You might not know it, but your school, college or university relies on you to give back. It may not be straight away once you graduate, but as you grow older and wiser, you may realise how important your education has been and feel empowered to give back to help others follow in your footsteps. However...
It's not all about money...
Traditionally, alumni relations and fundraising at institutions has focussed on high-net-worth individuals with a view of soliciting major gifts. In today's social age, a new model is available to reach the masses and it's completely reinventing fundraising. At KonnectAgain, we're really excited bringing this new style of fundraising to institutions all across the world!
Although it's important, giving back to your institution is not all about donating money. There are many other ways to give, which can't be put into balance sheets, but can have a huge impact at institutions both big and small.
Here are 5 ways you can give back to your institution as an active member of it's alumni community.
1. Become a mentor to current students
As someone who's been there, and done that, you can provide mentorship and guidance to current students at your institution. Share your experiences, what classes you liked most, how you went about finding that internship, or how you secured your first job.
2. Organise a class reunion
When's the last time you've seen your old classmates? As people go to work, travel the world or change careers, it's hard to keep in touch. Remember the great relationships you built during your time at school and college? It would be an awful shame to lose touch completely. Be the one to organise a reunion. It doesn't have to be a big do - a few drinks somewhere nice with plenty opportunities to catch up!
3. Help secure an internshipThose of us that completed work experience or an internship can all agree that having the ability to put what you've been studying into practice is a huge help in finding your strengths and shaping your future career. No matter where you work, help those who've followed in your footsteps. Make an enquiry - could your company take on an intern? If not, I'm sure you've got plenty LinkedIn contacts who might?
4. Be a Guest Speaker
Share your expertise and experiences with current students at your institution. Give your time to be a guest speaker at an alumni event, or a school event. Everyone likes to hear from those who have been through it all. There's an audience that fits everyone!
5. Donate to a campaign
As state funding decreases, institutions rely heavily on other forms of revenue. One of the most important forms of revenue is alumni donations. You can give back to your institution and donate money to a specific appeal, or the institution as a whole. Donating back can make a significant impact to your institution. It could mean new sports equipment for the football team, an extension of a computer lab, or a new campus building.
No matter how big or small, your donation can make an impact. Back in December we wrote about Northwestern's Giving Tuesday appeal which generated over $320,000 in alumni donations in one 24 hour period.
You may have given back to your school, college or university already, but if you have not (which statistics show is much more likely) now is the time. You spent years of your life at school, and years more at college, don't let that connection fall apart. Even after you've graduated, you play an active role in upholding and improving the reputation of your school, college or university.
We held a conference on alumni engagement in Dublin last November, and a quote from Alan MacGinty, the principal of Blackrock College (one of Ireland's most prestigious second level schools) sums this up. Speaking about his alumni, Alan said the message to their past students is always "You may leave Blackrock, but Blackrock will never leave you."
Remember the good times you had in education. I'm sure you agree that helping others to access and enjoy their education is something we can all do and should do.
Reconnect with your institution, give back and grow your network with KonnectAgain.