Increasing giving through powerful alumni networks

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth regularly beats every other institution in the world when it comes to annual alumni giving

As more and more European schools enter the fundraising game, they look to their American counterparts to understand the rules. Developing a devoted alumni network is part and parcel of ensuring a steady flow of gifts and most schools are ramping up efforts to connect with their alumni who reside throughout the world.

Alumni clubs, regular class reunions, responsive career centers, and alumni publications all factor into the success of creating an excellent alumni network. But is there truly a magic equation for making sure that the majority of alumni are tapped into the network and are giving back?

Just giving: European universities must tap into their alumni networks

If there is one, it seems like the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has cracked the code. Every year the school “blows its competition out of the water” in terms of annual alumni giving. This year, 70 percent of alumni made a contribution to the school, a figure which dwarfs the 20 percent average giving rate of other top-20 business schools. Tuck has even managed to reach the most difficult givers ― young and international alumni.

What is the school doing right? Each fundraising campaign is well organised. A student advisory board for annual giving made up of 25 to 30 current MBA students has been created. Approximately 600 alumni make phone calls to other graduates, organise dinners and cocktail parties and generally reach out to their classmates. The school holds regular alumni events in private settings – generally graduates’ homes – throughout the world.

Tuck encourages its alumni to respond immediately to inquiries from other graduates. Classmates respond at close to a 100 percent rate, and often within the day, according to Dave Celone, head of annual giving at the school.

In addition to the way the school organises its alumni network, the high giving rate is most likely attributable to the school’s environment. Located inHanover,New Hampshire, a small town in New England, MBA students work shoulder-to-shoulder in intimate classroom settings. Students know everyone in their class. In this way, giving back to the school is similar to helping out a family member. Who would say no to loaning Uncle Joe a hundred bucks for him to invest in his future? Especially when it means investing in your own.

Source: Poets and Quants




Noir sur Blanc is an international communications agency specializing in higher education. Based in Paris and serving the higher ed community for over 20 years, with offices all over the world, the New York office opened in Spring 2010. Noir Sur Blanc USA is the official blog from the Noir sur Blanc New York office. Follow-us to stay informed on hot topics and trends in higher education.
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