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Going back to the USA around the holidays could not be better and excited to spend some time with colleagues and friends from CASE District V. Co-presenter, Benjamin Tipton, Corporate and Foundations Relations Officer, Kent State University, and I are teaming up for one of the few internationally-themed sessions at the conference. In our hour we hope to cover much ground.
Here is a glimpse at the description and topics:
You probably have some preconceived notions about alumni relations and individual giving in China. Perhaps it’s been influenced by a news clipping about a large Chinese alumni gift to their alma mater, or you may be thinking, “philanthropy in China, is there such a thing?” This session will explore the opportunities and difficulties of doing our work in the world’s’ most populous nation.
We will explore the following topics:
- Indecision or Decision: Wading in will not work; it’s ‘jump in’ or ‘get out of the pool.’
- Individual giving behavior: Although there is a lack of a ‘giving culture’ tradition, philanthropic behavior is very much a cultural norm in China – it is just very different. Knowing how to link with the cultural norms is the key to success.
- Mistrust and transparency of giving is a key issue to be aware of in China. Giving to organizations – especially educational institutions and nonprofits – is a new phenomenon in China. Added to this, mistrust abounds, but this is changing and giving is trending towards western standards.
- It’s different in China. Although this statement seems obvious, we can’t stress enough how everything needs to be rethought. Western fundraising standards, for the most part, do not work in China.
- What doesn’t work: We’ll explore why some Annual Fund Campaigns are not very effective, even when tailored to the Chinese alumni group. We will also share from our experience about what works in China.
- Awareness of the Value Proposition: Alumni relations is about building relationships and “Guanxi” literally means “relationships” — the long-standing tradition in business and social networks is an important concept to understand if one is to function effectively in Chinese society.
- Inviting the Local Perspective for Student Recruitment: exploring alumni and admissions efforts, and how, overall, successful approaches to working in the largest international student and alumni market in the world.
- Starting with Student-Alumni Engagement: Chinese students abound on our campuses and may be thriving academically but not so much socially and/or with career planning. Alumni can play a pivotal role as we present models of student-alumni programming and special initiatives.
- Leveraging multinational professional networks: our academic/research priorities can become alumni priorities when there are value-added incentives for alumni to become active with their alma maters by way of professional and industry partnerships.
Our session intends to present a comprehensive perspective of both alumni relations and development for both seasoned professionals and newcomers.
I will be attending the first two days of the APAIE Annual Conference in Melbourne. On March 1, 2016 I will take part in two parallel sessions: 1) Local and Global: Trends in Alumni Partnerships (presenting with Rebecca Hall from the Victorian State Government’s International Education Unit and Saskia Hansen, from the International Division of RMIT); and 2) my individual presentation, Staying Global: How International Alumni Relations Advances the Agenda.
Stay tuned for more details about time and place for these presentations!