I Accept! Turning Graduates into Engaged Alumni
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Those are the words uttered by many excited high school graduates over the past few months. To future college students, these words mean freedom, new experiences and a chance to find their passions. We hope it also means that they accept the responsibility for the future of their university.
As we know, this is not always the case. Creating a lifelong commitment to philanthropy requires intention and focus on some key areas:
- Tradition: Spend time nurturing (and sometimes creating) traditions. Common touch points are essential to keeping the connection to alma mater strong. Not that long ago the University of Rochester brilliantly erected a statue of its visionary George Eastman of Kodak fame in the center of campus. It not only honors the largest giving society of the university, it has become an icon. Each holiday, the students now have a tradition of accessorizing the statue appropriately.
- Awareness: Inform students about the impact of donor support during their college experience. William and Mary College goes so far as to have student Development Ambassadors and hosts a Student Philanthropy week.
- Lifelong Membership: Position the relationship with the university not just as four years of education, but as an induction into a community that will always support them and will always need their support. Each alum should know what it means to be a Jayhawk, a Spartan or a Greyhound long after graduation.
Good luck as you welcome your newest group of alumni into the next phase of their relationship with your institution!