for people who already have a reason
to be connected to your college, and
you’re developing that relationship by
helping them see what a great asset it
especially when faced with cutbacks.
The Alumni Factor
one area in which community colleges have traditionally not excelled
is keeping in touch with alumni. It’s
a problem tobias Bruhn, executive
director of Bucks county community
college (Bccc) Foundation and alumni
Relations in newtown, Pa., is committed to solving. Bccc is launching a new
capital campaign, and reaching alumni
is essential to its success.
“We are still mainly focused on the
business community but we’re making
a targeted effort to get our alumni more
engaged,” he says. “like so many col-
leges, we missed the boat for a long time,
and we’re trying to play catch-up.”
Bruhn says turnover at the college’s
foundation has prevented previous
alumni outreach campaigns from get-
ting off the ground. now that the col-
lege is finally extending a hand, he says,
some former students aren’t quite sure
what to make of it. still, the response
has been mostly positive.
“some of them are asking why we’re
contacting them now, 10 or 15 years
after they graduated,” he says. “some
of them love to hear from us. they like
telling us what things were like when
they were here, and they’re curious
about how things are now.” the col-
lege is still several years away from a
big ask of alumni. Its current focus is
reconnecting them to campus through
events and other activities.
connecting with alumni takes time.
“you have to build that relationship and
you have to help them see the connec-
tion between how they were able to be
successful because of the college and
how they can help others be success-
ful at their alma mater,” says the more
experienced Guy, whose college made
fundraising a priority decades ago.
that’s not to say the larger com-
munity should be overlooked; to the
contrary, craft says it’s important for
colleges to explore donors of all sorts,
approach more corporations in her area
for grants and other opportunities has
been a win-win.
“We’re getting more savvy about the
process,” she says. “We’re seeing real
progress there. there are no qualms
about supporting this institution. People
Kim Fernandez is an education writer based
in Bethesda, Md.
on your campus
June 26 – 30, 2011 Baltimore, Maryland
Application deadline: April 1.
Participation is limited.
Visit www.aacc.nche.edu/FLI for more
information about both programs.