How can alumni give back, and why should they in the first place?
‘Giving back’ could be seen as a contentious idea for some graduates. After all, they paid a high amount for their university education and chose their university over the competition. Haven’t they already given enough?
Some might see it this way, but the truth is that there’s so much more than alumni can give back to show their gratitude and ensure future students have as positive an experience as they did.
Why is it important for alumni to give back?
Alumni might provide universities with large sums to afford their tuition, but let’s not forget the lifelong benefits of that education. For many, their degrees and experience garnered from their time studying are the springboards into successful careers and more fulfilled lives.
So, while the financial debt that many place themselves in for these qualifications can be seen as having already ‘given’, universities have so much more to gain from the extra actions that alumni can take to show gratitude and recognition to their alma maters.
This is important for several reasons. The staff who are teaching at a university often do so alongside their main careers and livings, fitting teaching into already-busy schedules so that others can know what they know and do what they do.
Having done this out of a love of education deserves recognition, and alumni giving back can be a welcome morale boost for these staff members.
Universities are also one of many different types of institutions that face ongoing financial hardship in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and they benefit from every bit of help they can get.
This doesn’t need to be financial donations, either. Alumni can spread the good word about their chosen universities, or make a conscious effort to stay in touch with other alumni and keep an active role in the lives and careers of fellow graduates.
It’s in the direct interests of alumni to ensure their alma mater enjoys a good reputation, too. After all, the prestige of holding a degree is only enhanced by receiving that qualification from a respected university. That respect will be all the more palpable if alumni show a desire to give back and ensure it enjoys continued success.
Finally, it’s important that alumni give back so that they can cultivate a sense of gratitude in their lives and practice positive give-and-take approaches to their professional lives. Workplaces benefit greatly from employees who have a healthy perspective on what it is to be grateful for their means of living as much as knowing their own self-worth.
How can alumni give back?
Again, while financial contributions are perhaps the most direct way to give back to a university, they’re not the only way.
Alumni can provide as much positive feedback about their university as possible, which is a free but influential way to give back effectively. Posting on social media, sharing via word of mouth, or offering to be a direct case study for the university are all ways in which an alum can share their experience and hopefully entice others to study at the same place.
Volunteering is another alumni contribution that costs nothing out of the alumni’s finances yet provides a direct boon to their universities. This could be helping out on a university campus shop, acting as a participant in studies and research, or being a speaker at an event. Alumni could also enquire about helping with graduation and other ceremonies that demand a huge amount of coordination and set-up.
For alumni who want to keep an active role in their university, they could seek to join and help with sports activities and student unions, again on a voluntary basis to really show appreciation and a willingness to lend their time. These can not only benefit the university but also the local community. Such is the case with bodies like local clubs that work alongside the university to teach children sports and support other extracurricular activities.
Do universities need alumni contributions?
It’s hard to say whether a university ‘needs’ contributions from its alumni. Though fees pay for tuition, accommodation, and events, there’s no doubt that extra financial contributions can go a long way, and the non-financial ways through which alumni give back can make or break a universities own contributions to the local area.
For universities that thrive on the back of alumni giving back, an active role in pursuing those contributions is the best way to ensure they keep coming in. Interacting with alumni and keeping in touch with graduates, taking an active interest in their next steps, is amongst the first stages to securing alumni interest in these contributions.
Building an alumni network on a dedicated platform that students can be invited to is a fantastic way to build interest in alumni contribution. Undergraduates can join early and see the ways in which alumni are giving back to the university already, and build some confidence and get answers themselves before committing to their own ideas.
Additionally, being part of the network gives undergraduates and alumni the perfect environment to build bonds, collaborate, and perhaps formulate brand-new ideas for ways to give back to the university.
Aluminate for education
Our alumni engagement software platform is the perfect place to foster an alumni network that builds bonds and secures brighter futures for all students. Convenient, easy to set up, and designed with communication and collaboration in mind, Aluminate for Education is the tool that no university relying on alumni contribution should be without.
To learn more about our services, contact us today.