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Tools for Volunteers

Alumnae talking during Reunion

Smith is as strong as it is because of the work of volunteers. From recruiting students to raising funds for important initiatives, there are myriad ways for you to make a meaningful difference at Smith and in the lives of students and fellow alumnae. When alumnae work together for Smith, anything is possible.


Managing Volunteers

Finding Volunteers

  • Give members opportunities to sign up on a club dues form, at an event, or through a survey.
  • Ask other Smith women if they know of anyone who would be a good volunteer.
  • Approach a potential volunteer personally. Let her know that her skills, talents and expertise would benefit Smith.
  • Follow up on all offers of help. Don’t lose the chance; timing is key.
  • Break major jobs into smaller ones. People are more likely to sign up for a minor task than to assume major responsibility.
  • Appoint co-chairs rather than a single chairperson. It’s more fun and less onerous to share a job with someone else. Remember: focus on fun and friendship.

Fostering Leadership

  • Listen to volunteers and be receptive to different ideas.
  • Support, praise and thank volunteers for their efforts.
  • Pair experienced volunteers with new ones, older with younger.
  • Vary the tasks or reapportion them every so often so no one does the same thing event after event or year after year.
  • Provide clear communication regarding duties and deadlines to promote a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
  • Always try to give volunteers assignments for which they have an aptitude or expertise.
  • Contact the Office of Alumnae Relations for advice, support and suggestions.


There are a variety of ways for classes, clubs and groups to share their Smith-related news and communications. Be sure to use your class website and local Smith club for your communications. 

Broadcast Emails & Newsletters

Smith can send broadcast emails on behalf of your club or group. Contact Emails must adhere to our established standards, and cannot contain offensive or libelous content. Email messages must refrain from editorializing or making judgments about Smith College programs or policies. The content of emails must be related to Smith College or alumnae business or events. External links in emails must direct to appropriate websites.

Please reach out directly to your class manager with questions related to class communications and newsletters. Class managers will work with class presidents to ensure that each class has the opportunity to send an email newsletter twice each year.

Email request guidelines

Emails are sent on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays whenever possible, as these days generally garner the best open rates. If you would prefer to have your email sent on a specific day and time, feel free to indicate that. Due to the volume of email requests, please provide at least one week notice for emails to be designed and proofed before sending.

In your email request, include:

  • A subject line for the email.
  • The address to which the replies should be sent.  The email must come from as it has gone through a specific vetting process so it won’t get blacklisted.
  • The final text of the email, either in a Word or Pages document
  • Any images that you want to be included. The larger the image, the easier it is to resize it to the correct proportions without distorting the image.
  • Submit your email request using this Google Form

If you need assistance please contact


The Office of Alumnae Relations and Development offers a free, easy-to-use template-based system for classes, clubs and groups. This system is built on the WordPress publishing platform. All pages share a common look and feel and the maintainer simply needs to add text and images to create or update any of the pages.

Social Media

Consider using social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to increase your group’s visibility. The college does not offer support for class, club or group social media pages. 

Encourage Updated Information

Encourage alums to keep their information current in the Alumnae Directory, as this is the resource for email and home addresses used by clubs, affinity groups and classes. Alums can log in to the Alumnae Directory to update their own contact information and stay connected with friends, classmates and other alums.

    The Smith College logo and wordmark should be a significant graphic element on all printed materials and websites. Several different versions of the logo are available; when in doubt as to which you should use, please contact College Relations.


    Volunteer Resources

    Treasurers should make clear to other class officers the system for reimbursing expenses. All invoices should be in the name of the organization. Invoices are payable only after they have been approved by the authorizing officer. The treasurer should also make clear to all officers the amount of discretionary money that is available for them to spend on a particular project.

    The executive committee of officers generally determines the guidelines concerning the expenses of volunteers. The AASC offers the following suggestions:

    • Develop a routine system for reimbursing volunteers.
    • Include receipts for all reimbursement requests, accompanied by an explanation of how/when the expense was incurred.


    Smith clubs and groups are automatically covered by the college’s general liability policy; however, organizations may be asked by a vendor (such as a hotel) to provide evidence of insurance to comply with a specific contract. In this case, a certificate of insurance can be issued on the organization’s behalf. These requests may be sent to

    Please supply the following: organization name, contact person, description of event, date, time and location.

    Smith College’s Liability Policy

    Smith College’s general liability policy covers each Smith organization for amounts it may be legally obligated to pay as compensation to an injured party for bodily injury, personal injury, property damage or advertising injury.

    There is no coverage for taxes, fines, civil or criminal penalties, cost of compliance for non-monetary awards or any other uninsurable matter.

    An individual alum is covered under the college’s general liability policy “while acting within the scope of her duties or while acting at the direction of or performing services for or on behalf of that Included Entity (Smith College).”

    There is no territorial restriction in this policy and coverage is worldwide. There is also no exclusion of coverage for a claim brought because of an accident resulting from alcohol being served at an event. The AASC does, however, have clear guidelines around the service of alcohol at a club event.

    Accidents & Claims

    Any demand in writing is considered a claim by our underwriters (it does not have to be a suit). Any claim, regardless of cause of loss, should be immediately telephoned and sent to the Five College Risk Management Office (see address below) and to the AASC. A copy of the claim should also be sent to the treasurer or CFO of the college.

    Auto Accidents

    The college has extended its auto policies so that organizations have non-owned auto coverage. This provides coverage over members’ personal auto policies.

    Additional Coverage or Claims

    Smith clubs with specific questions regarding policy exclusions or claims, please contact:

    Ruth Rauluk
    Director of Risk Management
    Five Colleges, Incorporated


    Additional Resources for Clubs & Groups

    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

    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.
    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.
    Invite prospective and current students to a holiday party.
    Donor services sends clubs an endowed fund report for scholarship fund mailing.
    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.
    Donor services sends clubs an endowed fund report for scholarship fund mailing.
    Send care packages to students.
    Elect officers. Submit the officers’ contact list to the OAR after election.
    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.

    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?


    • 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?


    • 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?


    • 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?

    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.)


    Contact Office of Alumnae Relations & Development

    Alumnae House

    33 Elm Street

    Smith College

    Northampton, MA 01060