With more than 76,000 alumni of Catholic schools in the Diocese contacted and over $185,000 in gifts received since the program was launched in 2012, the inaugural years of the Catholic Alumni Partnership could be considered a success.
But organizers are not ready to rest on their laurels, so to speak.
“It’s not just about the money. It’s really about finding ways to get alumni engaged in their schools and getting their guidance as we reach out to other alumni,” said Stephen Nicholl, director of the diocesan Department of Development, which oversees CAP.
As the new school year approaches, program leaders updated the results of the first-year efforts and pointed to future initiatives including finding new ways to connect with alumni and working with schools to bolster alumni engagement – as well as to increase the visibility and awareness of the CAP program.
Since the program’s inception, four letters have been sent to some 76,000 alumni of the Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Trenton. And these efforts have helped to yield donations that will make their way right back to the classrooms the alumni once occupied.
“All of the gifts go back to the schools to use where it is needed most,” said Alicia Plaag, coordinator of CAP. “Many have indicated that the money will go towards improvements and programs such as science labs, establishing a tablet program, new computers, etc.”
The principals write every letter that goes out to their alumni – giving highlights of what is going on throughout the year, she added.
“We have been meeting with the principals and discussing how they can further engage their alumni and many are already doing so by forming committees to develop outreach strategies, alumni gatherings and getting alumni involved with their schools.”
Some ways alumni are getting engaged in their schools are by attending Masses, graduations and other events such as career days, Nicholl shared.
The CAP program welcomed more than 1,200 new members to the alumni associations of Catholic schools in the Diocese with recent eighth grade graduates. Each graduate received a crucifix blessed by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as well as a note of welcome into the alumni association of their school.
The CAP program is being initiated in several dioceses across the nation – and the local program actively reaches out to counterparts elsewhere to learn best practices.
“This new year, our focus will be on more targeted outreach and marketing of the CAP program for our schools,” Plaag shared. “We are continually looking for ways to find those ‘lost’ alumni (who) may have not been included in the original files submitted.”
Schools are searching for all of their old alumni data and submitting it to CAP so program staff can find the current addresses and begin engaging with more alumni.
“The real value with CAP is engaging and integrating alumni to support and get involved with their alma mater,” Plaag said. “We want the word to get out about the program.”
Alumni can connect with CAP at www.capdot.org or they can contact their alma mater directly. Anyone with questions about the program can contact Alicia Plaag at 609-403-7218.