French Alumni Associations Promote Graduate Giving

Jean Chabod-Serieis, Translated by Nina Fink - Mis à jour le
French Alumni Associations Promote Graduate Giving
Every June, Sciences Po Alumni hosts a 1,000-person garden party. // ©  Isabelle Morison
More and more alumni associations of undergraduate and graduate schools in France are devising new events and customized services to win over their alumni. Their motivation? Turning diplomas into donations.

What perks does the Sciences Po Alumni association offer? Yoga classes and workshops on public speaking, meditation, leadership and stress. "Our mission is to provide career support", explains general director Anne-Sophie Beauvais, but "we also want to be a resource when careers are running smoothly." One example? "Since our graduates follow politics closely, we organized a lot of election-related activities in 2017."

Get Together, Give Together

At EDHEC Alumni, recent initiatives include a summer session, mentorship services and e-learning courses on design thinking, creativity and finance. Those efforts, combined with regular communications, alumni recognition and customized services, foster a sense of community.

Every June, Sciences Po Alumni hosts a 1,000-person garden party. Beauvais notes, "When you contact alumni in September about funding a project, the garden party attendees perceive the request differently." The NEOMA Alumni association, which hosts a similar event, is "also thinking about starting class gifts," says director Agnès Flouquet-Vilboux.

Donation Motivation

For Beauvais, "You have to preserve a sense of belonging if you want people to donate. Alumni should still feel they are part of the school 20 years later." She adds, "Behind the money is the emotional piece. We maintain that piece." Of the €6.3 million raised by Sciences Po Alumni in 2016, €1.3 million came from individual donors.

According to EDHEC alumni director Christelle Caucheteux, the school's focus on entrepreneurship motivates alumni to donate to entrepreneurs via the EDHEC incubator. "Donations depend on where you are in your life. When you lose your job, you seek support from the network. When you get a new job, you're more open to requests for donations."

"In the U.S., 12-16% of alumni donate," says Paris Descartes University head of resource development and partnerships Marie-Blandine Prieur. Princeton is the leader with 50-60%. Alumni relations are approached holistically there," she notes. "In France, we reduce them to money and influence. That's a utilitarian, short-term view."

Read the article (in French)

Jean Chabod-Serieis, Translated by Nina Fink | - Mis à jour le