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Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications

Gareth Jenkins
Head of Marketing and Communications
CASE Europe
+44 (0)207 448 9955


For Immediate Release
Aug. 6, 2015

International CASE Alumni Relations Survey: Universities and Business Schools Diverge on Alumni Relations Support

LONDON, UK—Universities and business schools in the UK and across mainland Europe are continuing to invest and demonstrate positive returns from their alumni relations offices, according to two surveys that cover 84 universities and business schools across 12 European countries.

The findings are published in the latest results of the annual International CASE Alumni Relations Survey for Universities (ICARS) and the International CASE Alumni Relations Survey for Business and Management Schools (BICARS).

The surveys measure trends across alumni relations offices in European universities, with the respondents asked to report on the 2013/14 academic year.

This year's surveys reveal the breadth of ways universities and business schools are offering their alumni to engage. All those in the surveys are communicating with their alumni through digital means—whether that's through websites, social media or direct mail—and this is one factor in determining the percentage of those engaging.

"Obtaining, and updating, alumni email contact information is therefore of increasing importance to universities and business schools," says John Middleton, Executive Director, CASE Europe. "Maintaining contact is only part of a successful alumni relations programme if institutions want to develop mutually beneficial relationships with their alumni.

"More than just potential donors, alumni are volunteers, speakers and advocates for their alma mater and can do so from their experience of working in a diverse range of sectors."

Middleton adds: "As a new group of students are receiving their A-Level results and about to enter higher education, the really positive role that alumni can provide for them during the next three or four years of study and thereafter is clear."

ICARS-BICARS 2015 median number of living and contactable constituents per institution

The institutions surveyed in ICARS have, between them, 6.4 million living and contactable alumni, employ 347 alumni relations staff and have an aggregate budget of £7.8 million GBP (British pounds). Between them, they staged 3,010 alumni events which attracted nearly 65,000 attendees.

On average, each institution:

  • Offered nine different types of alumni programme (events, websites, career support, etc.)
  • Offered 10 different types of member benefit (library access, social networks, discount offers, etc.).
  • Served 97,699 living and contactable alumni
  • Employed a team of 5.3 full-time equivalents (FTEs)
  • Had a budget of £1.47 per alumni
  • Ran 46 events which attracted 1,061 attendees

The resourcing of alumni relations offices was higher in business schools with 8,076 alumni* for each full-time member of alumni relations staff and an operating budget of £47,450*; this compares to 25,382* and £10,952* respectively at universities.

Middleton notes that the business schools survey results indicate an opportunity for universities to invest more in their alumni relations programs.

"The ICARS survey has shown that higher education is investing in alumni relations staffing, but that expenditure budgets have fallen by 2.3 percent," he says. "As universities continue to grow their alumni numbers, especially of those that are actively engaged, there is going to need to be increased investment in expenditure budgets. A great deal can be achieved, as has been shown, by using digital communications but these teams also need an investment in the expenditure budgets, too."

ICARS is now in its ninth year and BICARS is in its sixth. The surveys are developed by CASE Europe and senior alumni relations professionals within the sector to help universities benchmark their services against similar institutions.

* This is per 10,000 living and contactable alumni.

  • Alumni relations professionals looking to tackle the challenges ahead can join other advancement professionals at the CASE Europe Annual Conference in Manchester from 31 August to 4 September 2015. The Annual Conference, which takes place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, contains tracks for advancement professionals working in communications, alumni relations, fundraising, marketing and strategy and is open to those working in the education sector - whether that's schools, colleges, universities, cultural bodies or educational partners.

    Visit the CASE Europe Annual Conference website for more details. Press passes are available for members of the media interested in the advancement of Europe's education sector. Interview slots with CASE's new President Sue Cunningham and CASE Europe's new Executive Director John Middleton will be available but slots are limited. Please contact Pam Russell or Gareth Jenkins (details at the top of the release) to arrange interviews. 

Hi-res infographics

What does ‘successful' alumni relations look like? ICARS Report 2015

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.