I loved graduate school. I moved across the country to attend grad school and not only had a wonderful adventure, but a fantastic education that I truly value. I loved it so much, that a decade later I am still paying for that education and will be until my own child leaves for college a decade from now.
But, I have a beef with their donor communications to me: all of their eNews, eBlasts, event notifications, and phone solicitations are all geared toward remembering my storied undergraduate experience.
Remember living in the dorms? Nope. I lived in a sub-par apartment across the river with my singer/songwriter/poet boyfriend (seemed like a good idea at the time.) Remember that bar that everyone hung out at? Nope. We grad students had no money and if we did, we hung out at that other bar – the one where the grad students hung out. Remember Parent’s Weekend/the freshman mixer/classes at the…NO! I don’t remember because I had none of those experiences.
Please don’t call and ask for a gift that is three times the amount of my last one (and what’s your rationale for that?) and invoked the new theatre complex and dorms as a reason I should give. I was in the graduate writing program? Ask me to give to the graduate school, the School of the Arts, or, even better, the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing. Because that’s what I care about; that was my experience.
I don’t want to give my college a gift because it is clear that they haven’t considered the best way to approach me. I know I give small gifts – but I still want to feel special; like they know me.
Later this week I’ll post on an organization that made me feel special – and in return, inspired me to give my first significant major gift.
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About the Author
Dana Van Nest
Dana is Collins’ go-to person for connecting with potential clients, overseeing all our communications strategies, and maintaining strong relationships with professional associations and industry colleagues.