The Young Alumni Prospect Pool, Emerging Leaders | npENGAGE

The Young Alumni Prospect Pool, Emerging Leaders

By on Oct 25, 2012


graduates in the city

Recently I was sitting at the Alumni Center of my alma mater participating in a board meeting for our Young Alumni Council. It made me think about how engaging young alumni is an ever trending topic with higher education and these “millenials” are an important group to keep in mind specifically when it comes to identifying future prospects.

Young alumni (the Council defines, as those that have graduated within ten years) are the fastest growing demographic of my alma mater, which so happens to be in the midst of a capital campaign. Down the road, this will be the group that the development team will need to focus on for continuous participation and key gifts.

Over the past few years, our Young Alumni Council has thrown around the question, “what is the purpose of our group and what can we do to engage our peers and keep them interested in serving our University?” The answer is easy – the purpose of our Council is to grow future leaders, alumni who will continue to be good stewards of the University… those we can make examples of in years to come.

We have tried different ways to expand the Council, finding great volunteers to help our mission and the University’s mission. Of course social media has played its part, but we have found that this age group is most responsive to personal contact. Peer-to-peer engagement has been vital with helping us grow. If your undergrad roommate is inviting you to an event where you know several others from your class will be attending, then you are more likely to buy a ticket and go rather than getting a mass email invitation from the Alumni Office and a Facebook message. Finding these emerging leaders and tasking them with the responsibility of growing the effort will only help them become better stewards of your school and at the same time, will help you connect with those who would otherwise remain behind the scenes.

In future posts, I will more specifically discuss how to find these emerging leaders, highlight their interests and what types of events and activities can be most effective for young alumni.


As a consultant for the Target Analytics team, Mary Kathryn Dempsey assists clients in bringing their fundraising and prospect research projects full circle. Her background with donor research and data enrichment for the Raiser’s Edge allows her to effectively navigate the solutions and make suggestions for utilizing and manipulating information. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Mary Kathryn worked with research, development and alumni relations at Clemson University and currently serves as the President of Clemson’s Young Alumni Association. Her experience implementing fundraising campaigns targeted toward younger audiences gives her knowledge of how to spin social media into an action network. She also understands the importance of engaging “Millennials” today and can offer suggestions and best practices when it comes to interacting with this group and getting your mission to the masses.

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