Chris Marshall Advancement Consulting
GPS for Alumni Relations


We are full service.

We focus on these areas for our consulting services…


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Are you focused on the most impactful initiatives to build a highly engaged alumni community? 

Alumni Relations professionals are so busy putting out the fires that they don’t have time to create a fire prevention program! 

In real estate it is “location, location, location”.  In Alumni Relations it is “focus, focus, focus”.  Our approach to strategic planning is innovative and highly adaptable.  We promote an inclusive process so that leadership and other key stakeholders are informed, involved, and invested in the success of the plan.

A great quote from organizational development and design: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  For any strategic plan to work it needs broad input and socialization.  It must be a living document that is understood and endorsed at the highest levels and referenced continually over the following three to five years in order for it to be successful.  In the end, the process will be more important than the plan itself.

We use the following three phase approach over a six-month time period:

Phase I (months 1 and 2) – Preparation and Discovery: research, assessment, and assimilation

Phase II (months 3 and 4) – Collaboration and Creation: creation of a strategic planning task force and conducting meetings and retreats for creating the strategic plan

Phase III (months 5 and 6) – Testing and Delivery: focus groups, completion of the strategic plan, and coaching for the early stages of socialization


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Is my Alumni Relations program any good?  How do I compare to my peers?  Are we using industry best practices?  Are we investing the appropriate amount of resources?  

We will conduct a comprehensive, 24-point review and assessment of your Alumni Relations program including:  staffing structure, resource allocation, engagement metrics, volunteer management, communications, alignment with internal partners, and more.   

The resulting product is a final report of observations and recommendations that will serve as a roadmap to improve your alumni engagement program and achieve measurable and positive results.



Fact #1 - “A good board should have their noses in and their fingers out.”

Fact #2 - “You get the board you deserve.”

The line between governance and management can become fuzzy at times. Every volunteer leader brings their own expectations to the role and without clear roles and operating guidelines, volunteers - and sometimes entire boards - can go rogue. Other times boards are complacent and are perfectly fine operating with the status quo. Our volunteer management consulting is designed to redirect and revive volunteer leaders in support of your mission.



We spend all this time and money trying to engage our alumni… so what?  To what end?  What are the outcomes? 

Measuring the impact of an alumni relations program is essential.  Following industry best practices, we will help you create a metrics framework, develop internal business processes for tracking and coding engagement data in your CRM, create standardized engagement reports, build a weighted alumni engagement scoring model, and analyze engagement behaviors (event attendance, volunteerism, communications, and digital outreach) and their correlation to giving.

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Correlation between event attendance, volunteerism, and giving at a large public university in the United States.



Is your Alumni Relations program completely separate from the rest of your Advancement program? Is your Alumni Relations team (and Alumni Board) stuck in the old “friendraising” mode?

- or -

Is your separate 501c3 Alumni Association and your separate 501c3 Foundation considering a closer partnership or even a merger?

We have experience working with clients in these exact scenarios and can help you turn a dysfunctional Alumni Relations program into a model that engages all alumni… but also helps your development program identify, cultivate, and steward your most important donors.



New to the field of Alumni Relations?  Need training for your staff on Alumni Relations best practices?

We can custom build a coaching and training curriculum to meet your needs.

Coaching: 1-on-1 sessions with new Alumni Relations leadership to accelerate the learning curve and get them up to speed as an integral member of the Advancement team.

Training: small or large groups, lecture format, roundtables, breakouts, retreats… we can do it all.



Trying to hire an Alumni Relations leader and need help filling the gap?

We can help stabilize your program in the interim. We offer short- and long-term staffing coverage for vacant leadership positions in Alumni Relations. Positions include:

  • Vice President

  • Associate Vice President

  • Assistant Vice President

  • Executive Director

  • Director


  • Digital Engagement

  • Social Media

  • Annual Giving

  • Crowdfunding

  • Day of Giving

  • Campaign Planning

  • Feasibility Study

  • Alumni Attitude Study

  • Alumni Data Append Services

  • Key Campus Partnerships