Student philanthropy is a hot topic these days, with just about all higher education institutions organizing some student giving program. Two experts on this topic are Collin Hennessy at Penn and Lori Hurvitz at University of Chicago.
In advance of the upcoming CASE conference for student advancement, and the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium, which they are helping put together, I got these two experts on the phone to talk about their take on student philanthropy, current research, and their suggestions for the best ways to engage students around giving while they are still on campus.
CASE Conference for Student Advancement and Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium:
Colin D. Hennessy and Lori Hurvitz join the podcast to talk about the Conference for Student Advancement and the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium that they're organizing together. Colin is the executive director for the Penn Fund at University of Pennsylvania and Lori is the senior director of Annual Giving at the University of Chicago. They both discuss the future of philanthropy, what institutions are doing right, and how behind-the-trend institutions can get up-to-speed with their student philanthropy.
[1:25] How did Colin and Lori get involved with student philanthropy?
[3:45] How are the best institutions engaging their students right now? They're starting philanthropy early.
[6:15] Students are naturally very philanthropic. Millennials are engaged in causes.
[6:35] What suggestions do Colin and Lori have for institutions who are just starting down this path?
[7:50] Look at your own culture and see what's important to your students.
[8:15] Colin and Lori talk about the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium they're organizing.
[10:45] Colin recently finished his dissertation and talks about his study on the influence of learning and annual giving.
[11:45] There's a lack of understanding as to why philanthropy is important on college campuses.
[12:05] Lori discusses her research and her dissertation on building a culture of student philanthropy.
[13:25] What is the University of Chicago currently doing to engage students in philanthropy?
[15:00] What is Colin's university doing right with philanthropy?
[17:50] The conference will be held at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta on Aug 4th through Aug 6th.
"Student philanthropy is a great way to engage students and it gets students to connect with alumni and role models."
"Student philanthropy gives us an opportunity to educate students early."
"Students are, by their nature right now, very philanthropic. Students have causes these days."
A lifetime relationship. This is what we are hoping for with our students, who later become alumni, supporters and donors. It’s certain that admission, orientation, financial aid, student affairs, athletics all play into this relationship, well before our alumni are handed off to advancement, alumni relations, and fundraisers.
But at most institutions, these areas are separate, and the offices don’t even talk much. That’s not the case at The Michigan Technological University. These areas are all under the leadership of one office, and one leader, Les Cook - Vice president for student affairs and advancement.
He has one of the most interesting and impactful jobs in higher education. I got Les on the phone to talk about what combining all of these areas into one division can do for the student, alumni, and donor experience. Les has picked up some great insight from this massive endeavor.
[2:10] How did Les get started?
[5:45] What does Michigan Tech gain when they combine student affairs with other activities?
[8:00] If you build a sense of pride with your students, then they will come back to invest in the university later in life.
[8:50] Les shares some personal examples of how he and his team engage his students.
[11:00] There's always huge turnover in gift officer positions, but is Les seeing something different at his university?
[11:20] It's not about getting talent it's about growing your own talent.
[14:25] Les is trying to minimize the gap between the alumni experience and the student experience.
[17:25] Michigan Tech's fundraising philosophy is similar to their student recruitment philosophy.
[19:30] If you can keep alumni involvement/engagement pretty steady over the course of their lives, it will benefit the university in the end.
[21:15] Les talks about his dissertation and what he learned from it.
[23:10] As Les talks to more people in his industry, what is he currently learning from his colleagues?
[23:40] People are intrigued with Michigan Tech's growth.
[25:20] What are some of the biggest lessons Les has learned during his student advancement career?
[28:20] In order for change to work, you need to have a president willing to support new ideas.
[29:40] What's next for university advancement?
[34:10] It's all about making a difference in the lives of others.
"Awareness to greatness, greatness to engagement, engagement to investment, and investment is commitment."
"Advancement officers work more closely now to bring donors and students together to share what's going on."
"There's a magic that occurs when the donors and the students come together."