beTrue Bulletin – March 29, 2013

In this week’s bulletin we are introducing you to new ways of looking at alumni investment and donations and getting some fundraising advice from “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” host, Peter Sagal.

Wait, Wait… Let’s Raise Money

Anyone who has ever spent an hour listening to Peter Sagal host the popular NPR game show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” would know his voice anywhere. Now, Peter has sat down in front of the camera with The Chronicle of Philanthropy to share his knowledge of fundraising. While the video primarily discusses fundraising for charities, the main lesson is incredibly relevant for independent schools, colleges, universities and all non-profits. If you are sitting at your office desk and have misplaced your headphones, here’s what we think is the greatest takeaway (which also happens to the the opening line): “(Humans) are selfish creatures and the advantage that non-profits and charities have is that giving altruism is a pleasure. It can be fun. But it can also not be fun. It’s not a given that it’s fun. You have find a way to let people enjoy, (and) access the enjoyment of giving.”

Check out the video here.


Alumni-Sourced Lending Startup Plans Launch at 20 Schools

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School provides it’s students with an incredible education as well as an incredible amount of debt – it’s

Commonbond co-founders Mike Taormina (left) and David Klein (right)

MBA students have the largest debt in the country. Two alumni of the program, Mike Taormina and David Klein, graduated from Wharton and saw an opportunity to start a company that would allow alumni and investors to establish a loan pool and help MBA students pay for business school with reasonable interest rates. CommonBond is not the only company that is aiming to disrupt the traditional lending system, but we love that they are capitalizing on their alumni community to do it. There are several things that resonated with us about this article but I’ve narrowed it down the two most obvious reasons: 1. Who doesn’t love a good startup? As EverTrue is a startup, we are always rooting for those crazy enough to go on this adventure. 2. It’s an alumni-sourced lending company. This means that alumni are truly investing (in every sense of the word) in the success of students at their alma maters. And that’s just awesome.

Harvard Asks Graduates to Donate Time to Free Online Humanities Class

We all know that schools ask it’s graduates to donate money, but what if, instead, they were asked to donate time? Harvard University, this week, asked thousands of its alumni to help them facilitate their first Humanities MOOC in association with edX – “The Ancient Greek Hero“. The alumni will help to lead discussions and act as quasi-teaching fellows for the 27,000 students enrolled in the class. While there is no financial benefit to either the school or the alumni in this arrangement, this provides a brand new way to engage and utilize the powerful alumni network to which each school has access . Every school has that one professor or class that every alumna/alumnus simply loved – giving them an opportunity to share their knowledge and donate something other than money to their alma mater helps reengage alumni that may otherwise hide under the radar.


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