Massey Alumni giving – some unsolicited advice

Massey responded to my post below, showing good commitment to monitoring the news threads. They offered to change my preferred name, and I accepted.

I also sent some unsolicited advice, learnings from my experiences as a Yale MBA alumni. This is the tip of the iceberg, and having seen icebergs recently I have a visceral feel for their immensity, and the immensity of the task ahead of Massey. A shotgun plea for money like this one may get a few dribs and drabs, but lasting annual giving can only come from the bottom up.

3 things that Yale does which Massey can copy:

1: Create smaller communities, by department for example. In my case at Massey I studied Technology, which is now Engineering (Honours). I’m pretty sure that alumni would love to meet and support the latest class and professors, but there seems no formal opportunity to do so.

It would be even better to form an alumni group using sub-majors, in my case product development. Massey is just too large to feel personal long term commitment, but narrowing things down to degrees/departments/majors allows us to recall a much closer relationship. It’s those historic personal relationships, along with on-going alumni actiivites that drive peer-based giving and ongoing support.

2: Have tangible funding goals. A building, a scholarship, a degree course. Start small, and let us allocate our funds to the area we want.

 3: Use the money to invest in a well managed and spending controlled investment fund, not spending immediately on operational costs like “teaching, research and learning”. Let people know their money will be earning Massey money for posterity. Dave Swensen’s Institutional Funds Management shows Yale’s approach.


Published by Lance Wiggs