Alumni Affinity and Identity Group Handbook

Denison University and Institutional Advancement are committed to assembling and supporting affinity and identity groups. The Director of Alumni Engagement Programming and the Senior Director of the Annual Fund will act as the liaisons to affinity and identity group volunteers. These staff will provide guidance, support, and assistance in developing and coordinating events, engagement, and fundraising. The volunteers, the Office of Alumni & Family Engagement, and the Annual Fund will have specific responsibilities. A spirit of cooperation and commitment will be the keys to success.

The Affinity and Identity Group program is administered by Denison’s Office of Alumni & Family Engagement (AFE). AFE is a department within Institutional Advancement (IA) focused on alumni and family services and fundraising.

For a staff directory of Alumni & Family Engagement, click here.

The Director of Alumni Engagement Programming, Ed Lenane, oversees all affinity reunion volunteers and events. You can contact Ed at or 740-587-6739.

The Annual Fund (AF) is a fundraising unit within IA.

For a staff directory of Annual Fund, click here.

Senior Associate Director Amanda Morrison supports all affinity and identity fundraising initiatives and strategies. You can contact Amanda at or 740-587-5773.

Below are all of the details you need to know to start and effectively manage an affinity or identity group at Denison University.

Affinity and Identity Group Overview and Guidelines

The Affinity and Identity group program offers alumni of shared interests and common bonds the opportunity to connect on meaningful levels beyond the traditional class reunions and regional event structure. These groups actively support the college through student recruitment, career mentoring, fundraising, community service, social activities, and more.

These groups encourage alumni to stay connected with Denison through shared interests or experiences, including student organizations, identity, and careers. An affinity and identity group program:

  • Provides opportunities for alumni to get involved and meet other Denison alumni in their shared area of interest
  • Strengthens alumni volunteer engagement and leadership for the advancement of the college
  • Encourages mentorship and support of current students
  • Supports a culture of philanthropy for the college
  • Promote the overall mission of Denison University and the Office of Institutional Advancement in a positive manner
  • Promote a spirit of service and philanthropy to the college and the alumni community
  • Strive to strengthen the relationship between alumni and the college.
  • Advocate for the college and its brand.
  • Engage with the Division of Institutional Advancement for planning and execution of communications, events, and fundraising
  • Represent the interests of its members and constituents
  • Create opportunities for diverse alumni participation in organizational activities
  • Support the college by encouraging group members to make annual gifts
  • Gain special access to campus updates from the president and senior staff
  • Grow personal and professional networks
  • Support through college-approved sources:
    • Consistent connection with group members through digital newsletters and communications
    • Creation, management, and marketing registration for events
    • Event support such as reserving spaces on campus, creating name tags, and supplying small giveaways for attendees
  • And more!
  • Annual Volunteer Summit where volunteers will learn about the current state of the college and have the opportunity to work with Denison staff to create annual plans based on the engagement tiers (see below).
  • Denison staff liaisons for affinity/identity groups will be available for additional support throughout the year.


Bronze Silver Gold
Board/Leadership Team
Develop and utilize a volunteer board or leadership team with a minimum of 2 volunteers who are also annual donors to the college
Required Required Required
Fundraising One to two fundraising communications that can take place by either email or text message
Members will serve as ambassadors for the college giving days
Two to three fundraising communications that can take place by either mail, email, or text message
Members will serve as ambassadors for the college giving days
Four to six fundraising communications that can take place by mail, email, or text message
Members will serve as ambassadors for the college giving days
Events Minimum two business meetings
One annual event (virtual or in-person)
Minimum two to three business meetings
Two annual events (virtual or in-person)
Minimum three to four business meetings
Encouraged to host an affinity Reunion every five years
Encouraged to volunteer for two campus engagement opportunities (networking, career panels, admission ambassador, meeting with student organizations, etc.)
Two to three annual events (virtual or in-person)
Email Newsletters Newsletters twice per year Two to three newsletters per year Quarterly newsletters
Web Presence Required Required Required
Forms and documentation

Membership and officer rosters, affinity group form updated yearly

Required Required Required

Starting a New Affinity or Identity Group

Thank you for your interest in starting a new Affinity or Identity Group. Here is how to get started:

  • Contact Alumni & Family Engagement to see if the affinity or identity group you want to form already exists.
  • If not, recruit a committee. To establish an affinity or identity program, the alumni volunteers will work with the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement to form a leadership committee. This committee is required to move forward with the affinity or identity group process.
    • When forming a committee, consider the following:
      • The committee should be a diverse set of alumni representing different geographic regions, career industries, undergraduate and alumni involvement with Denison, and various class years spanning multiple decades. Establishing a diverse committee helps increase the outreach potential for the new affinity or identity group.
      • Roles and responsibilities. Previous groups have created President, Vice President, and Secretary roles. In contrast, others have developed positions based on specific tasks like communications and marketing, event planning, budgeting, and more. Alumni and Family Engagement and the Annual Fund will work with volunteers to determine the best leadership structure for the affinity or identity group.
  • Recruit Members. Denison staff will provide you with a list of potential volunteers, but our data will not be comprehensive. Initial volunteers should use their own Denison networks and contacts. Final membership lists will be updated and tracked within the Denison database for future activities.
  • Determine engagement tier. Please refer to the engagement tiers (see above) to determine the group’s yearly plan. The group should revisit these tiers at the beginning of every fiscal year. They should be used as a guide to determine the number of events, fundraising initiatives, and other materials planned for that year.
  • Dedicate time to the affinity or identity organization. Example tasks include:
    • Participating in conference calls
    • Drafting/editing language for fundraising emails and affinity/identity newsletters
    • Working with Denison staff on event logistics (e.g., reservations, catering, room set-ups)
    • Contacting guests and presenters for events
    • Volunteer recruitment
  • Serve as the points of contact and assist with any event or fundraising initiative you have helped plan or implement.
  • Be a good steward of Denison and its resources.
  • Promote Denison by sharing campus news and upcoming events with your networks and fellow alumni/family members.
  • If individuals grant permission, their names and email addresses will be listed on the website so alumni can reach out to learn how they can get involved.
  • Proudly display your Denison gear to increase the college’s visibility – coffee cups, bumper stickers, and more.
  • Maintain regular communication with the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement.
    • The offices will join conference calls with the affinity or identity group committee.
  • Encourage event attendees and group members to make a gift to support Denison students.
  • Serve as an ambassador for Denison’s Day of Giving. Post on social media and share why you support the college.
  • Read the confidentiality policy and sign the volunteer agreement.
    • Please note that the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement and the Annual Fund may send you directory information regarding members of the affinity or identity group. This content is released to you exclusively and should not be shared.

Planning Your Group's Year

To learn more about recommended activities for your affinity or identity group, please contact Ed Lenane in the office of Alumni & Family Engagement.

Affinity and Identity Group Reunions

To learn more about Reunions for your affinity or identity group, please contact Ed Lenane in the office of Alumni & Family Engagement.


Amanda Morrison

Senior Associate Director of Strategic Philanthropic Support


Ed Lenane

Director of Alumni Engagement Programming