Jim Herrick is the Director of the SDSU Alumni Association. This post originally appeared in his blog, Directly Speaking.
Okay, huddle up!
Pardon the football analogy but it is difficult not to go there at this time of year. And the team approach to problem solving remains in vogue.
The problem, or challenge, as it were, is that only two percent of our undergraduate degree-holding alumni are annual donors. We have dissected this at length for six months and concluded that Aztec alumni who love their alma mater will help improve this abysmal percentage if they fully understand why it is important to do so. First some facts that support the notion that it is readily apparent that Aztec alumni love SDSU:
- Our basketball tickets are sold out and the season does not start for two months.
- Our Aztec for Life Alumni membership is soaring.
- Our Comprehensive Campaign for San Diego State University is tracking nicely at $340 million on the way to $500 million.
What our research indicates is that alumni do not understand that annual gifts of any amount factor into the rankings provided by US News and World Report and that donating to SDSU helps the university rise in those rankings and therefore in national stature. What alumni may also not understand is that any amount literally means ANY amount and that gifts to any San Diego State University department, college, entity, athletic team or program, scholarship, or particular academic major or program all count as gifts to SDSU.
We also learned that many alumni fall into two categories. Category one is, “The only time you communicate is to ask for money.” Category two is, “I’ve never been asked.”
Well, we are going to start asking.
Because here is the punch line: We need all of our alumni who love SDSU to donate some amount to any SDSU entity every year. We need you to declare by action that you believe in your alma mater. We need you to be counted as among those who are helping State carve a better reputation.
Did I mention any amount?
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