Alumni rank low in donations to the Hall

At 8 percent, Seton Hall has one of the lowest alumni giving rates among Big East colleges and universities, according to an ad placed in the Winter/Spring edition Seton Hall magazine.

Other Big East schools, according to the ad, have much higher alumni giving rates. Notre Dame reports 50 percent, Providence reports 26 percent, Villanova reports 19 percent and Rutgers reports 15 percent.

Joette Rosato, director of the Seton Hall Fund said the numbers are reported to U.S. News and World Report as part of the magazine’s college ranking system.

The alumni giving rate is calculated by dividing the number of alumni donors during a given academic year by the number of alumni on record for that same year. These two separate alumni giving rates were then averaged for the 2007 and 2008 academic years for reporting to U.S. News.

According to the ad, 8 percent of, or 5,544, Seton Hall alumni gave monetary donations to Seton Hall last year.

Rosato said that 8.5 percent is a more accurate number, as some alumni were not able to be included in the total number that the university reported to U.S. News.

Rosato said the university has approximately 67,000 solicitable alumni, or alumni whom the university has enough information on to contact for a donation.

After hearing comments from alumni, one of the biggest factors in an alumnus’ decision to donate to Seton Hall seems to depend on the quality of his experience as a student, Rosato said.

Rosato said, though an alumni’s experience as a student is a large factor in giving the experience one has as an alumnus, especially following graduation, is key.

Additional factors, according to Rosato, include “whether or not (alumni) see other constituents giving to Seton Hall, and their relationships with particular groups or organizations within the university.”

Rosato also said funds tend to rise and fall with the news and events that transpire at the university, particularly in regard to athletics.

“If the basketball team does well, donations tend to increase,” Rosato said, giving an example. “If they don’t do well, donations tend to drop.”
Rosato said another fund, Pirate Blue, raises money for the Athletics department.She also said the other schools in the ad may offer a very different student experience since they are different schools.

They were chosen, however, because there are other Big East schools Seton Hall alumni are more likely to be familiar with.

Rosato said the ad in Seton Hall magazine was the first time the Seton Hall Fund presented actual numbers to alumni.

This year’s spring solicitation also included a “hard ask” for money. In the past, Rosato said the Seton Hall Fund has solicited donations by appealing to “the spirit of giving” by telling alumni that “it would be nice if (they) were to give” and profiling alumni, employees, alumni families and others who exemplified “giving back” to Seton Hall.

“We weren’t very specific,” Rosato said. “Now, people are talking about the ad. We are trying to raise awareness and educate people.”

As part of the spring solicitation, which mails in March, Rosato included a fundraising thermometer for both this year and last year.

“In the past, the Seton Hall Fund has exceeded its goal,” the mailing reads. “Last year, we fell short. This year, more than ever, we need your help.” Last year, the Seton Hall Fund raised $1.45 million of its $1.5 million goal.

“The monetary goal of the Seton Hall Fund this fiscal year is to raise $1.6 million,” Rosato said. The university’s finance department determines how much the Seton Hall Fund needs to raise each year. As of April 27, Rosato said, alumni have committed a total of just over $1 million.

The Seton Hall Fund is an unrestricted fund, Rosato said, and the money raised by the fund can go to a wide variety of programs on campus.

“The money raised by the Seton Hall Fund can be used for whatever the university decides to spend it on,” Rosato said. “It can go to scholarships, financial aid, mobile computing, buildings and grounds,, clubs and organizations, or faculty development.”

The Seton Hall Fund solicits every alumni it has contact information for, and it often tailors the solicitations based upon the information the fund has on each alumnus. Other alumni are contacted via phonathon, where students contact alumni seeking contributions.

“Young alumni are the hardest for us to reach,” Rosato said. “We ask for their contact information when they graduate, but not everyone knows where they are headed, if they will be living at home for a while or if they will be on their own. A lot of them might also want a break from the school.”

The 8.5 percent giving rate from the 2009-2010 is down from the 9.5 percent alumni giving rate from the 2008-2009 year but up from the 8 percent in 2007-2008 academic year. In 2006-2007, the alumni giving rate was 8.9 percent.

“We weren’t very specific,” Rosato said. “Now, people are talking about the ad. We are trying to raise awareness and educate people.”

As part of the spring solicitation, which was mailed in March, Rosato included a fundraising thermometer for both this year and last year.
“In the past, the Seton Hall Fund has exceeded its goal,” the mailing reads. “Last year, we fell short. This year, more than ever, we need your help.” Last year, the Seton Hall Fund raised $1.45 million of its $1.5 million goal.

“The monetary goal of the Seton Hall Fund this fiscal year is to raise $1.6 million,” Rosato said. The university’s finance department determines how much the Seton Hall Fund needs to raise each year. As of April 27, Rosato said, alumni have committed a total of just over $1 million.

The Seton Hall Fund is an unrestricted fund, Rosato said, and the money raised by the fund can go to a wide variety of programs on campus.

“The money raised by the Seton Hall Fund can be used for whatever the university decides to spend it on,” Rosato said. “It can go to scholarships, financial aid, mobile computing, buildings and grounds, clubs and organizations, or faculty development.”

The Seton Hall Fund solicits every alumni it has contact information for, and it often tailors the solicitations based upon the information the fund has on each alumnus. Other alumni are contacted via phonathon, where students contact alumni seeking contributions.

“Young alumni are the hardest for us to reach,” Rosato said. “We ask for their contact information when they graduate, but not everyone knows where they are headed, if they will be living at home for a while or if they will be on their own. A lot of them might also want a break from the school.”

The 8.5 percent giving rate from the 2009-2010 is down from the 9.5 percent alumni giving rate from the 2008-2009 year but up from the 8 percent in 2007-2008 academic year. In 2006-2007, the alumni giving rate was 8.9 percent.

Brenden Higashi can be reached at brenden.higashi@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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