November 26, 2020
If you could build the Up with People International Alumni Association (UWPIAA) from scratch, what would it look like?
This is the guiding question the IAA Future Committee used as it created a vision and plan for the new UWPIAA. The multi-era committee of 15 alumni not on the UWPIAA Board of Governors (BOG), from four continents and nine countries, have spent over 800 volunteer hours brainstorming, discussing and developing new ideas under three main areas – Events, Communications and Business Development.
Recently, the IAA Future Committee presented the following summary of the broader options and the ideas which support them. It’s important to note: All of the ideas researched and presented were in alignment with the alumni survey response from last winter, which received 800+ responses. The Future Committee received a unanimous vote from the BOG in favor of pursuing and developing the following:
Events – Create Impactful, Diverse, Worldwide Events
Currently the status quo for UWPIAA events is to have the annual reunion each year. The direction chosen was to expand the IAA event offerings to a full calendar of global in-person events and online programs covering a wide range of topics. Some ideas included a 24-hour virtual global celebration, worldwide educational programs, and creating global community impact events by partnering with charities and organizations for celebrations like Earth Day and World Singing Day. The vision for reunion is to have it become an annual event outside the United States, on a different continent each year, with a full week of activities including exclusive pre- and post- tours in the area, community service opportunities and time to gather with cast and alumni friends.
Communications – Engage Alumni via Preferred Channels and to Obtain Communications Assistance
Currently the main channels the UWPIAA reaches all alumni are via the UWPIAA Facebook page and the UpBeat newsletter. The IAA Future Committee proposed to expand our reach to alumni by engaging with them by their preferred social media channels and SMS, to create a more robust website that not only encompasses alumni news, but also includes alumni survey requested areas for a communal calendar, cultural sharing and education areas, alumni database with search features, in memoriam section, and place for discussions. One of the first goals of 2021 is to reenergize and reengage the cast rep and regional networks with special summits. The IAA Future Committee also recommended to the UWPIAA BOG that they consider contracting out a portion of our social media efforts and database needs to maintain the quality of the platforms and timeliness of responses.
Business Development – Create Innovative Alternate Revenue Streams
The findings from the alumni survey showed that the alumni expect the UWPIAA to come up with other ways to make income than just reunion. The vison of how the IAA of future could conduct business is by monetizing different aspects of the website and various activities and events, while still keeping the main platform free and accessible to all. Many alumni have expressed interest in an Alumni Marketplace where alumni products and services can be showcased. The idea to sell ad space could be considered to cover the expenses of running the website. Several ways to add value and generate revenue around events include selling preferred seating, pre- and post- event tours, and drop-shipped alumni merchandise.
After the vote to proceed by the UWPIAA BOG, the next steps for the IAA Future Committee is to draft an implementation/operation/business plan, complete with timelines and budget items, to bring before the UWPIAA BOG for a vote mid-March 2021.
We are excited about the possibilities the future holds and look forward to creating a new and vibrant space where you, the alumni of our organization can connect, collaborate and interact! Please share your ideas as well so that we may continue to hear from our constituents as we design the path forward by emailing email@example.com.