A club must offer distinctive reasons for members to join. Programs and events should be designed to reflect a balance of the following objectives:
- Professional development, education, and intellectual stimulation
- Networking, mentoring, and professional peer support
- Social interaction and entertainment
Tailor your events and programs to your membership base. Your staff liaison can help you analyze the demographics of your region or affinity or determine if a survey of your member base would help determine programming needs. Charging a higher non-member price can drive membership and significantly increase the event’s revenue.
Events should be planned in advance to allow for adequate promotion and an appropriate variety. Emphasis should be placed on the quality of events over quantity, and programs should provide value to attendees.
Social events can be a good way for alumni to get to know one another in a relaxed setting. These events may be easier to plan and execute than other types of activities and may appeal to young alumni or those new to a region. Ideas include:
• Cultural events - a guided museum tour, theater tickets in conjunction with a talk by the producer, director, or actors
• Sporting Events - baseball games, golf outing, tailgates
• Family Events - summer BBQ, picnics
• Community service events - park or neighborhood cleanup, skills-based volunteer programs
• Food & Beverage events - Wine tasting or brewery tour, small group dinners
• Welcome receptions for young alumni, current students, and admitted students
Educational and Networking Events
Alumni often join Wharton clubs for networking and educational programming. It is important to provide your members with content that they would not be able to find elsewhere. What industries are common in your area? Is there a certain newsworthy topic? Your staff liaison can work with your club and the offices of Undergraduate Career Services and MBA Career Management to tailor specific career programming to your region or affinity. Ideas include:
• Industry panels relevant to your region or affinity
• Monthly or quarterly career speaker series
• Industry-specific networking events
• Events specifically for alumnae
• Peer coaching or mentoring programs
• Evening networking/speed networking reception with cocktails
• Events with local professors or Wharton professors*
*If you are interested in scheduling a Wharton professor to speak, please fill out the Faculty Request Form before reaching out on your own. Given the extensive commitments of Wharton faculty, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet all speaker requests, but we will work with you to best accommodate the request. Contact your staff liaison for special requests and to discuss alternatives to having a faculty speaker.
Penn and Peer School Partner Events
Wharton clubs are encouraged to make contact with their respective Penn club should one exist in the region or affinity.
Clubs may also want to foster relationships and exchange information with the leaders of peer Wharton regional or affinity clubs, business school clubs, All-Ivy groups, Ivy Plus groups, or local professional development organizations. The power of the combined club membership provides substantial leverage in attracting sponsorship and procuring speakers. Your staff liaison can help connect you with the other alumni groups in your region or affinity.
Annual and Flagship Events
Annual and flagship events provide structure to your club's calendar and can be an event alumni look forward to each year.
Annual event ideas include holiday parties, an annual summer BBQ, a fall kick-off, and more. Flagship events are an opportunity for the club to celebrate and can act as a fundraiser for the club. Flagship event ideas include a themed party each year, an awards dinner or ceremony, or another fundraising event.