As part of my Masters of Business Administration program, I chose to create a Masters Research Thesis on the topic of young alumni engagement. Titled “Architects of Giving: Engaging the Next Generation of Young Alumni and Cultivating them as Donors”, this paper brings together a vast body of research including over 40 sources relating to the topic of young alumni engagement and millennial donor preferences. Developing this project required the following skills:
- Organization and time management.
- Research and critical thinking.
- Written and verbal communication.
- Ideation and brainstorming leading to meaningful insights.
- Ability to balance a multitude of competing priorities.
I’m extremely proud of this project, this thesis makes important contributions to the advancement industry. It adds to the body of work existing on young alumni engagement and millennial philanthropy. Conceptual contributions include the integration of both the institutional and alumni perspective from the literature to derive meaningful insights. This includes the identification of key relationships including both alumni and student involvement and their role in creating a culture of philanthropy. Along with the role of data in creating desired impact transparency and targeting the causes young alumni truly care about. This research also stresses the importance of not placing too much emphasis on alumni connections, but rather focusing on strategic cultivation of young alumni as donors.
From a managerial perspective, this research contributes guidance surrounding young alumni and millennial donors, how they can be further engaged and how best to cultivate them into donors. Overall, this thesis shows that true young alumni engagement success can only be achieved by integrating the wants of the institution with that of the young alumni they are seeking to engage.