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We are Alumni Champions

Thank you to all of our Alumni Champions who are helping to increase alumni participation and ownership of Grand Valley State University. We are so grateful to you for your dedication to Grand Valley students and their success!

RESOURCES

Volunteer Responsibilities

Commit to making a leadership level ($500+) gift each year. This will make you more effective when asking others to participate in giving.

Visit 3+ fellow alumni, encouraging them to support Grand Valley:

  • Personal visits
  • Phone calls (to make initial contact)
  • Emails (to make initial contact)
  • Thank you notes and calls
  • Communicate with University Development Annual Giving Staff.
    • It’s important for Annual Giving staff to be able to contact you, to share information, and provide updates on successes, challenges, and progress. Please keep us updated on any changes of address, phone, email, or preferred contact methods.
    • Our goal is to make this is a beneficial, rewarding experience for you. To help us improve this program, it’s essential we receive feedback from you regarding your contacts, needs, experiences, etc.

Be a “Champion” for Grand Valley:

  • Lend your name to endorse the university in communications and appeals where appropriate.
  • Be a spokesperson for Grand Valley when talking with fellow alumni, family, and friends.
  • Participate in University Development activities and events when appropriate.

Time Commitment

  • Three personal visits - including outreach, visit, and follow-up.
  • Two dedicated training and networking events annually.
  • Communication as needed with initiative chairs and GVSU staff.

Champion Benefits

  • Build a personal and professional network.
  • Professional development and leadership opportunities.
  • Recognition at Grand Valley events and in publications.
  • Access to university leadership.

Spring Cycle: May 4, 2017 – June 30, 2017

  • May 4, 2017: Kickoff and training event; Spring outreach cycle begins
  • May 12, 2017: Alumni Volunteer Celebration & Service Awards         
  • June 6, 2017: GVUF Enrichment Dinner
  • June 30, 2017: End of GVSU fiscal year; Spring outreach cycle ends

Fall Cycle: October 16, 2017 – December 31, 2017

  • September 12, 2017: Alumni Leadership Celebration
  • October 16, 2017: Fall outreach cycle begins
  • October 28, 2017: Homecoming
  • December 31, 2017: Fall outreach cycle ends

1. Make your own pledge or gift first
This provides credibility to your request. Your contacts will respect you for asking them to give, knowing that you have demonstrated your own commitment.

2. Know your contact
Review the contact profile carefully prior to your visit, and identify possible reasons for them to give. This will help guide your conversation with each individual.

3. Talking points
Memorize a few talking points ahead of time about GVSU, the contact’s program of study, or activities they participated in as a student. If they ask questions during your conversation, it’s ok to admit you don’t know the answer. You can always follow-up afterward to provide more detail or pass those questions along to our staff.

4. Face-to-face visits
It is always best to set a face-to-face visit when possible.

In-person contact:

  • Demonstrates credibility – You are taking time and effort to visit with them.
  • Focuses attention – You are more likely to have their full attention in a face-to-face visit.
  • Clarifies communications – You will receive both verbal and non-verbal feedback, and you may be able to communicate more clearly in person.

5. Ask for a specific amount
We have provided a suggested request amount in each of your contact profiles, although you are welcome to adjust the amount based on your personal knowledge of the contact. Asking for a specific amount clarifies your expectations and allows them to consider your request more thoroughly.

6. Give the contact time to say yes
Allow the individual time to consider the request, allowing for silence if appropriate. If the amount is a concern, you can suggest a payment schedule (monthly or quarterly), or suggest a smaller gift. You may also ask the individual to suggest an amount where they are comfortable.

7. Follow-up
If you don’t receive a firm commitment in the meeting, we ask that you follow-up with an email and/or phone call in a few days to discuss the request further. Please consider sending a thank you note after each of your visits.

Remember

  • There is no single moment or method that’s right for everyone when making a philanthropic commitment. Each situation is unique, and you’ll need to base your gift request on the individual’s mood, and his or her interest level in what you have to say. Often though, the occasion will clearly suggest itself.
  • Notify our staff or your assigned chair promptly of your successes or of any major difficulties you may have along the way. We are here to be a resource for you!

Sample Visit

  • Greeting
  • Introduction
  • Thank you for visit
  • Explanation of Alumni Champions initiative – to increase alumni support for students and engagement with GVSU
  • Ask open-ended exploratory questions (see list of strategic questions provided)
  • Discuss commonalities, GVSU experiences, career, family
  • Share information about areas of interest to prospect
  • Make request. Example: “Would you consider joining me in supporting GVSU with a gift of $[amount] to [fund]?”
  • Allow time for consideration
  • Answer any questions
  • Share information about upcoming GVSU events/other engagement opportunities
  • Set expectation for follow-up if appropriate
  • Thank you again

Handling Difficult Situations
On a rare occasion a difficult situation may arise during a visit.

  • If the contact seems concerned by your request for financial support, do your best to end on a positive note thanking them for their time and support of any kind – financial or otherwise. Assure them that we appreciate the involvement of our alumni in any way they choose, not just financially.
  • If the contact raises concerns or criticisms about Grand Valley, listen attentively, let them know you understand their concern and that you will pass it along to the Grand Valley staff. Please do pass along any concerns to us, and we will do our best to address them. 

This list of strategic questions may be used throughout your visits to further the conversation and gather important information about the contact’s attitudes and interests as they relate to GVSU. Please feel free to make these questions your own so they become a natural part of your conversation.

  1. What made you choose to attend Grand Valley?
  2. What’s your favorite Grand Valley memory?
  3. How did Grand Valley help you in your career?
  4. What are your impressions of Grand Valley today?
  5. When was the last time you were on campus?
  6. Why have you supported Grand Valley in the past?
  7. If you could do anything for Grand Valley students, what would that be?
  8. What do you want to accomplish with your philanthropy?
  9. What projects or areas of the university appeal to you most?
  10. What/who had the biggest impact on you as a student at Grand Valley?
  11. How have you been involved with Grand Valley since you graduated?
  12. Are there ways you would like to become more involved?
  13. Where does Grand Valley fit among your philanthropic priorities?

Hi [First Name] this is [Name]. I hope you’re doing well! I’m reaching out because I’ve been getting reconnected with Grand Valley recently as part of their Alumni Champions initiative.

As an Alumni Champion, I’ve been asked to reach out to my personal network to share some updates from the university and ways to engage with GVSU and continue impacting students.

If you’re free sometime in the next few weeks, I’d love to grab coffee or lunch.

[Set date and share your contact information in case they need to reach you.]

Thanks [Name]. I look forward to seeing you then!

 

Note: If they say they do not have time to meet, ask if there is a better time in the future when you could reach out. Whether they agree to meet or not, thank them for their time.

Hi is this [First Name]? 

Hi [First Name] this is [Name], I’m reaching out to you as a fellow Grand Valley alumnus. I’ve been reconnecting with GVSU and some of their alumni initiatives. I’d love to share a few updates from the university and ways you might continue to impact students.

Would you have time to get together for coffee or lunch in the next few weeks?

[Set date and share your contact information in case they need to reach you.]

Thanks [Name]. I look forward to meeting you then!

 

Note: If they say they do not have time to meet, ask if there is a better time in the future when you could reach out. Whether they agree to meet or not, thank them for their time.

Hi [First Name],

I hope you’re doing well! I’m reaching out because I’ve been getting reconnected with Grand Valley recently as part of their Alumni Champions initiative.

As an Alumni Champion, I’ve been asked to reach out to my personal network to share some updates from the university and ways to engage with GVSU and continue impacting students. If you’re free sometime in the next few weeks, I’d love to grab coffee or lunch.

Below I’ve listed a few dates when I’m free:

[Dates]

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Go Lakers!

Sincerely,

[Name and Graduation Year]

Hi [First Name],

I’m writing to introduce myself as a fellow Grand Valley State University alumnus. I’ve been reconnecting with the university recently, and I’m hoping to also connect with some alumni in the area to share some ways alumni are continuing to impact students. If you’re free sometime in the next few weeks, I’d love to grab coffee or lunch.

Below I’ve listed a few dates when I’m free:

[Dates]

I’ll plan to follow-up with you next week. I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Go Lakers!

Sincerely,

[Name and Graduation Year]


FAQs

Yes. Donors may select a fund of their choice supporting a wide variety of colleges, departments and programs. All funds can be searched using key-words at www.gvsu.edu/give by selecting “Other Fund.” Your contact sheets include information that may help you determine some areas of interest for each individual. During the course of your conversation, you may also consider asking the individual what areas are of interest to them. We are committed to honoring the wishes of our donors, and each donor can be assured their gift will be used for the purpose for which it was given.

  • Online at www.gvsu.edu/give
  • By phone: 616.331.6050
  • By mail:           
    University Development
    Grand Valley State University
    L.V. Eberhard Center, 9th floor
    301 Fulton St. West
    P.O. Box 1945
    Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1945

Opportunity: Increasing affordability and access to a Grand Valley education.

  • Opportunity Fund for Access and Affordability
    • Helps students access a Grand Valley education and make it more affordable through scholarships and financial aid. 

Achievement: Ensuring success for all students through graduation.

  • Student Support Services Fund
    • Enhances and expands student support programs.

Relevance: Ensuring all 300 programs remain relevant for students and employers.

  • Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall
    • Provides funding for Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall on the university's health campus.

This year, alumni donors who increase their gift from 2016 can double their impact. Any increase over last year’s cash giving by an alumnus will be matched 1:1 up to $500, meaning an increase of $50 becomes $100. The match is available now through December 31, 2017. This match was created to encourage alumni to increase their philanthropic commitment to the university and is the university’s way of providing further support for areas of importance to alumni donors.


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