How do tier one public research universities build relationships with Latino alumni major gift donors




Mendoza, Celeste Marie

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Alumni giving is a primary revenue stream for higher education institutions (Blackbaud, 2013; Council for Aid to Education, 2015; Marr, Mullin, & Siegfried, 2005). Conley and Tempel (2006) state that gifts from alumni have emerged as the primary vehicle to give institutions an advantage over other colleges. In addition, large gifts from alumni, such as those at a level of $25,000 or more, are critical to higher education institutions (Troop, 2014). The National Center for Education Statistics (2014) reports that from 1976 to 2012, Latino enrollment at public institutions grew faster than non-Latino whites, African Americans, and Asian Americans. Considering this growth, and that higher education institutions rely so heavily on philanthropy to remain competitive, colleges and universities must consider the impact that Latino philanthropy will have on their institutions. The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative study is to examine how development personnel at public higher education institutions cultivate relationships with Latino alumni. The findings indicate that relationships with Latino major-gift-level alumni are built through one-on-one meetings, providing opportunities for Latino alumni to serve on leadership committees and join affinity groups, and disseminating an annual report that acknowledges donors’ contributions. Strong relationships also are built by the implementation of certain techniques, including: gaining and maintaining trust of the alumni and providing specialized giving opportunities for them. The findings also suggest that the failure to engage major-gift-level Latino alumni in the Gallo (2012, 2013) IA cycle of engagement, compromises an institution’s ability to successfully cultivate and solicit Latino alumni in order to ensure that their support will help offset the lack of federal and state funding that is sure to persist in the future (Conley and Tempel, 2006).


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