Charter an Alumni Association

Steps to Charter

Step One:  Establish a coordinating committee

The committee of 3-6 alumni will serve as the interim officers upon the chartering of the Association. This committee will work on association logistics to propose to the general membership. In most cases they will be responsible for the following steps to charter the alumni association. 

Step Two: Identify Association Advisor(s)

The success and strength of an alumni association greatly depends upon the selection of the alumni advisor.  The advisor serves as a permanent contact to whom association materials and memoranda are sent.  The role of the advisor, within the Society’s infrastructure is, unquestionably, one of the most important positions within Phi Theta Kappa, and this selection should not be taken lightly.

In order to ensure effective communication and continuity, we suggest an advisor of a local active chapter of Phi Theta Kappa serve as an alumni advisor or co -advisor.  If this is not possible, the advisor can often recommend a suitable advisor. University-based alumni advisors are typically staff or faculty from admissions or honors college.  

Responsibilities of the Alumni Association Advisor(s) are to:

  • Maintain permanent alumni association records including:
    • Roster of Members
    • Association financial documents
    • Roster of Past Officers
    • Roster of Outstanding Alumni
  • Distribute Society materials and certificates to alumni association members
  • Attend alumni association meetings
  • Submit new members to Headquarters
  • Oversee the completion of the Annual Alumni Report due to PTK Headquarters each spring
  • Serve as a liaison between the alumni association and active chapters in the local area
  • Serve as a liaison between the college administration and the alumni association (when applicable)
  • Oversee the chartering and induction ceremonies as well as the orientation of new alumni members

Step Three: Recruit 15 members

Campus events, networking and social media provide many opportunities to engage alumni.  The following suggestions may assist in the recruitment of association members. In most cases, the 15 charter members should include no more than 5 recent alumni – this provides stability to the association.  This requirement is not applicable for university-based associations.  

  • The best place to begin is with the chapter advisor(s) to connect with alumni who have been engaged throughout the years.  
  • Attend chapter meetings and distribute alumni association information to interested members.
  • Co-host inductions and banquets with active chapters and regional events.  While doing so, identify potential members.
  • Set up a table during a meeting or commencement practices on college campuses to let graduating members know of your efforts in establishing a Phi Theta Kappa alumni association.  Or you might want to consider hosting a breakfast or reception for graduating Phi Theta Kappans.
  • Host a fellowship event.

Step Four: Establish goals, adopt bylaws and select an association name

Establish Goals
When organizing your alumni association, it is vital to decide up front why your association is being created.  Using the Alumni Association Five Star Plan, the coordinating committee can set a “star goal” and then develop activities to achieve those goals. 

Goals should be challenging but realistic.  A Sample “Statement of Goals and Objectives” is available online.  Consider setting short term goals which can be easily attainable and long-term goals of where you would like to see your association five or ten years down the road.  From here you may even want to establish your action plan on how you will meet your goals. 

Adopt By-Laws
Each alumni association should submit standard by-laws which serve as a governing document for all alumni associations.  These by-laws should adhere to and not contradict the Phi Theta Kappa International Constitution and follow the template with few changes. By-laws should be general in content and reflect the purpose, goals and objectives of Phi Theta Kappa Alumni.  The Executive Committee should present a completed draft of the by-laws to the charter membership for ratification prior to its installation.  Upon acceptance, the Alumni Association By-Laws should be submitted to the Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters for final approval.

Step Five: Submit paperwork and $200 one-time chartering fee to PTK Headquarters

The following forms should be submitted to Headquarters:

  • Alumni Association Charter Petition
    • Please note that the Alumni Association Charter Petition must be signed by the host institution’s Chief Executive Officer.  In the case of a Regional Alumni Association that is the Regional Coordinator. This signature indicates Official Institutional Recognition. 
  • Alumni Association Chartering Information Sheet

These two forms should be submitted to Headquarters along with the By-Laws (following the template) and Chartering Fee (one time of $200, a generic invoice is available on page 9 for your convenience).  After reviewing all materials, Headquarters will contact the alumni advisor to coordinate an appropriate time to officially install the new alumni association. 

Step Six: Planning the Chartering Ceremony

The final step in establishing the alumni association is planning the chartering ceremony. The ceremony will induct new members and install the association officers (typically the coordinating committee serves as inaugural officers).   A sample ceremony is included on page 14. 

An appropriate time to conduct the installation ceremony may be following a banquet or preceding a reception held in honor of the charter members.  The association may wish to invite, as special guests, the host institution’s administration and faculty as well as family and friends of the charter members.  Ideally the chartering ceremony and future induction ceremonies will take place in a forum where future alumni are present to provide a natural next step.

Download the Chartering, Induction, and Installation Ceremony Guide Word Document Template.

Don’t forget!

The chartering process is just the beginning of your association – while this process is done, don’t forget to focus your efforts to support chapters, members and advisors!

Download the Association Chartering Guide PDF for more details.