2020-22 Strategic Plan



The USAID Alumni Association (UAA) is an unincorporated nonprofit organization established for the purposes of harnessing the experience and expertise of the USAID alumni community in support of effective U.S. foreign assistance and sustainable development; serving as an independent voice to support USAID’s development mission; fostering a network of former USAID employees who wish to utilize their public service skills to promote international development; and providing opportunities for social interaction among the members.

The UAA Board exercises responsibility, with input from members, for establishing the Association’s goals and approving planned activities in furtherance of those goals. In exercising this responsibility, the Board relies upon the Association’s committees. There is a lead committee for implementing each UAA goal. The lead committee collaborates with other committees, Board members, individual USAID alumni, and others in planning and carrying out activities. The views of UAA members inform and guide the Board in the formulation, periodic revision, and implementation of this plan.

The UAA goals and projected implementing actions for 2020-2022 build on the goals articulated for the previous planning period as reported in the 2019 Progress Report.

Goal 1.  Ascertain alumni interests on a continuing basis; expand UAA membership by alumni residing outside as well as within the Washington area; increase opportunities for social events and interaction among alumni. Lead: Membership Committee.

In furtherance of this goal, in 2020-2022 UAA proposes to take the following actions:

  • Annually, conduct an Evaluation of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a Survey of Members. Reports on the Evaluation and Survey will inform the work of the UAA Board and committees and will be published in the Newsletter and on the UAA website. Share information specific to each UAA Committee with them. A Mini-Survey to gather more consistent demographic information about current registrants is also planned.
  • Recruit additional registrants and contributing members, and Friends of UAA (who contribute at a level of $100 or more).  These efforts include:
    • Recruiting new and incipient USAID retirees, including through participating in Foreign Service Institute Career Transition Center seminars for FS and GS employees and accepting interested parties to join the UAA LinkedIn group;
    • Implementing a standard methodology for identifying potential new registered alumni and contributing members among those who attend UAA events;
    • Sending tailored emails to those who attended events, who are newly registered alumni who do not contribute financially as members, or who had previously contributed to UAA, but who have not yet contributed in the current year;
    • Expanding recruitment of former Foreign Service Nationals (FSNs) by helping overseas FSN Committees at USAID Missions to form UAA-affiliated FSN Alumni Associations in pilot countries;
    • Attracting new volunteer talent to the Membership Committee;
    • Identifying effective ways to engage groups of alumni who share particular subject matter interests or are located in the same geographic area.
    • Maintaining a LinkedIn website for the UAA, promoting communication among alumni who wish to use their public service experience to advance global development and encouraging participation in the UAA LinkedIn group.
  • Schedule programs and social events each year intended to respond to interests of members and potential members, including events outside the Washington area. Activities planned include:
    • Holding regular social events: Winterfest in February; Spring Reception in May; Summer Picnic in September; and Annual General Meeting in October;
    • Publicizing post-USAID options for employment, volunteerism, and other activities on the UAA website; and
    • In concert with the Public Outreach Committee, identifying and encouraging non-DMV area groupings of UAA registrants to connect with each other.
  • Circulate a monthly newsletter to all registered alumni, including a calendar of upcoming events, articles and updates of interest. Archive each issue promptly on the UAA website.
  • Post a profile of a UAA member each month in the newsletter and on the website to share that member’s life and interests after retirement.
  • Present annual alumni awards at the AGM to UAA members for their outstanding post-retirement contributions to their communities at home and abroad, based on nominations from UAA members.

Goal 2.  Maintain and enhance a continuing relationship with USAID that will make alumni available to support the training, mentoring, coaching and recognition of USAID staff on a systematic basis. Lead: Strengthening USAID Committee.

In furtherance of this goal, in 2020-2022 UAA proposes to take the following actions:

  • UAA will continue to implement recommendations from the 2016 evaluation of the Mentoring Program during the upcoming Cohort 9, including strengthening mentor training and monitoring, in order to increase the quality and impact of our mentoring activities.  We will also continue to encourage stronger involvement by Bureau Coordinators in program management and mentee relationships.
  • UAA will begin recruitment for the 2019-20 program (Cohort 9) in September 2019 with the goal of program kick-off in November. The next cohort is expected to be on the order of 20 to 30 matched pairs.
  • Cohort 9 will include several new features.  It will include an expanded approach to newly-assigned Mission Directors, Deputy Mission Directors, and USAID Representatives.  It will also extend the program to recently hired Payne Fellows who are beginning their USAID careers in Washington DC.  For other FSOs, the program is only available for those posted overseas.
  • 2020 and 2021 programs are expected to follow a similar course, although recruitment will begin a month earlier, i.e., in August 2020 and August 2021.UAA will continue to match UAA retirees with USAID’s Payne Fellows Program to serve as mentors.
  • In addition to its mentoring program, UAA will maintain contacts with senior USAID officials – both political appointees and career staff – to ensure that UAA remains current on USAID policies and programs, especially for mentors, and direct interfaces with the Agency.  Among possibilities that have been discussed with Agency officials are a recognition ceremony for employees at the time of retirement and support for FSN retirees and the FSN Advocacy Council.

Goal 3.  Facilitate contributions by alumni and sharing of information with respect to USAID policies and strategies and with respect to developments and trends in development cooperation. Lead: Development Issues Committee.

In furtherance of this goal in 2020-2022 UAA proposes to take the following actions:

  • UAA will organize discussion programs focused on current development issues of interest to alumni. This will include each year at least five meetings of the Development Issues Committee with an invited guest to lead a discussion of a development topic of interest to the membership and at least eight “Development Dialogue” events jointly sponsored with DACOR.  To the extent possible, the “Development Dialogue” programs will be recorded and made available for listening on the UAA website.
  • UAA will maintain periodic direct communications with USAID’s Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL), or its successor, through which UAA will keep PPL informed of UAA activities of potential interest to USAID. UAA will learn from PPL about current policy issues in which the experience of UAA members could be helpful to USAID, and PPL will advise UAA of upcoming events, such as USAID Partnership Meetings and meetings of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA), in which UAA will be invited to participate.
  • UAA will elicit opportunities for USAID alumni to share with USAID their knowledge and expertise relevant to proposed new USAID policies and strategies. UAA will continue to sponsor discussions of development-related books, led by volunteer alumni.
  • UAA will seek to identify at least one opportunity each year for a discussion program outside the Washington, DC area.
  • UAA will elicit and publish as “Perspectives” on its website brief papers submitted to perspectives@usaidalumni.org by USAID alumni on major development themes, along with comments on such papers, to promote the exchange of ideas and dissemination of knowledge within the alumni community.
  • UAA will include links to books, published research papers, syllabi for courses on international development and Perspectives by USAID alumni on its website and encourage commentary on the issues addressed.

Goal 4.  Increase broad awareness and understanding of lessons learned from USAID’s experience in development and humanitarian assistance to help guide future USAID programs. Compile and publish a readable independent history of USAID’s development experience to increase understanding of lessons learned.  In further support of this goal, increase the number of USAID oral histories, and build a bibliography of books by USAID authors.  Lead:  History Project Committee 

In furtherance of this goal, in 2020-2022 UAA will take the following actions:

  • With regard to the USAID History Project, UAA will:
    • Meet with the USAID History Project author, John Norris, at two-month intervals until the book is completed to review draft chapters and to provide advice in order to facilitate the completion of the writing and editing of the history;
    • Continue to share with the author new USAID oral histories as they are completed.
    • Execute fiduciary responsibility over the project funds collected for the Project including approval of payments to the author and eliciting additional funds as needed to successfully complete the project.
    • Arrange for the history’s publication and related launch events to publicize it with a broad audience;
    • Develop related formats (e.g., electronic (i.e. ebook), on-line and social media) to distribute the historical material more broadly; and
    • Establish a relationship with a university or some other institution for future collaboration on updates and dissemination of the history on a continuing basis.
  • UAA will maintain its collaboration with the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) and USAID to further expand the number of USAID oral histories in the ADST collection.
  • As an ex officio member of the ADST board of directors, UAA will work to expand USAID-related materials on ADST’s U.S. Diplomacy website.
  • UAA will continue to add to the bibliography of USAID authors published on the UAA website (usaidalumni.org/bibliography-of-usaid-authors), which exceeds 240 titles.
  • UAA will continue to explore with the Office of Learning, Evaluation and Research ways for alumni to help USAID capture lessons learned from its evaluations and reviews.

Goal 5. Maintain, expand, and enhance beneficial relationships with other organizations and facilitate opportunities for USAID alumni to inform audiences and communities about development and the role of the United States and USAID. Lead: Public Outreach Committee.

In furtherance of this goal, in 2020-2022 UAA proposes to take the following actions:

  • In addition to DACOR, UAA will continue to work with internationally-oriented groups such as the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the Center for Global Development (CGD), the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC), the Brookings Institution, and the Washington Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID).  This may involve shared member activities, coordinated public messages and/or joint public presentations, among others.
  • UAA will strengthen its collaboration with USAID’s Hometown Diplomats and Development Directors in Residence. UAA will link alumni living near these groups and provide, where needed, training and substantive background materials for mentoring and/or public speaking on development themes.
  • UAA will reach out to international affairs organizations such as Rotary International, World Affairs Councils, Great Courses Groups, and universities/community colleges to link UAA retirees with them for the purpose of educating US citizens about USAID, international development and humanitarian service. UAA will help connect USAID alumni with these opportunities and work with LPA to develop and provide background materials/training, as needed.

UAA will continue to explore with HCTM ways to improve outreach to universities through internships, alumni teaching, and access to USAID reports, evaluations and oral histories. As an ex officio member of the ADST board of directors, UAA will also work to expand USAID-related materials on ADST’s U.S. Diplomacy website.  (See also Oral Histories under Goal 4.) 

Goal 6. Assure that internal UAA systems and procedures provide effective, efficient and transparent management of resources and services to USAID alumni.

Leads: Finance and Administration Committee and AGM Committee.

In furtherance of this goal, in 2020-2022 UAA proposes to take the following actions:

  • UAA will consider changes to the Bylaws and/or procedures based on topics discussed at the Annual General Meetings (AGM) or identified in Member Surveys.
  • UAA will organize a substantive AGM planned for October 2020.
  • UAA will plan for continuity and succession when considering nominations for Board and committee co-chair vacancies that occur.
  • UAA will update and improve its membership and directory databases, thereby improving outreach and communication with USAID alumni.
  • UAA will ensure compliance with audit or IRS procedures related to revenue from membership contributions and from the USAID History Project.
  • UAA will continue to refine the content of the website to increase its value to alumni and will consider new features as appropriate.