Students & Young Alumni

How Concordia College's Engagement Strategy Doubled Young Alumni Giving

How Concordia College's Engagement Strategy Doubled Young Alumni Giving

Launching new strategies and programs is always daunting. We often feel like we have to have everything ready to go right out of the gate. (Not to mention the fact we don't want our colleagues and supervisors to think that we're winging it.) 

But in reality, we have to start with small prototypes, adjust our expectations, and test and tweak our programs to fit our audience before we can scale up. That's how Concordia College, a liberal arts college with 2,500 students in Moorhead, Minnesota, doubled its young alumni giving rate in three years. First it simply began targeting online outreach to young alumni, and then gradually moved into young-alumni-specific events, and eventually established young alumni engagement committees run by volunteers.

Scaling Networks to Empower Our Students, Alumni, and Institutions

Pick a career services professional at any school, and you’ll find that they’re busy.  Too many students to help, too little time.

Not to mention alumni. Many career services offices don’t have time to serve alumni, and even those that do often only have one or two people serving a population of thousands—or tens of thousands.

No matter how many one-on-one meetings you have or events you throw, when you’re operating on that kind of scale, there’s no way that traditional methods can help all the students and alumni who need it.

In 2018, Patch Your Leaks Before Building New Programs

In 2018, Patch Your Leaks Before Building New Programs

When your ship is sinking, is it better to try to patch the leaks, or to build another boat?

In higher ed, whether we realize it or not, our first instinct is often to build another boat. When our existing programming stops drawing crowds, we look for new programming to bring them back. What we should do instead is ask ourselves, "Why did this stop working?" and then try to fix it.

How Skidmore Launched Its Podcast Entirely In-House

How Skidmore Launched Its Podcast Entirely In-House

An estimated 67 million Americans listen to podcasts each month, and 42 million of them listen to podcasts weekly.

So it's no surprise that more colleges and universities are getting into the podcasting game, whether it's to target prospective students, engage sports fans, or build brand awareness.

But starting a podcast can be daunting. It's easy to listen to podcasts, but recording, producing, and editing one is a complicated process. That's one reason it's so impressive that Skidmore College took the leap into podcasting all on its own, without any external production help. Now, their podcast, This is Skidmore, is three seasons strong.

Why Alumni Trust in Higher Education Is Failing—and What We Can Do About It

Alumni giving rates are down nationwide, and a majority of Americans say that colleges and universities put their own interests above their students'. Things aren't looking great for fundraising and alumni relations in higher education.

We all have our own assumptions about why it's happening. It's obvious to us, common sense, even if there isn't always the research to back it up. But in the absence of data, there's little we're empowered to do about it.

Fortunately for us, there is some research as to why alumni trust in their alma maters is failing. In this post, we'll break that that research down into five action items.

The Missing Middle: Advancement and Alumni Relations's Ongoing Generational Deficit

The Missing Middle: Advancement and Alumni Relations's Ongoing Generational Deficit

Advancement and alumni relations had a formula for engaging alumni that worked for decades. But young alumni these days are breaking that mold.

Their giving rates are lower. They attend fewer events. They give for different reasons, care about different causes, face different economic challenges, and have different perceptions of higher education and its worth than their older counterparts.

Yet for all our self awareness and new strategies, we're still only scratching the surface when it comes to solving the problems underlying the young alumni engagement deficit. The problem lies in how we define "engagement" in the first place.