There are many reasons why a singer chooses to leave a chorus; perhaps because of finances, family life, time commitment, age, or it's simply their time to go. But even if a singer chooses to leave the chorus, it doesn't always mean they want to stop being involved in the organization altogether.
Many singers, even after leaving an organization, still want to feel connected and involved with the organization on some level. That's why it is important to consider engaging your alumni in ways outside of being a formal member of the chorus.
Tap into the potential of alumni relations with these ideas!
1. Designate an Alumni Relations Chair
Find a volunteer to take on the role of Alumni Relations Chair which will help keep all former singers engaged and active in your chorus community. This person will be responsible for managing alumni data and communications.
2. Update Your Member Database
Keep all alumni in your member database, but instead of listing as an "active" member, list as an "alumni." This will allow you to appropriately segment your data.
3. Add Singer to Alumni Email List
Ask the leaving singer if they would like to stay on your alumni list for chorus communications. If they say yes, subscribe them to an "alumni marketing list" in your email marketing platform.
4. Keep Alumni Involved in Informal Chorus Communities
Does your chorus have a Facebook group for choristers or some time of Meetup group for socializing? These are usually communities that function as a way for the chorus to socialize outside of rehearsals and performances. Keep your alumni included in these communities so that they can stay connected to their fellow singers and friends.
5. Check in Annually
Not all alumni want to be alumni for forever; some people are only taking a break from the chorus! The Alumni Relations Chair should check in from time to time (annually at least) to see how the alumni are doing and ask if they plan to rejoin the chorus. (Of course, if someone has said they would not like to rejoin, this request should be respected.)
6. Send Holiday Announcements to Alumni
If you have your alumni birthdays or chorus anniversaries in the database, be sure to send an email announcement or card to them on their special day!
7. Reach Out to Alumni for the Chorus's Annual Fund
Alumni can be a great source of giving. Be sure to include them in your chorus's annual fund and drive. Consider also reaching out when you have specific donor or sponsor opportunities throughout the year.
8. Invite Alumni to Your Annual Meeting
Keep alumni engaged in the chorus operations by inviting them to your annual meeting.
9. Ask Alumni to Be Board Members
Sometimes members leave because they aren't able to sing or attend rehearsals, but they'd still like to be involved with the organization in a leadership capacity. Why not invite them to join the board as a non-member?
10. Ask Alumni to Volunteer
In a similar light, alumni can be perfect for volunteer positions within the organization. Ask them to serve on your volunteer committees or to help at a specific chorus event.
11. Ask for Feedback
Your alumni can be a great source for feedback on chorus operations. When a singer decides to leave the chorus, ask for feedback as to why they've left. This can help you learn how to retain singers in the future. If the chorus is looking to improve operations or rebrand the organization, ask for feedback from your alumni to get an outside perspective.
12. Recruit Alumni as Ringers
When you need to grow your chorus numbers for a specific performance, you can ask your alumni to be ringers for the performance.
13. Take Alumni on Tour
Is your chorus going on tour? Help boost your passenger count by asking alumni to join either as singers or supporters.
14. Invite Alumni to Chorus Concerts & Events
Keep your alumni informed of upcoming concerts. Also, invite them to chorus-only social or informal singing events!
15. Highlight Alumni on Your Website
Do you highlight your chorus members on your website, blog, or social channels? Try highlighting your alumni as well! This will make them feel appreciated for their years of dedication to the organization.
16. Start an Alumni Choir
This is a good option for school or university choruses in which the singers leave the chorus when they leave the school. If alumni still live in the area, an alumni choir might be a great option for keeping them singing and engaged!
How do you keep your chorus's alumni engaged? Let us know in the comments!