In looking for fundraising dollars to support student investment, Temple has increasingly relied upon large sums laid out by a small percentage of its alumni network.
As reported in “Fundraising values rise, support lags”, despite a growing amount of monetary support from alumni, the percentage of donors who give back to Temple has flatlined at around 7 percent for most of the past decade.
While it is a positive sign that donations to the university are growing, it raises concerns about the sustainability of a fundraising profile that centers around a narrow group of donors. In order to better sustain and build upon its fundraising income, Temple must find new and innovative ways to draw support from its 292,000 living alumni, especially the 160,000 who still reside in the Philadelphia area.
Russell Conwell’s founding vision for Temple was for a university that would offer secondary education to those who typically fell outside of the college bracket. As more and more young people in America attend universities, Temple must continue to make a concerted effort to attract those who remain marginalized by the mainstream university network.
Increased alumni donations allow for more scholarships that give opportunities to underprivileged students to receive an education.
For that reason, we call on alumni to think seriously about responding to the pleas for donations that so often get thrown out with the junk mail. It is primarily through the support of alumni that new generations of students can be given the chance to succeed at Temple.
While decisions like the one to cut five nonrevenue sports leave a bad taste in the mouths of potential donors, there is room to grow. The reinstatement of crew and rowing came after a charitable donation to help refurbish the East Park Canoe House.
Both the administration and alumni must take greater steps to ensure that the Conwell legacy is thriving for years to come.