Alumni Access Survey: Disengaged Alumni, Lack of Organizational Support Are Top Concerns for Alumni Professionals

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New Research, Webinar Reveals How Alumni Professionals Often Face Overzealous Fundraising and How New Engagement Models Build Better Alumni Relationships

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A quarter of institutions have seen at least 10% of their alumni opt out of all contact with the university. Some have seen as much as 39% of their alumni opt out of all contact with the university.

The top sources of anxiety among alumni professionals at North American institutions are a lack of staff and alumni disengagement, according to a new survey conducted by Alumni Access, Access Development’s alumni engagement solution.

Seventy-four percent of alumni professionals cited “not having enough staff to complete necessary tasks” as a top concern. Sixty-eight percent said that a lack of engagement among alumni is their most pressing worry.

These are among the findings of a new alumni relations benchmarking survey known as VAESE (Voluntary Alumni Engagement in Support of Education). The findings of the survey will be released during a free webinar on March 15, 2016, at 11:30 am Eastern. (Click here to register for free.) Following the webinar, registrants will receive a free white paper outlining the details of the research findings.

A common cause of alumni disengagement appears to stem from excessive fundraising solicitations. Because 68% of alumni organizations are integrated with fundraising and development departments, alumni relations efforts can often become subordinate to the fundraising mechanism.

As a result, 82% of institutions now send at least one solicitation to new graduates within the first year of graduation, and 7% send five or more solicitations during the same period.

“When alumni relations integrates with fundraising, our research shows most schools rely on the philanthropic generosity of alumni, rather than offering benefits to attract and engage them,” says Gary Toyn, the primary researcher for the VAESE survey. “Graduates seem to be rejecting that approach, especially those who have yet to realize the full value of their education.”

The research shows that a quarter of institutions have seen at least 10% of their alumni opt out of all contact with the university. Some have seen as much as 39% of their alumni opt out of all contact with the university.

The VAESE research is a global survey of alumni relations engagement practices, and the results include responses from hundreds of large and small universities, in all 50 states and three continents. The March 15 webinar will help alumni relations professionals answer many important questions, such as:

·         Should alumni and development offices be more integrated?
·         Should institutions add or remove a dues-paying program?
·         What benefits can consistently attract and engage alumni?
·         How well does digital content engage alumni at other institutions?
·         Are online communities worth the time and investment?

To register for the VAESE webinar, please visit For more information on Alumni Access alumni discount programs, please visit

About Access Development
For 30 years, Access Development has helped organizations connect with their customers and build revenue, engagement and loyalty through custom incentives, employee benefits and discount programs. The company’s private discount network of over 350,000 merchant locations is America’s largest, providing discounts of up to 50% on everyday items to millions of end users. Access also offers the nation’s largest mobile commerce platform, featuring over 175,000 merchants offering exclusive “show your phone” mobile coupons. For more information on Access, please visit or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Brandon Carter
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