By Rachel Schwimmer
A new GG+A Survey Lab study finds a strong correlation between the frequency with which alumni and donors read university print publications and their feelings of connection to the university. A survey analysis of 2,106 respondents shows that individuals that read university print publications at least quarterly are substantially more likely to feel more connected than those who never read them or read them less often.
Feelings of connection to the university is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being very connected. The research finds a significant correlation (p < .01), showing that the more frequently people read university print publications, the stronger their feelings of connection. An analysis shows a 45% increase in the reported level of connection for each increase in the frequency of connection. These findings help confirm the importance of university print publications in creating and maintaining donor and alumni engagement.
Earlier research indicated a correlation between social media engagement and feelings of connection that are similarly reflected in these findings. However, the analysis shows that the correlation between frequency of reading university publications and feelings of connection is three times stronger than the connection between social media engagement and connection. While it is difficult to show the direction of this correlation (whether reading university publications more frequently leads to increased connectivity or vice versa) these findings reinforce the need to produce university publications to maintain and build relationships with alumni and donors. Further research could also evaluate the significance of departmental or organizational communications as opposed to institutional level publications.
While previous GG+A Survey Lab research clearly demonstrates that higher levels of connection are strongly correlated with higher levels of giving, this new research highlights the importance of university print publications in developing and sustaining those high levels of connection. The findings indicate that universities should aim to engage with donors and alumni through publications on at least a quarterly basis, though engagement at less frequent intervals is also shown to positively affect feelings of connection.
For information about how the GG+A Survey Lab can help you understand your alumni, donors, subscribers, and members, contact Dan Lowman at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
Rachel Schwimmer is a research intern at the GG+A Survey Lab. She focused on developing meaningful insights from the Lab’s collection of survey results. She is a senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago.