Kent State annual giving team collects $11.51 million in 2015

Caleigh Marten

Kent State University’s annual giving team collected $ 11.51 million from alumni in 2015, according to the 2015 Annual Giving Report.

One of the major ways they raise support for the university is done by collecting donations from alumni.

“Our alumni receive solicitations by email and direct mail on a quarterly basis, and also via our student callers in the KSU PhoneCenter year-round,” Kathryn Young, associate director of annual giving, said.

Albert Melfo, director of annual giving, said that the group meets with donors face-to-face, occasionally, but “anything under 25,000 is done over the phone or email.”

Young explained that younger alumni are solicited for a smaller gift amount, due to the burden of student debt and the difficult process of starting a new career.

The annual giving team is working on getting recent grads engaged in the university and giving back. This can mean different things to alumni, such as attending an event at the university or making a donation, said, Young.

“We would like to find new ways to get them engaged, maybe with networking events and things along those lines,” Melfo said.

According to the 2015 Annual Giving Report, the university held 217 alumni and student activities for the year, which showed a 21% increase. In addition, alumni volunteer hours were up by 25% at 1,716 hours.

Young said that it’s most important that alumni maintain a relationship with the university once they graduate.

“We always hope can evolve over time to a habit of charitable giving to support their favorite scholarships, schools and programs.”

Melfo said even if alumni feel as though they are unable to contribute financially, they should still keep in touch with the university community.

“Our philosophy is that we would rather stay in contact with our alumni even if they aren’t supporting us financially yet, than to lose touch with them and then if five or so years and try to ask for a gift,” Melfo said. “We would rather keep them aware of what’s going on here at campus and see if they are interested in visiting, as well as talk to them once a year on the phone even if they are not able to support us financially.”

Despite the financial situation that many recent graduates may be in, Kent State accepts donations as low as $5.

“We always say that in Annual Giving, ‘every dollar makes a difference.’ And it’s true,” Young said. “The vast majority of our young alumni are giving less than $100 per year. In fact, our average gift amount for graduates of the past decade is $72.”

Caleigh Marten is an administration reporter for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected] for more information.