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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

Club, CORP & Group Volunteers

Group of alumnae at an event
 

Smith clubs, affinity groups and special interest groups around the world host a variety of events—receptions, book clubs, community service projects, museum visits—that provide opportunities to connect with the college, alums, faculty and students. In addition, the Committee on Regional Participation (CORP) is a dedicated committee of volunteers who engage with alums and solicit support of the college on a regional basis. Whether you’re looking for a long-term commitment, to help plan a get-together in your area or to share your story with local students, here’s how to get involved. We are deeply grateful for your commitment of time, effort and energy.

Planning An Event

Clubs and groups engage in events that enhance the alum connection with the college and each other. Programs may vary in an effort to provide meaningful experiences for folks with different interests. Examples include:

  • organizing a book club
  • sending care packages to students
  • engaging in community service
  • creating theme-based sub-groups for investing, cooking, knitting and crafts, walking/hiking
  • social events such as bowling, after work meet-ups, game night (including Smithopoly!) and museum and sports outings
  • organizing a panel of alums with similar fields of interest or expertise, such as folks in science, law, education, the arts, or health and wellness
  • celebrating Smith traditions such as Mountain Day, Julia Child Day, Christmas Vespers, Cromwell Day and Rally Day

Publicizing Your Event

Does your club or group have an event you want to publicize? Contact the Office of Alumnae Relationsand Development at alumclub@smith.edu for support. 

For tips to increase event attendance and membership, see Communications.

Insurance coverage for all club events is provided under the college’s liability policy. See Volunteer Resources for more information.

For more ideas, see Additional Resources for Clubs & Groups. We encourage you to connect with fellow club leaders for advice and brainstorming on ideas and best practices. The Office of Alumnae Relations and Development staff can offer you support in planning a program.


Scholarship Fundraisers

Fundraising for Smith College was historically one of the primary purposes of Smith clubs and has been an important and appreciated source of financial support for the college. Alums have always been passionate about supporting Smith scholarships, and alum groups and clubs have been doing innovative, effective fundraisers for the cause. There are a variety of ways in which you can help young women enjoy the benefits of a Smith education. 

To add your club fundraiser idea to this page, please email alumclub@smith.edu.

S’mints

The Smith College Club of the North Shore offers S’mints—handmade dark chocolates imprinted with an image of the Grécourt Gates. Available in original peppermint crunch and orange crunch.

Desk Calendars

For decades, the Smith College Club of Milwaukee has sold desk calendars across the state.

Enstrom’s Toffee

The Smith College Club of Colorado offers Enstrom’s gourmet toffee each holiday season. The almond-chocolate toffee is a wonderful treat!

Smith Aprons

The Smith College Club of Southeastern Connecticut created a wonderful red apron with “Smith Cooks” written on the front.

Tote Bags

The Smith College Club of Fairfield County created a nautical-inspired canvas tote bag with “Smith College” printed on it.

Pecans for scholarships started in 1951 with the Smith College Club of Westchester County and has since become an annual fundraising tradition for numerous clubs across the country. Typically sold during the late fall, the pecans now come in a variety of flavors, including chocolate-covered and cinnamon-glazed. The following clubs sell pecans, and many will ship.

New England

Smith College Club of Belmont | Smith College Club of Cape Cod | Smith College Club of Franklin County | Smith College Club West of Boston | Smith College Club of Greenwich-Stamford | Smith College Club of Southeastern Connecticut | Smith College Club of Southeastern Massachusetts | Smith College Club of Maine

New Jersey

Princeton Area Smith College Club | Watchung Hills Smith Club

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Smith College Club

Washington

Smith College Club of Washington, D.C.

New York

Smith College Club of New York City | Smith College Club of Schenectady | Westchester Smith College Club

Florida

Smith College Club of the Treasure Coast

Indiana

Smith College Club of Indianapolis

Ohio

Smith College Club of Cincinnati | Smith College Club of Akron | Smith College Club of Columbus


Club Officer Roles

Smith clubs are geographically based alum communities that serve to connect Smithies to one another and to the college. There are more than 100 Smith clubs worldwide, varying in size and scope depending on their region. Each club is led by an executive board of officers. These roles can vary by club but often include a president, vice president, program chair, treasurer and secretary. We invite you to join this important part of the Smith community! Whether you are interested in an officer role or helping out with programs from time to time, there are many different ways to be involved. Connect with your local club board to learn more about how you can deepen your Smith connections and be an ambassador for the college right where you live.

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Presides at all official meetings
  • Maintains regular contact with executive committee members to receive updates
  • Keeps records of important publications and communications with officers, members and the Office of Alumnae Relations and Development
  • In consultation with the executive committee, the president is empowered to appoint someone to fill a vacancy/resignation 
  • Attends club leadership meetings run by the Office of Alumnae Relations and Development and mentors new and prospective volunteers

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Acts for the president if the president is unable to fulfill their responsibilities
  • Acts as program chair and organizes, plans and schedules events, including serving as the primary source for event information
  • Oversees events budget
  • Selects committees to help organize various events as needed
  • Coordinates with the alumnae admissions coordinator to plan events for prospective students

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Sets financial guidelines for the management of funds and ensures that the guidelines are ratified by the officers
  • Sets the dues rate for the organization, in conjunction with other officers, and solicits dues on a regular schedule
  • Pays all authorized bills and volunteer reimbursements efficiently and ensures that the club has a firm financial base to launch annual programs
  • Submits an annual financial report to the president, club members and the Office of Alumnae Relations and Development annually
  • Follows rules regarding disclosure of the group’s financial status, in accordance with laws governing tax-exempt status

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Designs programming that appeals to young alums and works to boost young alum membership
  • Acts as a liaison between young alums and the executive board

Term: Varies by club

Contact: Admissions Office, Lia Brassord

Responsibilities:

  • Contacts students whose names appear on inquiry and search cards
  • Offers interviews to all applicants and encourages acceptances
  • Conducts special recruiting programs for prospective applicants
  • Attends college fairs and high school programs
  • Assists an admissions traveler visiting her area

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Works on the newsletter
  • Maintains the website and social media presence

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Keeps a permanent record of minutes of all organization and executive committee meetings
  • Keeps a complete, up-to-date membership list (if no membership chair is elected)
  • Notifies members (or all area alums) of the year’s programs and meetings
  • Reports all changes of address to the records department
  • Forwards appropriate materials to the Office of Alumnae Relations and Development and/or the Smith College Archives

Term: Varies by club

Contact: alumclub@smith.edu

Responsibilities:

  • Calls for nominations
  • Determines the slate; depending on organization bylaws, a single or double slate election process is required
  • Contacts nominees and sends position descriptions
  • Submits the slate to the organization’s president and the Office of Alumnae Relations and Development; the slate should be published in the final newsletter
  • Ensures that the slate is voted on at the annual meeting or by mail-in ballot

Committee on Regional Participation (CORP) Volunteer Roles

CORP volunteers connect with fellow alums and solicit support of the college on a regional basis.

Term: 3 years

Contact: Amy Altwarg, Director of Volunteer Engagement; aaltwarg@smith.edu or 413-585-2664

Responsibilities:

  • Connect with, solicit and thank assigned prospects
  • Act as ambassadors by sharing information about priorities and initiatives at Smith
  • Promote the importance of participation
  • Serve as role models through your own philanthropic commitment to Smith, including an annual gift to The Smith Fund

Tools and Resources for Clubs & Groups

Not every club has bylaws. Above all, bylaws should state that the club is organized to further the well-being of Smith College and operates exclusively for educational and charitable purposes.

In furthering the well-being of the college, the organization should keep in mind such goals as:

  • Fostering a spirit of friendship among graduates and former students
  • Extending the aims and achievements of the college
  • Promoting and encouraging communications between the college, the AASC and the organization
  • Delineating the primary responsibility of each officer position
  • Outlining the process for holding regular meetings of the club and of the executive committee

Organization bylaws should also indicate the following:

  • What constitutes a quorum
  • Processes for election of officers
  • Appointment and formation of a nominating committee
  • Provisions for setting the dues fee
  • Provisions for dissolution of the organization
  • The process for amending the bylaws

Organization bylaws must have a paragraph that prohibits inurement. All club officers must understand that failure to comply with the following five items will jeopardize the tax-exempt status of an organization:

  • No part of organization earnings may benefit any member, director, officer or other private individual.
  • The organization officers are authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered.
  • No activities of the organization shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.
  • The organization cannot participate in or intervene in any campaign for public office.
  • Nothing in the bylaws could be read as authorizing or permitting the organization to operate other than exclusively for charitable or educational purposes within the regulations of tax-exempt 501c(3) status.

Organizations are asked to file any amended bylaws with the AASC.

July
Update your list of club volunteers on your website and send a copy to the AASC.
Schedule a meeting with the old and new board and follow the Transition Checklist.
August
Request a list of incoming students in your area. Host a student send-off party.
Plan programs for the year.
Send the AASC a calendar of events to be posted on the online events calendar.
Update your website with current information.
September & October
Plan news distribution to alums: broadcast email messages, club newsletters, class website and Facebook pages.
Send care packages to students.
November
Invite prospective and current students to a holiday party.
December
Donor services sends clubs an endowed fund report for scholarship fund mailing.
January
Invite current students to winter break events.
Connect with your Alumnae Admission Coordinator (AAC) about the Smith College Book Award Program.
Update your website.
February & March
Start planning succession.
April
Donor services sends clubs an endowed fund report for scholarship fund mailing.
Send care packages to students.
May
Elect officers. Submit the officers’ contact list to the OAR after election.
June
Plan a send-off party in collaboration with your AAC.
Reach out to new graduates moving to your area.
Submit annual and financial reports by July 1.
Determine if your club is required to fill out a tax return.
  • In planning events, consider the diversity of alums in regard to race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, geography, ability, religion, single/partnered, etc. If a club can plan only one or two events per year, aim for the widest possible diversity of attendees at those events. If a club has the luxury of holding many events each year, it’s inevitable that some of those events will be more narrowly focused.
  • If possible, cover a variety of topics over each year. Suggestions include events based around art/cultural, theater/movies, food/wine, wellness/health, intellectual/literary, garden/outdoor, career/life-skills, financial planning, technology, entrepreneurship, college admissions planning, sports, local/city pride—walking tours, visiting landmarks and off-the-beaten path treasures.
  • Whenever appropriate, include news of the college and an appeal to support it financially.
  • If possible, always include enough time for socializing. Smithies love to meet and network with other Smithies.
  • Your group may want to choose a theme for each year’s series of events. Keep up with campus happenings that might translate into a theme.
  • Offer events at different price points, always making them as inclusive as possible.
  • If your club covers a wide geographical area or a large city, plan events in different areas. You’ll be more likely to see different faces.
  • Select the best date: take into account holidays, religious observances and conflicting local events.
  • Collaborate with other women’s colleges groups, Seven Sister alum groups and Ivy League groups.
  • Plan events around an alum’s exhibit, concert, lecture, workshop, performance or reading.
  • Create a special event to benefit student scholarships if your club awards scholarship monies, or to build awareness and support of The Smith Fund.
  • Smith in the Community: co-sponsor events with a local girls’ school, organization that supports women and girls, local college or university, or any community organization already planning to sponsor an event related to/focused on women and girls, education, or other issues of interest to alumnae.
  • Network with other club leaders through the Facebook group “Smith College Club Leadership.” Join other clubs’ Facebook pages. Check the Office of Alumnae Relations Events Calendar to see what other clubs are doing.
  • Keep up with two additional alumnae groups on Facebook:

Now that you are the leader of an alum club or group, we want to help you implement a smooth leadership transition. We’ve put together a checklist that both the incoming and outgoing leaders should review.

Checklist for Incoming Leaders

  • Set up a meeting with the outgoing leader to go over questions and topics
  • Collect club documents from the previous leader
  • Schedule a meeting of new and old board/leadership committee members
  • Review the available resources on the OAR Club Resources page
  • Schedule a call with the assistant director for alumnae engagement
  • Send a list of current club leaders so that the OAR has accurate records
  • Introduce yourself to alums via a newsletter, broadcast email and/or Facebook post

Helpful Discussion Topics

The following questions and topics are a guide to help you think about your new role. They may also help guide your discussion with your predecessor.

Overview of the Local Club

  • What is the club's mission?
  • How do your describe your club?
  • What's unique about alumnae in your area?
  • When was the last time alums were asked for programming ideas or to complete a survey?

Programming

  • Does the club have a flagship program, such as an annual event, a regular fundraiser or book club?
  • What are some of the club’s fundraising programs?

Goals

  • What are your goals as club leader?
  • What are the aspects of club leadership that you like? What aspects are more challenging?

Leadership & Governance

  • What is the structure of the board or leadership committee? What support is in place for you?
  • What do you think would be the ideal leadership structure?
  • What is the process for board or leadership development?
  • Check club bylaws. Is an all-club meeting required annually?

Communications

  • What is the most effective form of communication with club members?
  • When do you send club news?
  • What kind of information do you send in broadcast emails?
  • Who keeps the club’s website up-to-date?
  • Does the club have an email account and Facebook page? Who responds to emails and posts messages?

Challenges

  • What are the biggest hurdles (communication, volunteers, venues) you have?
  • What ideas do you have to overcome challenges?
  • What is your annual club timeline?

Finances

  • What are some best practices for money management?
  • Who can sign checks and access accounts?
  • How do you handle revenue, dues and expenses?
  • Does the club have a tax-exempt status?
  • Is your club a 501©(3)?
  • Does the club have any scholarship funds?

Resources

  • What are the resources and support from the OAR?
  • Where can you get a list of club leaders in your region?
  • Are there any past club leaders who could be a resource for you?
  • Are there any college trustees or AASC board members (current or past) in your area?

Important Club Documents

  • Bylaws (if any) and amendments
  • Determination letter, tax ID documents, EIN
  • Copy of past annual and financial reports (should be on file at the OAR)
  • Board/leadership meeting minutes
  • Club files history, newsletters, etc.
  • List of current board/leadership committee members with contact information and term dates
  • Electronic files and folders, with passwords if applicable

Schedule Meeting of New & Old

  • Send the agenda and assignments prior to the meeting
  • Review leaders’ and volunteers’ responsibilities
  • Review nominating/election process
  • Strategize for the coming year and set goals
  • Develop yearly budget

Smith College Book Awards recognize outstanding young women in your communities. Awards are not only an excellent way to congratulate students on their academic and personal achievements, but they also increase Smith’s name recognition in high schools and encourage young women to consider Smith as their college of choice.

Smith clubs sponsor the awards and select the high schools. Recipients are chosen by school personnel. The books are awarded to high school sophomores or juniors, usually at a school’s awards assembly in the spring. Recipients receive a book selected by the organization. Smith clubs need only raise money for the purchase of the books presented at the award ceremony.

Each spring the Office of Admission sends a packet of information about book awards to Alumnae Admission Coordinators (AACs). The packet includes:

  • guidelines for contacting schools
  • a sample letter to send to schools
  • a list of books written by Smith College alums and faculty
  • a book awards recipients sheet

Please consult the admission office when establishing new book awards to avoid duplicating an award already given by another group. If your club is interested in sponsoring a book award, please contact your NAAC, AAC or the Office of Admission. Affinity groups interested in this program should work with a local Smith club to coordinate efforts.

Financial Records

Organization treasurers maintain the treasury for the duration of their term. The Office of Alumnae Relations recommends maintaining records on a computer accounting/spreadsheet system. For treasurers who do not have access to a computer, financial records must be maintained in accordance with standard accounting practices. Organization funds are to be used solely to benefit the organization.

Tips for Maintaining a Club Treasury

Caroline Carbaugh ’66, longtime treasurer of the Washington, D.C., club, shares the following tips:

  • Open or update a specified checking account; have several authorized signers, but one signature on a check is sufficient.
  • Develop a budget to control income and expenses and identify sources of income and categories for expenses.
  • Document all treasury transactions.
    • Record sources of income and amounts.
    • Always get copies of receipts and documentation.
    • Balance checkbook monthly and produce a monthly or periodic report with starting and ending balances.

Notes on Event Management

  • Track responses: name, address, number of reservations, amount of donations, amount paid, when received, when deposited.
  • Make deposits and pay all bills.
  • Provide information on tax-deductible amounts to attendees or donors.
  • Produce a final report for events, including the number of reservations, income, expenses, profits or losses.

Special Assistance for Club Treasurers

Finance professional Katie Naughton ’70 has served as treasurer for both the Smith College Club of New York City and the Smith College Club of Hampshire County. She is available for consultation on financial and tax issues. (Please note that up to five hours of consultation are covered by the college; additional time must be paid by the club.)

Bank Accounts

The treasurer should open a bank account in the name of the organization (not a personal account) as the principal signature authority with a second officer, usually the president, also having authority. To open a bank account, the treasurer will need its organization bylaws and the following:

  • Tax number (Employer Identification number (EIN) or Tax Payer Identification Number (TIN)). Go to www.irs.gov and click on the link to apply for an EIN online.
  • The organization’s 501c(3) or 501c(7) tax-exempt number, if applicable.

Setting & Collecting Dues

The treasurer solicits member dues on a regular schedule. It is the general practice to solicit dues in a newsletter, although an organization may also send a separate mailing to alums just for this purpose. The range of dues is $20 to $75 annually. The treasurer maintains records of dues received.

The AASC suggests the following basic guidelines:

  • Consider the size of your organization, the financial health of your treasury, and regular and projected expenditures when setting dues.
  • Include a personal note with clear instructions and details about the use of dues. Provide an addressed return envelope.
  • Offer discounts for members at events or for alums who pay dues prior to the beginning of the fiscal year.
  • Recognize alums who have paid dues in your newsletter.
  • Provide a complimentary copy of your club directory.

Tools and Resources for CORP Volunteers

Resources available for CORP volunteers in Google Drive.