By Kirk Kardashian
Published Sep 30, 2011
The Tuck School has achieved an unprecedented 70.5 percent participation in its 2011 Tuck Annual Giving (TAG) campaign. While the average participation rate among the top 20 business schools is about 20 percent, Tuck’s rate has surpassed 60 percent for more than 25 years and was 66.7 percent in 2010.
“This new benchmark speaks volumes about the loyalty and dedication of our graduates, who give back to the school in so many ways,” says Dean Paul Danos. “But it says just as much about how deeply our alumni care about the future success of Tuck and its students.”
Tuck has long been a leader in alumni annual fund participation, but conditions were especially right for a record-setting campaign in 2011. First, this was the 40th anniversary of Tuck Annual Giving, and alumni were motivated to mark the milestone. The anniversary was also a catalyst for an anonymous donor to issue the “Spring for 70” matching challenge at the tail end of the campaign.
“When our 550 volunteers saw that challenge come out,” says Dave Celone, director of development and annual giving at Tuck, “they became engaged in a way that, frankly, astonished me.”
Celone also attributes the exceptional participation rate to Danos’ recent reappointment to a fifth term as dean, and to the compelling student videos featured on Tuck’s website. “For the first time, alumni could easily see students talking about their experiences at Tuck, and it resonated,” adds Celone.
Tuck Annual Giving provides crucial support to the school’s programs, allowing the dean to designate funds to the highest priorities and supplement the current year’s operating budget. Overall, alumni gifts, including endowment distributions, provide nearly 40 percent of Tuck’s revenues—TAG alone makes up about 10 percent. “Alumni support is what makes Tuck’s small-scale approach possible,” says Celone.
“Our goal is always 100-percent participation, but we are thrilled to have reached this new high-water mark,” Celone says.