity. In an aligned structure, directors for the alumni association will be nominated by the Board of Directors of the alumni association (or a nominating committee of the OSUAA board) subject to approval by the Board of Trustees of the OSU Foundation. Both the OSUAA and OSUF boards are made up of alumni volunteers representing a broad spectrum of interests and backgrounds.
Is alignment all about raising funds?
• No. Support from private donors is very important to Oregon State University, but this change is about streamlining overlapping functions to create richer programs for alumni and friends.
Is this just a way for the foundation to get my data?
• The OSUAA and OSUF have shared a single database for many years, one of the many ways the foundation and association are already working collaboratively. Your personal data is carefully protected.
Will your name change? Are you combining websites? Will all your programs be combined?
• No. The OSU Alumni Association and OSU Foundation will continue to retain our own brands and websites. We will continue to offer distinct programming while also taking advantage of opportunities to hold joint events and cross-promote programs just as we do now.
Will you still offer programs for alumni?
• Yes, we will continue to offer in-person and virtual events, career and professional development, group travel and more. To see our offerings visit osualum.com/events.
I thought the foundation and alumni association were already the same thing.
• You are not alone. The OSUF and OSUAA have related, but distinct missions. We often collaborate to achieve our shared goal of advancing Oregon State University. Under alignment, we will work even more closely, but each organization will still retain its own separate mission, brand and programs.
I’m not a member of the alumni association, why do I care about any of this?
• The Oregon State community is large and strong and includes all who care about the institution, regardless of member or donor status. Through alignment, we will be able to provide more opportunities for you to connect with the university, fellow alumni and current students. We hope you’ll want to take advantage of increased opportunities to engage and help share the good news about Oregon State.
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