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Case study: Deepening alumni and donor relationships with legislative advocacy
Alumni legislative advocacy programmes are a growing area of practice within the field of advancement and alumni relations in the United States. The University of Washington Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy programme, UW Impact, has made significant contributions to the legislative landscape for higher education in the state of Washington while providing a rich and meaningful engagement opportunity for alumni, donors and key volunteers. This paper examines how an integrated approach to legislative advocacy can result in positive outcomes for advancement and alumni relations as well as an institution’s legislative agenda.
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Courtney Acitelli is the director of UW Impact, the University of Washington (UW) Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy programme. She is a seasoned alumni relations professional, having spent 19 years in various management roles at the UW Alumni Association. Shortly after receiving her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, she took the helm as director of the fledging UW Impact programme in 2010. Today, UW Impact engages thousands of alumni and community members statewide in support of higher education. Courtney also serves as a member of the steering committee for the Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals (PHELAP) group, a volunteer-led programme committed to advancing the practice of legislative advocacy at postsecondary institutions. She is a frequent presenter at nationwide conferences, including the annual PHELAP Conference, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Summit for Leaders and the Engineering Development Forum. Prior to her long tenure at the UW Alumni Association, Courtney worked in advancement for nonprofit organisations in Atlanta and Seattle after receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.