News from Alumni House

AYA: big plans for the next five years

Developing a strategic plan.


When I talk to my Yale friends and acquaintances about my involvement in the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA), I often hear "What is the AYA and what does it do?" The AYA Board of Governors had the same questions. What is our purpose? What should we be doing? Where are we doing well? What could we do that would benefit our alumni and the university?

To answer these questions, the Board of Governors developed the first-ever strategic plan for the AYA. We spent a year talking with alumni volunteers and delegates to the AYA Assembly; we reviewed information about the programs and services the AYA already offers to alumni; we evaluated our infrastructure and tools; we reviewed the level and type of alumni involvement in clubs, associations, and classes; and we examined other universities' alumni activity.

We learned that our alumni want:

  • greater ways to serve Yale and to be served by Yale that vary by age group and by situation (in other words, one size doesn’t fit all)
  • education, service to Yale, networking and association with Yale, social interaction
  • better staff support and technological tools to support volunteer activities
  • to see the much-discussed "shared interest groups" strategy take off
  • programs that meet their interests—not what someone guesses those interests to be
  • to be accountable for results in their volunteer activities


The result of this analysis was Ambassadors for Yale: the AYA Strategic Plan, which was approved by the Board of Governors a year ago. The plan lays out an exciting future for the AYA. We challenged ourselves to explore possibilities that resulted in a plan to transform the AYA to better serve alumni and to be more attentive to alumni needs and interests. University leadership, the officers, and the Corporation have also been extremely supportive of the plan. In broad terms, the AYA strategic plan is focused on:

  • serving all alumni
  • supporting the development of shared interest and identity groups
  • developing age-tailored programming
  • expanding educational opportunities and exploring the use of new media
  • increasing support to clubs in our major cities, where almost half of Yale’s alumni live
  • looking for new services or benefits that would be of value to alumni
  • finding ways to tap the human capital of our alumni to help Yale be a better place
  • improving communications from Yale to alumni, so you are up to date with what’s going on


So what’s new? In our first year of strategic plan activity, a number of innovative ideas have already been executed: the first-ever Yale Service Corps trip to the Dominican Republic (see "Working Vacation,” May/June 2008); a wonderful pilot program by our Connecticut clubs for a Yale Day of Service, which will roll out globally in spring 2009; a first-ever alumni exchange with Australia National University; support for the roll-out of Yale lectures on iTunes University; and the formation of the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni. The list goes on.

I see a world of possibilities for Yale alumni. The Board of Governors of the AYA has provided focus, direction, and some initial (albeit pretty big) ideas. What will be the key to our success? You—our Yale alumni. We need you to bring your time, leadership skills, and creative talents to making possibilities become a reality. AYA staff members are building tools and the technology infrastructure to make your job as a volunteer easier and training to help you navigate the often challenging world of volunteer leadership.

So I hope you step up, get active, and participate in the fun. Boola Boola.


The comment period has expired.