Tune into insights.

How we support your work.

(Un)grateful (Under)grads?

In August, Forbes magazine published its annual Grateful Graduates Index, which according to the article headline purports to show the “200 Colleges With the Happiest, Most Successful Alumni”. The index is a score calculated from two variables: 1) the median of total private donations per enrolled student over the last seven years, as reported to […]

Treat Homecoming Like Your (Professional) Life Depends on it

From mid-September through about mid-November, Homecoming weekends will occur across the country. This longstanding tradition may be the most personal experience a school delivers to alumni that keeps them connected (especially to each other) and informed. It’s primarily a social immersion for alumni. They “come home” to be with people who were important at a […]

Alumni events: going, going…….gone?

Are alumni events on a path to extinction? The volume on this question is increasing, with a strong push for digital engagement to replace events as the primary mode of connection for and with alumni. It’s a feasible argument: social and business media platforms permit far greater reach and overcome the 2 logistical problems that haunt in-person […]

The Culture of ‘Yes’

A few years ago, a colleague who worked at a large university shared that her alumni team conducted research shortly after she arrived as the new vice president. Alumni were saying “we only hear from you when you want money” with increasing frequency, the team was concerned, and so the new VP wanted to look […]

What’s (left) in their wallets?

Colleges and universities lament the declining rate of giving from their young graduates. And yet the low numbers make sense considering the student loan debt so many alumni carry. For members of the class of 2016 who borrowed, the average amount owed at graduation was over $37,000. Diving deeper: the average monthly payment for 20- to 30-year-old borrowers is […]

“The only time I ever hear from my college…”

…is…when…they…want…money!” Ever hear that? We’re nearing the end of the fiscal year when this sentiment gets reinforced by the blitz of final appeals. Untrue as the statement is, it represents a view held by many alumni. It’s corrosive and can undo other connections and engagements an alumni program tries to achieve – kind of like […]

Why alumni-student mentoring is hard to pull off

Colleges and universities increasingly seek to connect their alumni and students in mentoring relationships. But when higher ed professionals speculate about creating mentor programs, my reaction is: That’s really hard. Not bad, mind you. But based on my experiences as a higher ed vice president for advancement from 2000-2017: very difficult. Why? Here are 4 […]