459412095-_alumni_statistics.jpgUpdated June 16, 2017

If you've ever needed a statistic to use in a presentation, this ultimate collection of alumni stats can help you tell the best story about alumni engagement, giving and membership.

In the spirit of sharing information, here is my collection of relevant statistics from around the web that I have used to help my clients grow their programs and make important decisions. They are especially relevant to higher education, but have application to many types of membership organizations.  I've also added the key findings from the new 2017 VAESE Alumni Relations Benchmarking Study.  

The data is arranged in five different categories:     

  • Member Acquisition / Retention / Engagement
  • Organizational/Staffing
  • Institutional Giving
  • Tech: Mobile / Digital / Social Media
  • Millennials / Young Alumni / GOLDs 

These stats come from a variety of U.S. sources, and each has a source link provided, (though some are gateway pages that require you to register or submit your information to receive the actual research).

I’ll update these stats regularly and post them here. If you have a stat that should to be included, or you want us to include stats from your own research, contact me at gtoyn(at) mail.weber.edu.

 


 Member Acquisition / Retention / Engagement 

  • 93% of alumni organizations choose not to offer their alumni any benefits, or they see little or no engagement from the few benefits they do offer. (source)
  • 90% of members/donors will not renew or give again after receiving their fifth reminder. (source)
  • 87% of alumni professionals report they need to improve member enagement. (source)
  • 85% of  alumni organizations report they “do a poor job,” or “need to do more” to attract and engage young alumni.(source)
  • 80% of alumni organizations use response rates (opens/clicks/visits, etc) as the primary tool to measure the effectiveness of their communication and engagement efforts. (source)
  • 83% of institutions send at least one gift solicitation to new grads within the first year of graduation. 22% send four or more solicitations to new graduates during their first year. (source) (Can we put a stop to over-soliciting young alumni?)
  • 83% of alumni organizations that have studied the pros and cons of implementing a dues-paying structure, have rejected it. Just 6% have approved or implemented a dues-paying model. (source)
  • 80% of alumni organizations report that “blogs, social media and e-newsletters” have the most impact on alumni engagement. 71% say “clubs, chapters and reunions” are the most impactful. (source)
  • 80% of organizations report that email is “Very” or “Somewhat” effective as a tool to recruit new members.  Person to Person (77%) and Direct Mail (72%) follow in effectiveness. Just 44% report that Telephone/Phonathon solicitations are effective. (source)
  • 74% of donors/members appreciate some form of personal “thank you” for their gift or membership. (source)
  • 74% of alumni organizations report to being a non dues-paying model.(source)
  • 72% of donor/members discard certificates or other physical forms of recognition (like address labels and other token gifts) yet… 90% prefer experiential recognition (personal calls, letters, events, etc.) source)
  • 70% of organizations say their top goal is to increase alumni engagement, yet 27% of those admit to having no dedicated strategy to boost engagement. (the 27% is self-reported, so  the real number is likely to be significantly higher) (source)
  • 69% of associations cite their biggest challenge to growing their membership relates to the lack of value associated with being engaged. (source
  • 67% of membership organizations start the process of renewal three or more months prior to expiration.       27% start four months prior to expiration. (source)
  • Member organizations must achieve a minimum 60% renewal rate for first-time members, in order to avoid a decline in overall membership year-over-year. (source)
  • 64% of donors/members complain about how often they are solicited. Ten years ago, only 41% complained about too frequent solicitations. (source)  
  • 60% of organizations have seen alumni opt-out rates (alumni requesting not to be contacted) increase or not improve. Only 7% have seen a decrease in opt-out rates.(source) See this article about 3 Bad Habits in Alumni Relations)
  • Dues-paying organizations are 63% more likely to have alumni opt-out rates above 30%.  (source)
  • 58% of alumni organization report a lack of engagement as the primary reason members don’t renew. (source)
  • 57% is the average renewal rate for all dues-paying alumni organizations (non first-year members). For Power 5 conference schools, their overall member renewal rate is 72% (source)
  • 54% of alumni don't renew their membership because they can't use the benefits, or are disappointed in the value of the available benefits.  (source)
  • 47% of alumni organizations report having a mailable address for four out of five of their alumni constituents.(source)
  • Content is 29% more effective as an engagement tool than any other category of benefit. (Content is: targeted, personally relevant communications / information sent to alumni via digital/social media or print.) This compares to other benefit categories like career focused benefits, event driven benefits, travel benefits, directories, revenue generating products or on-campus benefits.  (source)
  • 34% of membership organizations never stop contacting expired members after their membership lapses. (source)
  • 33% of alumni organizations have half their alumni living in a different state/province than the main campus.(source)
  • The average renewal rate for new members is 34%. For Power 5 conference schools, their overall new member renewal rate is 43% (source)
  • 33% of alumni organizations in North America have at least half of their alumni living in a different state/province than the main/primary campus.(source)
  • Power 5 conference schools send 29% more emails to their alumni, than non-Power 5 conference schools. (source)
  • 29% of alumni organizations use ROI as a tool to measure the success of their alumni programs. (source)
  • 26% of alumni organizations do NOT use social media amplification metrics (likes/shares/reposts) to measure alumni engagement. (source)
  • 24% of alumni organizations struggle with attracting and engaging young alumni, up from 17% last year. (source)
  • 22% of alumni organizations send less than one email per month to “most or all of their alumni.”(source)
  • 20% of alumni organizations do not track their alumni opt-out rates. (source)
  • 19% of alumni organizations do not use any tools whatsoever to measure the effectiveness of their engagement efforts. (source)
  • 17% of alumni organizations have between 10-29% of their alumni living internationally. (source)
  • 17% of organizations did nothing to enhance member benefits last year. Of those organizations who worked to enhance their benefits, the majority (60%) reported that “changing their website” was their most significant addition to their member benefits. 23% report to launching public social media. Less and 10% reported to investing in any program that added value to their member benefits.  (source)
  • 15 is the approximate number of times an organization must contact a member during a year in order to see overall member renewal rates increase year-over-year. (source)
  • Just 14% of alumni organizations rate their benefits as having a “strong influence on motivating alumni to engage/join/give.”(source)
  • 13% of alumni organizations report that the benefits they offer “have the ability to motivate alumni to give, join or engage.”(source)
  • 11% of associations offer automatic renewals via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), down from 13% last year. (source)
  • 10.3% is the average opt-out (churn) rate for alumni organizations (percentage of alumni requesting to be on a "Do Not Call," "Do Not Solicit" or "Do Not Contact" list. (source) Up 21% from last year.
  • 5.9   is the average number of years a member will pay dues before lapsing for good.  (source)
  • The average alumni organizations sends 2.4 emails per month to their entire alumni database.  (source)


Organizational / Staffing Metrics

  • 90% of alumni organizations are dependent or interdependent on their institution for financial support. (source)
  • 80% of alumni organizations report an annual programming budget (excluding salaries) of $250,000 or less.(source)
  • 70% of alumni organizations to not track ROI (return on investment, or amount spent vs. revenue) to evaluate the success or failure of their programs. (source)
  • 74% of alumni organizations have one FTE or less dedicated to administrative or clerical functions.(source)
  • 64.5% of alumni professionals’ report that being under-staffed is either “very” or “somewhat concerning.” (source)
  • 63% of alumni organizations have the same or larger budget than five years ago.(source)
  • 62% of alumni organizations have not seen an increase in their office staff in the past 5 years, and 26% have seen a decrease in their staff.(source)
  • 60% of senior alumni relations executives report to a Vice President/Vice Chancellor -- 12% of senior alumni relations executives report directly to the President/Chancellor. (source)
  • 56% of alumni offices have six or fewer full-time employees.
  • 52.3 is the average age of the Executive Director/Senior Alumni Executive; the average age of youngest full-time professional staff member is 28.3 years, an average gap of 23.9 years.(source)  (See our article about The Digital Generation Gap in Alumni Relations, and see why this stat matters)
  • 46% of alumni organizations choose not to offer their alumni any benefits, but instead appeal to their alumni’s philanthropic generosity and/or loyalty as their primary method of getting their alumni to engage, join or give. (source)
  • 42% of alumni organizations have never surveyed their alumni. (source)
  • 36% of alumni organizations report their relationship with athletics is “Good” (the relationship struggles at times) or “Poor” (doesn’t have a good relationship).  8% report their relation is “Superb” (Work very well together and have no conflicts). (source)
  • 33% of alumni organizations in North America have at least half of their alumni living in a different state/province than the main/primary campus.(source)
  • Alumni organizations with 25,000 or fewer alumni, spend 26% of their total budget on salaries and benefits (S&B), and 74% to fund alumni programs. Conversely, organiza­tions with 250,000 or more alumni, spend 75% of their budget on S&B, and 25% to fund alumni programs. (source)
  • 24% of alumni organizations don’t offer their alumni any type of career services benefit. (source)
  • 17% of alumni organizations are struggling with database administration, as measured by having contact information for less than 50% of their alumni or email addresses for fewer than 30% of alumni. (source)
  • 11% of alumni organizations are self-funded and/or organizationally autonomous of their institution.(source)
  • 5% of alumni organizations don’t have an alumni website. (source)

 

Institutional Giving 

  • 89% of wealthy individuals expect organizations to demonstrate sound business and operational practices. (source)
  • 84% of wealthy individuals have given to an organization in which they have volunteered, and wealthy donors who volunteered gave 56% more than donors who did not volunteer. (source)
  • Giving to capital campaigns and or endowments were not popular among those high net worth individuals with 77% of these individuals choosing not to contribute to such appeals. (source)
  • 67% of wealthy donors identify their biggest challenge is finding a good cause for support.  (source)
  • 63% of wealthy individuals gave to basic needs organizations, 31% gave to higher education, 33% gave to K-12 education. (source)
  • 61% of wealthy donors appreciate a personal note of thanks (source)
  • 54% of wealthy donors are not sure whether their gifts are achieving the impact they desire. (source)
  • 50% of wealthy individuals now engage/give online, as compared to 15% just eight years ago. (source)
  • 41%  of  high net-worth individuals stopped giving to an organization, citing “too frequent solicitations.”  (source)
  • Life Members are 19.8 times more likely than nonmembers to donate $10,000 or more. (11.9% vs. 0.6%) (source)
  • Regular dues-paying members are 11.5 times more likely to donate $10,000 or more to an institution, as compared to non-members. (6.9% vs. 0.6%) (source)
  • Alumni gifts dropped 8.5% in 2016. The national rate of alumni participation continues to decline, and has done so the last 20 years. (source)

            however… 

  • 3.4%  was the percentage of growth in the number of alumni of record nationwide for 2016. (The percent of alumni with contact information.) The growth in the number of alumni of record should account for the decline in alumni participation rates (calculated by dividing the number of donors with the alumni of record.) However, it also reflects improvements in the efficiency of institutions to track and maintain contact with their alumni. (source)

 

Tech: Mobile/Digital/Social Media 

  • 98% of organizations report they use Facebook. (source) However, use of Facebook has plateaued, but still 70% of adults say they log in daily.  (source)
  • 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind. (source)
  • 93% of Americans making $75,000 or more own a smartphone. (source)
  • 93% of 18-29 year-old smartphone owners use their phone at least once to avoid being bored, and 47% report using their phone to avoid interacting with people around them. (source)
  • 92% of Americans between the ages of 18-29 own a smartphone; 88% of Americans between the ages of 30--49 own a smartphone; 74% of Americans between the ages of 50-64 own a smartphone. (source)
  • 91% of smartphone owners use their device at work. (source)
  • 89% of college graduates own a smartphone (source)
  • 88% of adults use their smartphone to screen emails. (source)
  • 85% of alumni organization have a presence on LinkedIn (source)
  • 84% of alumni organization don't have a mobile app (source)
  • 84% of Americans making $75,000 or more use a smartphone. (source)
  • 82% of smartphone owners have used their phone in a car or on public transport. (source)
  • 78% of college grads use a smartphone. (source)
  • 78% of alumni organizations report their Networking Events are either “Very” or “Somewhat” popular career services benefit.  65% report their LinkedIn page is second most popular career benefit.  Podcasts (27%) and Test preparation (40%) are least popular. (source)
  • 77% of Americans own a smartphone (source)
  • 77% of adults use their smartphone to avoid boredom. (source)
  • 76% of organizations never update or post to their Instagram account. (source)
  • 74% of Power 5 Division 1 (NCAA) alumni organizations send a digital or e-magazine to their alumni. This compares to 49% of all other alumni organizations. (source)
  • 73% of alumni organizations believe they need to update the technology solutions offered to engage alumni.(source)
  • 67% of all adults are smartphone users. 85% of younger adults (18-29) use a smartphone, and 79% of adults 30-49 use a smartphone.  (source)
  • 43% of adults report using their smartphone to find information about a job. (source)
  • 41% of the Power 5 Division 1 (NCAA) alumni organizations have a dedicated mobile app to communicate with their alumni. This compares to 8.2% of all other alumni organizations. (source)
  • 35% of organizations update their Facebook page once per day. 33% report once per week. (source)
  • 20% of senior alumni executives report they are not tech savvy and/or are not interested in using technology to engage alumni.(source)

 

Millennials/ Young Alumni / GOLDs

  • By 2020, Millennials will total more than $1.4 trillion in spending/giving power. (source)
  • Millennials (age 18-34) account for one-third of the US workforce with 53.5 million people, making up the largest cohort group, surpassing Gen Xers. (source)
  • Millennials are 262% more likely to be influenced by mobile apps and advertising than the general population. (source)
  • Millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs and social networking sites than the general population. (source)
  • 96% of students want value from their favorite places of business, and are more likely to make a repeat purchase from a brand that offers a discount. (source)
  • 95% of Millennials want to be actively courted by any organization wanting their devotion. They also say that coupons and discounts have the most influence on them. (source)
  • 83% of Millennials prefer shopping in a store, rather than online (source)
  • 87% of alumni organizations report they “do a poor job,” or “need to do more” to attract and engage young alumni.(source)
  • 80% of Millennials want to associate with brands that are innovative, and 67% prefer to associate with organizations that engage in a worthwhile cause. (source)
  • 73% of Millennials will share content if it makes them laugh. (source)
  • 66% of Millennials want a unique experiences for being a member of a loyalty club, such as VIP treatment, for example. (source)
  • 64% of Millennials will respond to content that is “thought provoking or intelligent.” 30% will refuse to read any content that doesn’t entertain or educate them. (source)
  • 63% of Millennials respond positively when the content they receive is tailored to their cultural interests, and 54% respond positively when the content they receive is tailored to their age. (source)
  • 63% of Millennials would join a membership program if they are offered an incentive. (source)
  • 62% of millennials are influenced by relevant content marketing they receive from organizations they like, but they believe only 32% of that communication is helpful, and 45% is not compelling enough to share. (source)
  • 62% of millennials say that if an organization engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to be loyal. (source)
  • 56% of Millennials have ditched a company in the past year because of poor customer service. (source)
  • A 50% consumer adoption rate of radio took about 30 years.  Mobile phones took only 15 years to reach that same level of adoption, and social media took less than four years.  In the past, businesses have had many years to develop their marketing strategies. But with the rapid adoption of social media, most organizations have already failed at integrating social media into their engagement strategy, and need to make significant efforts to catch up. (source)
  • Millennials are 44% more likely to permanently disengage with organizations if they receive high volumes of mass, generic emails (otherwise known as SPAM). (source)
  • 1 in 3 millennials will boycott or support businesses based on a cause they believe in. (source)

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