Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Communications

First Advisor

Mr. Emmett Coffey

Second Advisor

Mr. Frank O'Donovan


Significance of the study: Educational institutions need to diversify income streams, as all areas of state expenditure will experience severe cutbacks in the coming years. Looking outside traditional income channels is necessary and the use of successful public relations and communication strategies with graduates can contribute to the overall effectiveness of the institution’s fundraising.

Approach: The research involved a two-stage study with the first phase focusing on an extensive literature review of the key sources of secondary research including reports, articles and publications. The second stage of the study was conducted through qualitative research, which involved interviewing alumni relations professionals from universities and institutes of technology on the island of Ireland. A semi-structured interview was utilised in order to determine the type of public relations strategies used to cultivate relationships with graduates.

Results: The results indicate that alumni associations and the alumni relations function in the majority of Irish universities and institutes of technologies are still in development. The model of two-way symmetrical public relations seems to be the one most utilised by alumni relations professionals. None of the alumni associations have criteria for excellence in their public relations. Furthermore, the study identifies that there is an understanding that public relations is part of the alumni relations function, which itself has a significant public relations role.

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