The Holy Cross Alumni Association is a dynamic organization committed to engaging alumni/ae for life. The HCAA’s role is to support and enhance the relationships among alumni that developed both on Mount St. James and in the years that follow, as well as the connections between graduates and the College.
The Holy Cross Alumni Association supports Alma Mater in its Catholic, Jesuit mission by bringing together the diverse talents, experience, and knowledge of Holy Cross alumni. We accomplish this by engaging alumni for life through our reunions, regional clubs, community outreach and intellectual and spiritual formation programs. By these means, we nurture our love for and dedication to Holy Cross, its students, and its alumni as men and women for others.
To ensure that the Holy Cross Alumni Association (HCAA) remains a vibrant organization focused upon the interests of all current and future alumni, the HCAA Board of Directors unanimously approved the “HCAA Strategic Plan 2014-2019” during its May 2014 meeting.
The Strategic Plan evolved from nine months of work by a 17 member Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). The Committee conducted a review of existing HCAA programs and substantial input received from a broad range of stakeholders, including board members, regional club leadership, past and present HCAA leaders, Fr. Boroughs and other College administrators and incorporated its findings into the final document.
The Plan, defines six critical areas or themes to guide future HCAA leaders: Communications, Engagement, Programs, Infrastructure, Governance/Leadership and Finance. Specific goals, objectives and strategies for implementation were then articulated under each theme.
The five-year strategic plan provides a viable roadmap for HCAA’s sustained growth and success, consistent with our mission and the dynamic nature of our membership.
Based on feedback and perceptions, the Strategic Planning Committee concluded that there is a need to improve communicating to alumni what the HCAA’s role is within the Alumni Relations/Development continuum. Additionally, analysis from feedback indicated there was strong support for strengthening the marketing of the HCAA brand. Goal #1: Increase the HCAA brand awareness to our key stakeholders (alumni, students, faculty, staff, etc) through a variety of traditional and digital communication. Goal #2: Highlight a broad array of alumni accomplishments. Goal #3: Educate alumni and students on all the programs/events/services that the HCAA provides.
Engagement is a very challenging Theme because of its complexity. A perception exists that there are a number of disengaged alumni pockets which points to a need for better understanding of what, exactly, “engaged” and “dis-engaged” really mean, and the factors that influence an individual’s relationship with the College. This is an area where the HCAA might be of great assistance as this discernment takes place. The Strategic Planning Committee concluded that examining the networks that have been developed by Class Chairs over the years might yield an opportunity for Alumni Relations and the HCAA to have an effective means of connecting with alumni at a granular level. Analysis from feedback indicated there was strong support for strengthening the use of social media and adopting best practices in the use of technology with respect to engaging alumni. Other means of remaining connected with alumni include keeping in touch with awardees and communicating regularly with the on-campus community. Goal #1: Define what it means to be an “engaged" alumnus/a and identify ways to engage a greater number of alumni. Goal #2: Support affinity groups in an effort to encourage engagement from various groups of alumni. Goal #3: To engage with the greater Holy Cross community (students, faculty, staff, administration, parents, etc.) and networks.
Over the years, offering programs that engage alumni with the College have given individuals a value-added benefit of being part of the Holy Cross Family. The Committee believes that with the wide variety of affordable technologies available today, there is a great opportunity for connecting with alumni. Alumni Relations has already begun this effort and the Career Advisory Program was identified frequently in the prioritization of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The two areas most often cited as being of interest were programs related to Spirituality and Career Advisory Services. On-site events and gatherings as well as online offerings were suggested. It was also noted that using technology for programs would provide opportunities for Regional Clubs to engage alumni in a meaningful way. Goal #1: To provide additional spirituality events/opportunities for alumni and to increase the HCAA spirituality presence. Goal #2: To increase awareness of Alumni Career Services and engage alumni and students at various stages of their career paths using a broad variety of resources and programs. Goal #3: To increase and sustain active involvement in Regional Clubs by expanding programming that appeals to a broad and diverse alumni audience
Within the Infrastructure Theme, a major strength is the Alumni Relations Staff and the work that they do with and for alumni. The Strategic Planning Committee recognizes that in order to be successful in this area, however, the HCAA must continue to support the Office and ensure that as new programs are developed, the corresponding staffing and support from and for the HCAA will exist. Consequently, as needs for resources are identified, the HCAA will need to work with the College in order to explore means of meeting them. Additionally, the Committee structure of the HCAA should be examined in order to ensure that the configuration meets our current and ongoing requirements. Finally, recruiting and matching alumni to assignments that complement their interest and skills will result in the most effective use of their volunteer time. Goal #1: To ensure, through review and communication, continuation of sufficient resources to support the HCAA programs/activities. Goal #2: To update and improve the HCAA Committee structure and operation
Based on the analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and anecdotal comments from past and future HCAA Presidents, the Strategic Planning Committee perceives a need to address the manner in which leaders are prepared to assume the duties of their office within the HCAA. In this regard, training should extend to the Board as well as others with an interest in becoming involved with the leadership of the HCAA. Looking at how this is accomplished at Holy Cross’s peer schools might provide valuable insight as the HCAA explores this need in the near future. Goal #1: To better identify alumni for leadership roles (Officers, Board & Committee Chairs, Committee Members and Regional Club Volunteers). Goal #2: To offer skills training for all volunteers and leaders (Officers, Board & Committee Chairs and Committee Members and Regional Club Volunteers).
Financial viability, accountability, and sustainability need to be addressed in the immediate future. In the analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, the recent Credit Card revenue issue was often mentioned as the catalyst for moving ahead with projects to identify alternate sources of revenue. Regarding Financial Operations, there was a strong interest in working with recipients of HCAA grant funds to ensure accountability with respect to outcomes of projects receiving funding. Finally, as with HCAA leadership succession planning, the Strategic Planning Committee concluded that this should also occur with the Finance Committee/Leadership. Goal #1: To ensure the ability of the HCAA to carry out long term plans, programs & objectives. Goal #2: To continue ongoing studies about future funding and support for HCAA programs and activities.