Engaging the Next Generation
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In December 2006, a group of anonymous donors pledged $100,000 to support students on financial aid. The pledge confirmed a belief in Boston College’s policy to meet the full financial need of all admitted students, but it was also an act of faith: faith that the generosity of a small group could inspire 500 young alumni to make their first gift to Boston College by May 31, 2007.
The initiative was dubbed the Maroon and GOLD Challenge because it sought to engage “GOLD” alumni—that is, “Graduates of the Last Decade.”
Although their memories of college are fond and still fresh, young alumni are not often quick to make an annual gift to their alma mater, as they are frequently burdened with steep loans and the costs of building a life after college. Yet close to 800 graduates from the classes of 1997 to 2006, inspired by the challenge of the anonymous pledge, decided to make first-time gifts to Boston College—58 percent more than the number stipulated by the anonymous donors. The greatest share of new donors came from the Class of 2006 and the Class of 1997, which together constituted 30 percent of all participants.
The keys to the success of this initiative lie both in strong leadership and in making a compelling case for giving. The focus on the BC experience and the positive impact of every gift, regardless of size, resonated particularly well with these alumni. “All of the great experiences we had at Boston College were provided to us, in part, by those who preceded us,” notes Hugh O’Kane ’00, cochair of the newly established Maroon and GOLD Executive Committee. “It is now our responsibility as the next generation of alumni to do all we can to make sure that those who follow us are guaranteed the same outstanding opportunities.”