Wednesday, January 22

How Focusing on Students While They’re in School Can Impact Your Fundraising Results

Iris Manning

by Iris Manning

Sitting across from an administrator at an internationally acclaimed university in Boston, I listened to him bemoan the fact that their fundraising efforts didn’t quite match their expectations. “After all,” he said, “We do so much for our alumni!”

I responded with, “Yes, but what do you do with your students while they are in school?” He gave me a blank stare, so I’ll never know if my point actually registered with him.

As it turns out, there are many things colleges and universities can do for students while they are in school that will impact their alumni giving. I’ll never forget how getting published while I was in journalism school helped me land my first job after I graduated. Nor will I ever forget the contagious enthusiasm of my journalism professor in that course. Contrast that with getting my MBA — I graduated with no experience in the midst of the steep recession of 1990. I didn’t have the time or finances to attend Northeastern University’s cooperative education program to gain real world experience, so I couldn’t compete against the many finance professionals who were laid off at the time, who could hit the ground running.

Two higher education administrators share their school’s perspectives on students and alumni fundraising:

  • Mary Kane, Assistant Dean of Employer and External Engagement and a Senior Coop Faculty, D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University
  • Steve Hall, VP, Alumni Relations, Boston University

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