Creating a Committed Alumni Base of Support: Methods and Metrics

Monday, 30 July 2012

Susan Dossey, MSN, RN, CNML1
Janice Miller, MSN, RN, CCM2
Cindy Ford, PhD, RN, CNE3
JoAnn D. Long, RN, PhD, NEA-BC3
(1)Patient Placement Center, University Medical Center, Lubbock, TX
(2)Case Management, University Medical Center, Lubbock, TX
(3)Department of Nursing, Lubbock Christian University, Lubbock, TX

Learning Objective 1: Discuss innovative methods for engaging alumni to foster support for nursing programs incorporation of evidence-based practice.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss financial metrics and outcomes associated with the development of an alumni base committed to supporting nursing program.

Purpose: Increasingly nurses around the world are expected to adopt evidence-based practice (EBP) (Polit, 2008). Students need EBP experiences early in their education; however, acquiring the resources to support student involvement in research is limited. Philanthropic and development data suggests the national average for alumni giving is 4%. Negligible literature exists on methods, metrics, and a theoretical basis to guide the creation of an engaged alumni base to support nursing programs.  McClelland’s theory of motivation suggests achievement of goals, power, and affiliation are intrinsic motivators explaining human behavior. The purpose of this project is to describe the methods, metrics, and outcomes associated with the establishment of a motivated nursing alumni base to support student involvement in research, scholarship, and EBP.

Method: This study used a descriptive, comparative analysis design. The research questions are: 1) what methods contribute to a motivated alumni base;   2) what are the financial metrics and outcomes associated with alumni committed to supporting student research, scholarship, and EBP?

Results: Research question one: An alumni association (AA) was established.  Nursing department bylaws were revised to empower the AA within the faculty shared governance leadership model; AA board members partner in program decision making and program strategic planning.  Research question two: Alumni donations increased from 0.07% to 36% in a two year period. Student abstract acceptance at international research conferences increased by 22%.  Outcomes include the establishment of scholarships to support EBP; monthly research brown bag programs provide mentoring and collaborative opportunities for alumni, students, and faculty.

Conclusion: With the establishment of an active AA graduates have gained a sense of mentoring pride, raised awareness among the alumni the importance of nursing research, and increased financial support for student research. Methods and theoretically based models to guide the development of alumni engagement are needed and further study is recommended.