Alumni donation amounts up, participation down

Alumni donations have nearly doubled in the past two years because of fundraising for building projects and a large estate donated last year, but alumni participation is gradually decreasing, following a nationwide trend in giving, a university official said.

The university received donations from 11,088 donors in the 2005 fiscal year, but received 10,207 in the 2006 fiscal year, said Janine Kraus, director of annual giving.

Roby Key, the associate vice chancellor for university advancement, said major building projects, such as the Campus Commons and the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility, aided in bringing in more than $18.5 million in donations from alumni last year.

“Our large contributors are still giving. It is the smaller donations that we are losing,” Key said.

Economic factors such as credit card debt and an increase in gas prices may be to blame, Kraus said.

“There is no hard evidence to explain the consecutive decrease in alumni participation,” Kraus said.

About 11,000 alumni contribute to the annual fund every year, but the amount given depends on building projects TCU has planned, Key said.

TCU’s average alumni participation rate in 2005 was above the national average for private research/doctoral institutions by more than 14 percent, Key said.

More than 20 percent of the 60,000 TCU graduates participated in alumni giving, which beat the peer group average, made up of 11 schools, by more than 5 percent, according to data collected by the Council for Aid to Education in 2006, Key said. TCU’s endowment, which reached more than $1 billion last year, ranked third in the survey. The university also ranked third in per student endowment behind Boston College and Southern Methodist University, Key said.

The TCU alumni association encourages Horned Frogs to stay connected to the university despite leaving TCU, said Rebekah Waits, director of alumni relations.

Cameron Reeves, a member of the national alumni board, said a lot of students think the alumni association just wants money, but that is an individual decision that has nothing to do with joining an alumni chapter.

“Mainly we want you to stay involved,” Reeves said.

For Your InfoAlumni Giving Total
Rounded to the nearest million

2006: $10 million
2007: $19 million
SOURCE: Roby Key, associate vice chancellor for university advancement

Alumni Participation
Average for all colleges and universities: 12 percent
TCU alumni participation: 23 percent
SOURCE: Voluntary Support of Education