Giving from Individuals and Alumni

During the past 10 years, the CSU has worked hard to develop a tradition of giving among its supporters, including its alumni, parents and friends. Individuals have historically provided the highest percentage of giving to charitable institutions and the CSU has been no exception. However, this year, for the first time, giving from individuals has been surpassed by giving from corporations as the single largest source of outright gifts to the CSU.

Giving from individuals declined in 2001/2002 by 15 percent, falling from $107.5 million to $92.9 million, its lowest level in five years. Outright giving from alumni, parents and friends showed a marked decline from previous years. However, pledges and gift expectancies increased significantly as did foundation giving, some of which is attributable to the growing number of family foundations operated by individuals that previously gave as individual donors. This change in giving patterns may reflect the reluctance of donors to contribute outright gifts in a
down economy as well as the efforts of several campuses to generate multi-year pledges to support major comprehensive and capital campaigns.

A key component of every campus advancement program is to establish close ties between a campus and its alumni. Giving by alumni provides an important perspective on giving to the CSU since alumni, as products of a CSU education, have a unique and special interest in supporting the academic and other initiatives of the university. With 1.5 million addressable alumni from the 23 CSU campuses, the challenges of telling the CSU story and engaging the interest and support of alumni are tremendous. However, with over $20 million in gifts last year, the efforts are paying off.

Over the last 10 years, alumni have given over $200 million to the CSU. Since 1996, giving has fluctuated between $20 million and $27 million per year. This is a significant level of support given the fact that half of the CSU campuses have fewer than 50,000 alumni and four of the newer campuses have fewer than 10,000 alumni. In 2001/2002, over 67,000 alumni supported a CSU campus with outright gifts. In addition, 73,000 alumni joined their campus alumni association. However, the sluggish state and national economies appeared to take a toll on alumni giving. Although more alumni gave, total giving from alumni and the average gift size both decreased from the previous year.

Alumni giving decreased by 21 percent in 2001/2002, from $27.8 million to $21.9 million. However, pledges and gift expectancies increased significantly in the same time period.

The average alumni gift decreased from $357 in 2000/2001 to $325 in 2001/2002, but the number of alumni donors increased. The CSU continues to develop opportunities through its alumni programs to share campus information with its 1.5 million addressable alumni.

Alumni giving represented 8.5 percent of all giving to the CSU in 2001/2002. While outright gifts from alumni declined, pledges and deferred gifts increased. Giving from alumni continues to be a significant part of all voluntary support to the CSU.

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Last Updated: January 23, 2003