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Each month, Gretchen and colleagues are training and consulting around the world. Learn more about services and support in person by taking advantage of Gretchen Dobson LLC’s presence in your region. Contact Gretchen to make arrangements to meet the team on site.

December 13-15, 2015 – CASE District V Annual Conference – Chicago, IL

December 13-15, 2015
CASE District V Annual Conference
Chicago, IL (USA)
Monday 14 December, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Presentation: “East meets West, and West meets East: the application of theory to practice for alumni relations and annual giving in China

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.

February 29 – March 1, 2016: APAIE Conference and Exhibition 2016 – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

February 29 – March 1, 2016
APAIE Conference and Exhibition 2016
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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!