Affinity Group Proposal Guidelines

What do affinity groups do?
Affinity groups support community building and provide visibility and practical support to alumni and friends around the world. Affinity groups:
  • Act as advocates for the University of Iowa.
  • Encourage UI alumni and friends to maintain an active relationship with the university and each other.
  • Facilitate events and programming focused on increasing involvement within all alumni age groups and for diversified interest areas.
  • Foster a spirit of camaraderie among alumni who share similar interests.
  • Inspire and support students.
  • Receive access to services, benefits, and support from the UI.
  • Strengthen the alumni community and its relationship to the university.
  • Engage in intellectual, cultural, and athletic life, as well as social and networking opportunities, to enhance professional development.
  • Enhance and enrich the scholarly and cultural resources of the UI.

What are some questions to consider when thinking about starting an affinity group?
  • What are the group’s goals? Do they align with the university’s goals?
  • Can an existing group or university entity accomplish these goals?
  • How is the group different from other alumni affinity groups?
  • Is there sufficient interest among alumni to support the new group?
  • Is this a viable short-term and/or long-term organization?
  • How would this group offer value to the university?
  • What affinity are you interested in connecting in support of the UI?
  • Are there current students on campus who can continue your group’s legacy with a similar affinity?

What are the affinity group leader expectations?
The primary leader (president, chair, or co-chair) of an affinity group is expected to:
  • Act as the main contact between the UI and the affinity group members and maintain regular contact with the staff liaison. In most cases that means at least monthly communication.
  • Respond in a timely manner (usually 48 hours) to inquiries or requests from the UI and alumni.
  • Follow the group’s governing documents and bylaws including holding elections as specified.
  • Maintain the affinity group’s good standing with the UI.
  • In most cases, devote 3-6 hours per month to this leadership position (may require more time during busy event seasons).
  • Act as a positive representative and chief ambassador for the UI.
  • Establish an affinity group board of at least four people to help guide the mission and decisions when necessary.
  • Serve as an active participant in regular board meetings providing positive leadership and direction to the group’s board.

Leadership responsibilities:
  • Schedule and preside over group meetings.
  • Solicit agenda items and distribute agenda prior to meetings.
  • Lead the board in establishing an annual plan and goals.
  • Create a calendar with timelines for each project.
  • Ensure each project has a lead with accountability for deadlines.
  • Assign responsibilities for individual duties or events and follow up on progress.
  • Appoint committee chairs (if applicable) and assist with committee member selection.
  • Ensure that all committees stay on target with specified tasks.
  • Ensure that publicity, activity reports, attendee reports, minutes, funding requests, year-end survey, and photographs are submitted in a timely manner.
  • Support alumni affinity group events and programs throughout the year.
  • Understand and uphold the university’s branding and reputation management policies.

All leaders and board members must abide by these guidelines:
  • Keep the interest of the affinity group and/or UI foremost in mind when providing assistance and avoid all conflicts of interest.
  • Adhere to UI policies and procedures and ask for clarification if you do not understand them.
  • Serve as a positive university representative and conduct yourself in an appropriate, professional manner.
  • Strive to achieve the highest quality and effectiveness in both the process and products of volunteer work without promoting any self-interest.
The UI values its volunteers and works to create services and programs to support and enhance their involvement. However, UI volunteers conducting themselves in a manner inconsistent with the university’s mission, or these expectations, may be removed as affinity group leaders.

Starting an Alumni Affinity Group
Complete the application to begin the process.

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