About CASE

Pam Russell
Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
March 28, 2013

Comprehensive Look at Community College Alumni Relations Programs Reveals Growing Pains

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A groundbreaking survey shows that community colleges are likely to experience an increase in giving when they track and engage their former students. However, data indicate that two-year institutions have made minimal investments in staffing and resources to develop alumni relations programs.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education recently conducted a survey of 133 community colleges in the United States and Canada representing a broad range of demographic profiles. This included enrollment size, geographic area and alumni base.

Benchmarking Alumni Relations in Community Colleges  is a new CASE white paper analyzing the results of the survey. It is CASE's first comprehensive look at the state of community college alumni relations programs, many of which are nascent and remain small in scope. Some key findings include:

  • Many community college employees who work in alumni relations have relatively little experience in their current roles. Nearly half of chief alumni relations officers had been in their position two years or less.
  • Less than 60 percent of survey respondents indicated that their community colleges maintain a dedicated annual operating budget for alumni relations. Among those institutions that specified the amount of their alumni relations budgets, the average annual amount was $23,611.
  • Three approaches to defining alumni appear to be used with frequency in community colleges. More than two-fifths of the responding institutions defined alumni as anyone who has ever taken one or more classes. Nearly 40 percent defined alumni as degree or certificate holders, while 30 percent said an alumnus is anyone who has completed a certain number of hours or units.
  • Many community colleges do not have updated contact information for a large number of their alumni, although successful record-keeping appears to facilitate giving from alumni. Responding institutions tracked mailing addresses for 48 percent and email addresses for 12 percent of their alumni population on average.
  • Financial support from alumni is an active segment of total giving, but there is room for growth at most community colleges. The average amount for total private giving from alumni was $50,846, which represents 6.5 percent of the average figure for total dollar amount giving from all sources.

"We see an increasing number of proud former students who want to reconnect with and support their community college," said Paul Heaton, director of the CASE Center for Community College Advancement. "Two-year schools, by devoting a little more time and attention, have an opportunity to expand and engage this important base of support that will pay dividends for years."

The white paper is being made available to community colleges free of charge, and can be downloaded at www.case.org/communitycolleges.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.