Create powerful alumni networks with spark collaboration.
Many alumni associations want to provide engaging networking opportunities for their members while gaining increased alumni involvement. Spark Collaboration helps meet these goals by connecting alumni for one on one meetings that not only expand their personal networks, but also enhance their engagement with the alumni group. Spark gives alumni organizations a no-risk, no-cost way to foster relationships between alumni. By systematically matching members for meetings over coffee, lunch or a video chat on their own time, members can create new connections, share ideas and experiences, grow their personal and professional networks and enhance their connection to the alumni association and the University.
Create Better Connections
Spark encourages alumni to make new connections and strengthen existing relationships – contributing to better overall engagement with the alumni group.
Share Ideas and Resources
Connecting alumni in an informal setting encourages members to share their ideas, resources, and experiences with one another.
Promote Association Goals
Creating active connections with the other alumni creates higher levels of engagement and participation in fundraising, volunteer activities and philanthropy.
How Associations Are Using Spark
Enhancing Networking Opportunities
Pairing members–whether they are across the street or across the country–allows members to meet and expand their personal and professional networks while sharing ideas and experiences across boundaries.
Creating active connections with the larger team and organization creates higher levels of engagement with other organization activities and the organization as a whole.
Connecting alumni across locations
Pairing members across regions, countries or chapters for video chats allows members to meet and expand their personal networks while sharing ideas and experiences across boundaries.
Pairing mentors with mentees
Connecting mentors with potential mentees can spark conversations that help mentees better navigate the organization while allowing mentors to help develop the next generation of participants and expand their networks.
International Federation for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, 430,000 staff and 17 million volunteers working in 189 countries. The sheer size and scope of this Movement is one of the organization’s greatest strengths, presenting significant potential for collaboration, learning and innovation. Spark Collaboration was implemented as a component of a broader Learning and Engagement Plan for Volunteering Development to create spaces where people could come together and talk, collaborate for solutions, and innovation. The initiative helped to build a sense of connectedness, unity and common purpose to the global organization. One of the more impressive outcomes has been to strengthen professional networks, benefiting both individuals and National Societies, widening the reservoir from which people can gather ideas, support and learning.
The Penn Club of Chicago
The Penn Club of Chicago represents and serves the roughly 3,000 Penn Alumni in the Chicago metropolitan area, from recent graduates of the Class of 2015 to distinguished members of the Old Guard. The Penn Club of Chicago’s mission is to create a community, in Chicago, for all alumni, incorporating social, educational, and professional activities that encompass the Penn spirit and bring awareness of Penn to the greater Chicago area. This University of Pennsylvania regional alumni club, one of many worldwide, is using Spark Collaboration to bring graduates together for face-to-face meetings to network, and share ideas. Alumni have indicated they have enjoyed meeting a variety of alumni from different fields, and participating in Spark has made them more inclined to attend other events held by the alumni club. This is representative of the impact a networking initiative between graduates of the same university can have — more professional connections and greater school pride.
What The Experts Say
Randomised Coffee Trials
Spark Collaboration was built on the success of Randomised Coffee Trials (RCTs), a manual process co-designed in 2012 by Jon Kingsbury and Michael Soto at Nesta, the UK innovation foundation. RCTs pair staff with a new coworker from across the company on a fixed interval (weekly, monthly etc) to get to know each other over coffee and learn about what projects they are working on. Nesta’s experience with RCTs was documented in the ‘Institutionalising Serendipity’ blog series and received widespread attention, being adopted by a range of organizations, including UK government bodies, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Federation for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
How Spark Works
Join. Connect. Meet Up.
Behind the scenes, the Spark Collaboration platform matches people face-to-face for real time social interactions. By meeting over coffee, lunch or video, people can create real social connections that can help them be more innovative, connected, and ultimately more productive. Spark setup is quick and easy, and allows your organization to create campaigns that reflect your unique goals.
Just a few simple steps will get you started:
- Decide who should meet. Get one department connected with another department, client, or vendor.
- Set the Specifics. Decide start and end dates, establish frequency of meet ups, and set custom rules with your own criteria. Then monitor metrics and participation.
- Get Engaged. Log in to see current and upcoming meetups and update profiles. Watch as morale, attendance and inspiration bloom in the workplace.