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FINAL Young Alumni Donors Survey_May 2010-1

FINAL Young Alumni Donors Survey_May 2010-1

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Published by Shane Dunn

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Shane Dunn on Jan 14, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Two Separate Surveys of the Giving Habits, Behaviors, and Opinions of RecentCollege Graduates Who
Have and Have Not 
Made a Financial Giftto Their Alma Mater in the Past Two Years
Overview and Purpose
I graduated from Cornell University in May, 2007. In the three years since graduating fromCornell I have held two full-time positions in higher education advancement, first at theRadcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University as an annual fund/alumnaerelations program assistant and currently as an alumni relations officer for shared interestgroups at Tufts University. Additionally, since April, 2008, I have served as the volunteerprogramming chair for the Cornell Club of Boston, the independently incorporated nonprofitalumni group that serves and connects the nearly 10,000 Cornell alumni in the Greater Bostonarea. As both a young advancement professional and volunteer working with alumni, I tend tofind myself in the position of having to speak on behalf of young or recent alumni in a numberof settings. Both Cornell and Tufts, the two universities with which I currently engage, are in themiddle of ambitious capital campaigns. Although recent graduates are not necessarily the mostaffluent or philanthropically-minded alumni of either institution, both institutions haverecognized the importance of reaching out to and engaging these alumni in conversationsabout giving and about alumni engagement-related activities. In essence, Cornell and Tufts, aswell as other colleges and universities, are aware that young alumni are their future donorpopulation and typically have the most energy and time available to commit to their almamater. However, I have found that, even as a young alumnus myself who is actively engagedand in ongoing relationships with many young alumni, I do not always understand thepreferences and/or interests of my fellow alumni. Therefore, due to my unique situation asboth an alumni relations professional at Tufts, alumni relations volunteer with Cornell, andvolunteer fundraiser with Cornell, I decided to survey my friends and peers about their givingbehaviors, opinions of their alma mater, and their connections to their alma mater—out of curiosity and to share with fellow volunteers and advancement colleagues. I surveyed over 300of my friends and acquaintances via email and Facebook. Overall, there were 117 respondents,many of whom are alumni of Cornell University. (Note, though, that there are several responsesfrom non-Cornell alumni, which makes this a unique data set and not all comments will apply toCornell’s practices.) Due to the biased sample of my friends, this is obviously not arepresentative sample of all Cornell alumni or alumni of other schools. Because it is importantto understand the behaviors of donors and non-donors alike, I created two different surveys. Assuch, I asked the following question in my messages: Have you made a financial donation, of any size, to your undergraduate alma mater in the past two years? Depending on therespondent’s answer, they were instructed to click on one of two links that brought them to a
Survey Monkey survey. The reports below are an aggregate of the responses from both the 73alumni respondents who claimed to have made a financial donation in the past two years andthe 44 alumni respondents who claimed to have not made a financial donation in the past twoyears. For each report, the first section is a brief summary of highlights and a synthesis of feedback received. The second part is the entire survey with charts and exact quotes received. Ihope this information is illuminating and helpful. Overall, as readers will see, I think youngalumni feel most at ease when they are asked their opinions and thoughts on proceduresaffecting the way they interact with their alma mater. More often than not, recent alumni, andalumni in general, enjoy the opportunity to provide feedback to a place that meant so much tothem – whether Cornell, Hobart and William Smith, Boston College, or another college oruniversity.
Shane Dunn
A Limited Survey of the Giving Habits, Behaviors, and Opinionsof Young Alumni Who Have Made a Gift to Their Alma Materin the Past Two Years
“Because theyhelped change mylife and I want themto be able tocontinue shapingthe lives of incoming students.”
“I believe in giving toorganizations or causes I'veeither been affected by ordirectly been involved with.My alma mater is a cause that has greatly affected my life ina positive way and I want tocontinue to see it have thesame meaning to others.” 
Report 1: A Survey of the Giving Habits, Behaviors, and Opinionsof Recent College Graduates Who Have Made a Financial Gift toTheir Undergraduate Alma Mater in the Past Two Years
Shane A. DunnCornell University, Class of 2007Boston, MassachusettsMay, 2010

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