Case Studies

Alumni Association Strategic Plan, Membership Model, and Shared Services


University of Pittsburgh

The Hill Group's Role

  • Strategic plan
  • Market research and analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Primary research including interviews, focus groups, surveys
  • Project management
  • Creation of new membership models
  • Development of new shared service model within University


  • Engaged stakeholders to inform and gain buy-in to plan
  • Conducted over 50 engagement opportunities for stakeholders through interviews, focus groups, and surveys
  • Provided detailed data and analysis of primary and secondary research
  • Facilitated development of new mission, values, and vision
  • Identified and prioritized 5 major strategic initiatives
  • Developed and analyzed potential membership models to enhance growth and sustainability
  • Developed opportunities to earn income through member benefits and services
  • Created an opportunity to provide conference and event services for other University units

The University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association serves, in connection with the Office of Institutional Advancement, as the conduit between the University of Pittsburgh and its 318,000 alumni. Over the years, alumni relations at the University of Pittsburgh continued to build its identity and provided students and alumni various opportunities to connect with fellow Pitt alums and remain engaged in the University long after graduation. With the environment in which the Association operates continued to evolve and the needs of its members continued to change, the University and its Alumni Association engaged The Hill Group to evaluate its position within the market environment, determine the desired state of the Alumni Association, assess other organizations to identify areas for internal improvement, and develop a strategy that will provide a roadmap for three to five years.

The Hill Group conducted a rigorous Market and Situational Analysis as the first phase of this process. Based on the analysis, which consisted of primary and secondary research, a strategy was developed to grow and sustain the Alumni Association that included a new membership model. The strategy was operationalized into a strategic plan with tactical operational plans and business plans. The Hill Group also worked with Institutional Advancement to identify areas in which the Alumni Affairs Office could better coordinate alumni activities across academic units and provide conference and event services to other business and academic units within the University.