Case Study: University of Maryland Alumni Association
Engaging University Alumni: Building an Event From Scratch
The University of Maryland is the state’s flagship university, with more than 37,000 of the most talented students from Maryland and beyond. Likewise, its Alumni Association is charged with the invaluable task of maintaining ties with its huge alumni base by supporting and promoting the University in its pursuits of excellence in teaching, research, and public service, and fostering a spirit of loyalty, involvement, and life-long commitment to the University.
Ten years ago, Darren Port, Maryland alumnus and Powered by Professionals’ Founder & CEO, approached the University about partnering with his business to create a unique event, which would re-engage the local alumni community. At that time, the largest local New York event offered to University alumni was an annual meet-and-greet event with the head coach of the Men’s Basketball Team. The event attracted approximately 200 alumni (75% of whom were under 30) and, even with the $25/person ticket price, ultimately cost the school over $30,000.
Darren proposed an event that would benefit the University community in several ways: he suggested adding a fundraising element to the standard alumni networking model to generate money for the school, and targeting all class years, rather than only young graduates, to extend the reach of the event. He recommended they also honor the achievements of some of the University’s most successful New York area alumni, to promote a sense of pride that spanned all ages and disciplines.
The inaugural Maryland in Manhattan event attracted around 400 alumni, growing to over 500 the following year. We were able to create a truly extraordinary event, connecting attendees with fellow alumni and friends who were willing to make generous contributions to honor their alma matter in light of the event. In the first two years, the University netted over $400,000 and participation and support continue to grow. More details benefits include:
- Re-engaging alumni across class years: The existing smaller networking event involved about 150 alumni under the age of 30 and 50 alumni over the age of 30; just two years later, second Maryland in Manhattan attracted a crowd where 450 of the 550 attendees were over the age of 30, expanding the University’s ties across generations while maintaining existing bonds.
- Increasing revenue to a net of nearly $400,000 in two years.
- Strengthening ties with active alumni such as Harvey Sanders (Honoree) and Connie Chung (Honoree).
- Reconnecting with high profile alumni, who were not previously involved with the University, such as Jason Finger, Founder of SeamlessWeb (Honoree), and Jon Gustave, Founder of Klik Technologies (Host Committee Member).
Powered by Professionals looks forward to implementing an event model similar to the one used with the University of Maryland Alumni Association in order to help other universities reconnect with their alumni.