From Your Alumni Association President
As president of the WPI Alumni Association, I have the privilege of working with a group of dedicated volunteers who are full of good ideas about how the association can fulfill its mission of building strong connections between alumni and the rest of the WPI community. In fact, we are blessed with more ideas than we could ever hope to realize.
To make the most of the time and resources we have, the association this year has focused its energy on two important efforts for the near term. Knowing that the Board of Trustees was about to launch a major marketing program, we decided, first, to increase the level of communication with alumni about our activities and services. Our second focus is supporting the university's marketing effort.
While these primary thrusts will guide our efforts for the time being, we will also continue to work toward some of the goals in the association's five-year master plan. We have made significant progress toward a number of those goals, which remain quite relevant to WPI's mission, and we will do more in the months ahead. But given the urgency we have placed on the need to become THE leader in undergraduate technical education, we must find a way to leverage the power of our 26,000 alumni. To do that, we must zero in on initiatives that will bring us closer to that objective.
The fact is, alumni make up almost 90 percent of the WPI family, greatly outnumbering all students, faculty and administrators put together, and our ranks grow by 650 to 700 each year. We must engage these men and women in our marketing effort and create an army of WPI ambassadors determined to make WPI a household name.
As we set out to do this, we can learn from the Alumni Funds Board, which has been led by John Powers '61 over the past three years. John led the charge to involve a larger base of volunteers in the fund-raising efforts. The result has been unprecedented growth, with a Class Agent program utilizing more than 1,000 volunteers. This produced a dramatic increase in the participation rate in the Annual Alumni Fund, from 24 percent to 31 percent.
About 4 percent of all alumni, or 1,200 individuals, are actively engaged as volunteers in the Alumni Association. Image what we could do if our volunteer ranks were to swell to match the participation rate in the Annual Alumni Fund. We'd have an army 8,000 strong, and according to Metcalf's Law, our probability of success would be leveraged by a factor of 44!
To engage more volunteers, we need to know more about what motivates our alumni to take time from their busy lives to help out their alma mater, and how to engage those who haven't yet volunteered. For many alumni, it may be simply that we need to do a better job of staying in touch and letting them know about the remarkable things happening back here on Boynton Hill.
Indeed, these are exciting times at WPI. This is a unique and special university. I sense we are on the brink of breaking loose on several fronts, but we must keep pushing ourselves toward excellence in all our programs.
Thank you for your continued support. I welcome your input and would urge those of you who are so inclined to get involved. I can tell you from personal experience, that no matter how much you contribute to support WPI's mission, you get so much more firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last modified: Sep 02, 2004, 11:20 EDT