Monmouth University’s Class of 2022 Giving Campaign launched in October of 2021 and will continue to accept donations through May, closing right before spring commencement. The campaign encourages students to become active alumni by giving back to the Monmouth community.
The University’s first Giving Campaign started in 2018 and was a last minute ordeal, with gifts being collected shortly before commencement and little education taking place beforehand to inform students about the campaign’s significance. The 2019 campaign generated donations from over 400 participants and still holds the current donor record, although the goal of the 2022 Giving Campaign is to reach 450 donors.
The success of the annual Giving Campaign is measured through the number of people who donated, not the dollar amount raised. “One of the factors of U.S. News and World Report rankings is alumni donor participation rate. When an alumni gives back, that’s how they show that they’re satisfied with their experience,” explained Kristin Waring, Assistant Director of Recent Alumni and Student Programs. “For the purposes of ranking, they’re only going to look to see whether an alumni gave back or not. They’re not going to see how much. It could be a dollar every year, and that would help our rankings grow.”
Receiving a high ranking from organizations like the U.S. News and World Report gives the University a better reputation among employers, which can make a difference for graduating students who are entering the job market. Similarly, a better ranking can positively impact the way that prospective students view Monmouth and will help attract a more competitive pool of applicants.
“These graduating students will turn over to become alumni this year, so by giving back to this campaign, they’re already counted as alumni donors,” explained Waring. “When your alma mater is asking you to make a donation after you graduate, it’s not so that you can give thousands of dollars, especially when we know that students coming right out of school are still looking for jobs and trying to establish themselves and save money or pay off loans. It could be as simple as a dollar donation, and you’re helping to grow the value of your degree.”
Giving campaigns are a popular way of encouraging alumni engagement. “A lot of schools that have a long tradition of class giving campaigns can get 80 or 90 percent of graduating students to participate in something like this,” said Waring. “Getting 400 donors out of 1,000 graduating students is a really great number for us at Monmouth. If we can get to 450 this year, I think we’ll continue to grow in years to come.”
Graduating students who donate $20.22 to the campaign will receive a philanthropy cord that can be worn during their commencement ceremony, although donations of any size are encouraged. This incentive was not offered in the 2018 campaign, which may have contributed to low donor rates.
“I donated to the giving campaign because I was initially intrigued by the cords they were giving out,” said Erin Mulligan, a senior communications student. “But I did genuinely want to donate. I think it’s nice to give back, but I don’t think anyone should feel bad for not donating.”
“I have not donated yet, but I do plan to soon,” said Skylar Smith, another senior communications student. “I want to give back to the school for all the opportunities that were provided for me over my four years here.”
Jenna Lee, President of the Class of 2022, emphasized the importance of the Giving Campaign and encouraged students to consider donating. “Your donation helps the current Hawks as well as future hawks have a successful and memorable undergraduate career. It also allows us to build private support as transitioning alumni and will help us stay connected.”
Maintaining a connection to the University can be extremely beneficial for graduates. With over 55,000 living alumni in all 50 states and across different countries, Monmouth has a large alumni base that allows for a plethora of networking opportunities.
“I have benefitted so much from all the alumni and career and internship events that I’ve attended at Monmouth,” said Mulligan. “Every alumnus that I have spoken to has been so generous with the advice they’ve given me, and I’d like to do the same for future students after I graduate.”
Other students plan to move on from Monmouth before returning as active alumni. “I only graduated a few months ago, so I’m not itching to go back to campus and become involved this soon,” said Matt Cutillo, a class of 2021 graduate. “Once time has passed and my time at Monmouth doesn’t feel so recent, I’m sure I’ll feel the urge to re-engage with a fresh perspective on the University.”
Alumni engagement plays a large role in influencing Monmouth’s national ranking, whether it be through financial donations or simply attending alumni events on campus. Even after graduation, the University offers various tools and benefits for its students, including lifetime access to Career Services and countless networking opportunities among other alumni. According to Waring, donating to the Giving Campaign ensures that these alumni opportunities continue to grow and flourish and tells prospective students that you were satisfied with your experience at Monmouth University.
“We’re really excited about the potential of surpassing that class as the most donors ever. We’re hopeful that as commencement gets closer, people are more likely to remember that this is an opportunity,” concluded Waring.