That is the all-encompassing word that comes to mind when I think about my experiences at my alma mater, my college, and my opportunity here at EverTrue now. While gratitude is always an important feeling, it is an especially pertinent word at this time of year for independent schools and colleges in the countdown for the Annual Fund. Gratitude inspires alumni giving to the Annual Fund, and schools are grateful for alumni and their support. Yes, in addition to an introductory blog post, this is also a pitch for annual giving!
I was lucky to intern in the Alumni and Development Office at Middlesex for two summers after I graduated where I worked with an incredible Alumni and Development team. Now, I am a class agent for Middlesex. My experience at Middlesex enforced in my mind how important alumni support is to any institution, and it also got me thinking—what is the ultimate way to inspire alumni to give back to the places that gave them so much?
Well, it turns out there are many reasons that inspire alumni to give back to schools, fundamentally to financially support the school. No matter how many times I thought about the above question, though, I could not create a formula to both express the importance of annual giving and pinpoint the exact reasons of why alumni give. I could not find a formula because the answer of my question lies within the gratitude and experience of each alumnus. Thus, the one reason, the ultimate reason, I find most compelling to give back to an alma mater is unique to each alumnus.
What is my one reason to support Middlesex? I have more than one reason, but here are just a few. I give for the teachers who challenged me and inspired me to speak up in class. I give for the beautiful voices of Small Chorus filling the Chapel. For swimming across Bateman’s Pond, for lounging on the Circle, for the vibrant sunsets behind the Chapel. I give because people gave before me to make Middlesex what it is, and I give to continue the tradition of gratitude.
This idea of the “one reason” worked for Middlesex’s class of 2013, who achieved 100% participation for the Annual Fund this spring. As the seniors supported Middlesex, they identified one reason they gave to the Annual Fund—a faculty member or a place or activity on campus, for example. Everyone has a unique aspect of a school to feel grateful for, and a means to express that aspect can inspire support for the alma mater.
This time of the year is an important window for the Alumni and Development Offices of any institution as the fiscal year winds down. I believe there is at least one motivation to feel gratitude to an institution such as a high school or a college or university.
What is your number one reason? More often than not, there will not be just one reason, but rather an infinite number of reasons.
Let us know in the comments or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am the Partner Success Intern at EverTrue this summer. I am a junior at Middlebury College, and I graduated from Middlesex in 2011. I am so excited to be at EverTrue this summer—EverTrue provides an excellent means of connection, an ability which I know is so important in life. One of my big goals this summer at EverTrue is to create ways to best show other alumni from all schools, like me, the awesome capabilities and features of EverTrue.