The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of College Planning & Management magazine.

Disengaged Alumni, Lack of Organizational Support Are Top Concerns

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – 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).

A common cause of alumni disengagement appears to stem from excessive fundraising solicitations. Because 68 percent 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 percent of institutions now send at least one solicitation to new graduates within the first year of graduation, and 7 percent 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 percent of their alumni opt out of all contact with the university. Some have seen as much as 39 percent 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.

For more information on the VAESE survey or Alumni Access alumni discount programs, please visit www.alumniaccess.com.

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