With the launch of “The HBCU Podcast,” there’s been much conversation about alumni support. This podcast spends a great deal of time highlighting alumni from Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the nation, but also discussing topics like philanthropy. Alumni giving is a very good barometer of how alumni view their colleges. The topic of alumni giving comes with many creative responses, but we’ve taken the time to explore a few simple ways you can support or give back to your HBCU.
1. Make a financial contribution annually
Remember your College or University operates much like a business. Businesses require resources, which are typically obtained by money. These funds are used for operations and to increase their endowment. So make a gift, regardless of the size. Donations from alumni increased by more than 10 percent in 2015 compared with the previous year, reaching a total of $10.85 billion in alumni contributions among U.S. colleges and universities, according to a survey by the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education. See where HBCU Alumni Donate The Most: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2017-07-11/10-historically-black-colleges-where-alumni-donate-the-most
2. Help recruit a future student
Your college needs more alumni like you. One of the simplest ways to give is to refer a prospective student to your college. National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, reported December, both undergraduate and graduate fall-term enrollment declined by 1.4% to 19.01 million students. It cost you $0 to recruit or refer a student to your school. If they are unable to visit, share the University’s website or the prospective student’s email address so that they can get more information about the school and apply remotely.
3. Hire alumni and provide internship opportunities for current students
For many College students, one of the things that give them the most anxiety is the job search. According to NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey, 69 percent of bachelor’s degree graduates planned to enter the workforce and 25 percent planned to continue their education. Do your part by becoming a pipeline for employment and internships at your current workplace. By providing opportunities for a student’s post-graduate employment, you create alumni with the income to contribute to your alma mater.
4. Join your university’s alumni association
Every university has an alumni association, which is typically an organization that helps you further impact your university through engagement with fellow alumni. This particular method of camaraderie can be done through meetups, events, community support, and fundraising. Establishing solid alumni groups provide Universities with better reach to the community after students graduate and further increase visibility for the University and alumni.
5. Share your College/University’s Social Media Post
This is probably one of the first times you’ve seen social media mentioned as a giving method. Now more than ever there’s a growing number of individuals engaged in social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and more. The majority of Universities have an established social media presence, so make sure you share, follow, retweet, repost news and information from your University’s social pages. This increases the number of individuals and alumni that know about the happenings at your school.
6. Share your expertise. Offer to give back to your college via your skills
Do you remember being a student and thinking about all the job opportunities available to you, but not knowing the individuals you need to network with? Well, this option provides alumni the opportunity to speak with students in your former major and share your career experiences and expertise. You can also volunteer for lectures, as a speaker or even make yourself available for a feature article with your College’s student newspaper, television or radio show. Think of all you can share that could impact the life of a student.
7. Be a walking billboard for your College/University
Making sure you’ve invested in some University apparel is always a good idea. Purchase apparel for yourself and your family. According to MarketWatch.com, the Collegiate Apparel industry is roughly a $4 billion industry. Not only are alumni showing school pride loud and proud, but so are fans of your College. So help with your school’s visibility by wearing your paraphernalia.
8. Support your College/University’s Sports Teams
This is kind of giving is a no-brainer when it comes to schools that have large football programs, but don’t let your athletic support be limited to just football. Supporting the various sports at your school helps with fundraising. When you attend any game a fee is accessed, but the school is also raising funds through concessions and other avenues. Additionally, student-athletes love to see alumni in the stands.
9. Update your contact information online or with the University
You’re probably wondering how this helps your school. According to the United States Postal Service, almost 6.8 billion pieces (4.3 percent) of mail is undeliverable as addressed (UAA) — mail that could not be delivered to the address on the mailpiece. Providing your college with an updated mailing address could eliminate mail waste and saves them money. Additionally, you could be missing out on important information that could help you stay abreast of the projects and improvements happening at your school.
10. Mentor a student or alumni
Every college has a mentorship program. And they are looking for great alumni to be mentors. This can be as simple as having a couple conversations over the phone, FaceTime, Skype or meeting for coffee. There are several ways to share with a student or alumni that can be a benefit to the College.