Designing an alumni engagement scoring model to measure relationships and raise more money

Mike Bacon, Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations, Trinity University, Christine Martinez, Senior Campaign Manager for Light the Night, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, South Central Texas Chapter, John Orange, Director, Prospect Research, Advan

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Abstract: You have probably heard the saying, ‘Engagement leads to giving’. We also know that data should help us make better decisions. So how can we use our internal data to deepen our understanding of alumni engagement and raise more money? The Alumni Relations and Development team at Trinity University spent about a year working on a plan for measuring alumni engagement. Why did the Trinity team spend a year developing this? Because a well-planned alumni engagement scoring system can be a reliable tool for identifying and ranking major gift, leadership gift and annual fund prospects. It can also provide a useful tool to measure and track the level of engagement within the alumni base. While studying examples of engagement models, the team conducted an alumni survey and spent a year in active listening mode through a presidential tour to visit alumni chapters in 22 cities. The result from the planning process, survey analysis and active listening is a scoring model that measures alumni engagement based on giving and non-giving support of the university. This paper will share the Trinity experience in developing the model and provide some of the behind-the-scenes discoveries of what really matters.


Keywords: alumni engagement; alumni relations; annual giving; engagement model; fundraising


Mike Bacon is the Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations at Trinity University. Mike has over 25 years of experience as a senior level development and external relations executive, specialising in the creation and implementation of strategic fundraising programmes including capital campaigns, major gifts and annual giving. Mike was the founder and principal partner of Bacon Lee & Associates, a firm that specialises in fund development, board training and long-range planning for non-profit organisations in San Antonio and Central Texas. Mike is a certified fundraising executive. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University and an MBA from the University of Texas, McCombs School of Business.


Jenn Vaughn Christine Martinez is the Senior Campaign Manager for Light the Night at the South Central Texas Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Christine was previously an associate director of Alumni Relations and the Young Alumni Student Programs Coordinator at Trinity University. Christine has over eight years of experience in administration and coordination of alumni relations programmes. Christine holds a bachelor's degree from Radford University.


John Orange is the Director-Prospect Research in the Advancement Services Department at Trinity University. John has responsibility for prospect research, prospect management, biographical data support and predictive modelling. John has four years of experience in prospect research and over 20 years of experience in data analytics and marketing research. He is a member of Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA), APRA Central South Texas, Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District IV and Informs. John holds a bachelor's degree from Washington University, and MBA and PhD degrees from Saint Louis University.


Jim Stryker is the Associate Director of Outreach and Engagement at Trinity University. He has served in leadership roles in the Trinity Annual Giving Department since 2015. Jim began his work at Trinity as a Phonathon student caller before beginning full time employment with the university as Director of Phonathon operations. Jim's previous roles at Trinity include annual giving campaign planning and analysis, as well as management of solicitation data. The focus of Jim's current role is on the development of student giving programmes and collaboration with Alumni Relations, while advising the Trinity University Student Ambassadors service group. Jim holds a bachelor's degree from Trinity University.



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