At some level, every fundraiser knows that alumni engagement is an important driver of alumni giving. At the same time, the advancement profession seems perpetually perplexed by how to measure engagement and apply those measures to increase philanthropy. Why is that?
Generally speaking, advancement offices have access to a pretty accurate picture of who alumni were as students, but very little information on who they are now.
As a result, advancement professionals are primed to treat alumni as former students instead of getting to know them as mature adults. This leads to false assumptions about current alumni needs and the relevant steps a school might take to increase engagement by addressing those needs.
Different from alumni affinity, Dr. Jay Le Roux Dillon describes “Alumni Role Identity” in this series of blogs – a measure of a graduate’s level of connection to their alma mater and an indicator of their inclination to donate to same.