Top Reasons Why Alumni Should be Involved with Their Alma Mater

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By: Monica Chen

Why are Alumni Important?

Alumni are important to all departments and programs at Western, especially for the Western Marketing Program. The love and commitment of alumni are a powerful tool for fundraising and brand awareness for universities and other higher-ed institutions. For older alumni, it is important to maintain connection with your alma mater because it builds a sense of community. We want to ensure that they feel engaged and connected with their alma mater and are not contacted only when the program wants to fundraise for scholarships. By encouraging older alumni to give back, students who receive the support will be inspired to perform their best in the program and be motivated to also give back to the community, spreading the concept of philanthropy. Older alumni can support and get involved with their alma mater because of the benefits offered by the Alumni Association and they will gain personal benefits from giving back.

Unfortunately, the Western Marketing Program does not have a Marketing Alumni Association. However, the Western Alumni Association offers many benefits to all alumni, including exclusive deals for travel trips, restaurants, and entertainment. Alumni may enjoy having access to professional contacts and future talent at alumni events.

In addition, alums are recognized for their contributions towards student scholarships by getting a bag of Woods Coffee or owning a brick on the Western Campus.

On the Western Alumni benefits page, it also lists the different types of insurance offered to alumni and their family. These benefits provided to the alumni expresses gratitude and appreciation, reassuring them that their donations are in good use. The Western Alumni Association appreciates the time and effort alums put forth towards Western by offering an alumni appreciation kit. At events where the alumni are guest speakers, a judge at a SMA Case Competition, or has submitted a job opening for students to have access to, they receive this kit. Alongside these physical benefits, alumni also gain personal benefits from engaging with their alma mater, including offering financial support to the Western Marketing Program that will satisfy their esteem needs such as earning respect, and fulfill their sense of belonging in the marketing community.

Engagement is Important

Pyramid of needs, from bottom to top: Physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, self-actualization

Alumni engagement not only helps universities on fundraising, it also benefits the alumni by satisfying their esteem and belonging needs. Alumni can help the Western Marketing Program by offering financial support and these funds will help marketing students in one way or another - either directly through scholarships or indirectly through programs and events like the Case Competition & Meet the Professionals.

By being involved and connected with their alma mater, a sense of community is built. Intangible incentives include enhanced reputation (esteem needs), alliances, and other positive advantages. Alumni express the feeling of giving back to their alma mater as one of the personal benefits, including having a sense of duty or responsibility, feeling a sense of home, and a feeling of pride. Older alumni’s philanthropic support provides them a chance to visit campus, enhancing the feeling of home and pride because their support may increase WWU’s national reputation. Older alums’ participation may help recruit new students and increase young alumni engagement.

They also set an example for current marketing students on what is means to be an active and engaged member by becoming a mentor. By being engaged with their alma mater and giving back to the community, older alumni can express their gratitude of how the Western Marketing Program prepared them well for their lives after graduation by learning skills and leadership qualities to be successful.

Another benefit of giving back is staying informed, which creates a level of connection that would not be achieved without their philanthropic support. Most institutions have a tax-exempt status, so alumni who are financially supporting their alma mater may get a deduction on taxes.

Older alumni can consider maintaining and establishing a long-term connection with their alma mater, as their support (whether financially or not) will help shape the future of the institution in the admissions process and increase engagement in current marketing students.