Less than half of alumni interviewed in a recent survey agree that they feel a real sense of engagement with their school or that ‘the school enables me to contribute to its success’. (The fourth Alumni Matters study run by Carrington Crisp and supported by EFMD)
This has enormous implications for schools seeking to grow alumni donations. (Name me one that isn’t!) The study notes that a healthy 75% of alumni who feel engaged with their school are willing to donate, while only 45% of all alumni feel a similar urge.
So, Deans, I’d like to suggest that cases should be a key part of how you increase alumni engagement at your school.
My argument is that teaching cases featuring your alumni makes a very active contribution to strengthening and maintaining the connection. I know of many examples of alumni cases creating a porous classroom in which the interaction between protagonists, students and teachers becomes so intense that the classroom boundaries are forgotten.
Researching and writing the case engages faculty with alumni. It strengthens and prolongs their link with the school, as well as giving them a belief that they matter, that their experience is important to the school, and that they haven’t been forgotten.
Teaching the case by bringing those alumni into class provides real interaction between alumni and current students. They get to know and understand each other, and that makes it easier to care about them. Students may also research and interact directly with alumni and entrepreneur-owners in researching and updating the case.
Alumni and owners also benefit from continuing the relationship and from the impact of the case being used for internal reflection and development within the workplace. I believe that using cases in this way can encourage a longer lasting and more interactive relationship between school and alumni to the mutual benefit of both.
And that makes it more likely your alumni will fall into the 75% of engaged alumni who are willing to donate. After all, they’ve already contributed hugely by agreeing for the case to be written.