Saturday, April 24, 2010

Barriers to Alumni Giving

The Annual Giving Directors Consortium, representing 36 prominent institutions of higher learning, recently commissioned the Collaborative Innovation Network for Engagement and Giving to sample the opinions of alumni from the top 100 universities in the nation to better understand what they saw as the barriers to giving to their alma maters. The researchers first asked the directors to rank order what they thought the concerns of their alumni would be, then compared their answers with the actual answers from the alumni. The directors guessed that alumni would rank their concerns in this order:

  1. I don’t think the school really needs the money.
  2. I feel like a small gift won’t make a difference.
  3. They haven’t done enough to connect with me beyond asking for money.
  4. I feel like donations go into a “black hole.”
  5. I haven’t been given a good enough reason to give.
  6. I feel that I’ve paid enough already for tuition.
  7. I’m confused about the difference between the various fundraising programs.
  8. I want my donations to go for a specific purpose and don’t have that option.
  9. I’m unhappy with the direction in which the school is headed.
  10. There has been bad publicity about the school.
  11. I don’t feel a deep emotional connection to the school.
  12. They haven’t been aggressive enough in asking for money.

I applaud the Annual Giving Directors Consortium, first and foremost for conducting this study; it is precisely the kind of research that our institutions and our field need. Secondly, I congratulate them for having good donor radar. Their answers were close to being in the same order as the alumni but, in three cases, were fairly wide of the mark.

So, let’s all test our own instincts. Take the list of statements above and see if you can rank them in the same order as the alumni. I will publish the correct answers next week, then we’ll talk about the implications.

If you’re feeling confident, feel free to post your answers in the comment section.

No comments: