What has changed at the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association?
The UCAA is designed to represent and serve everyone in the UC family, meaning all alumni now have access to the association’s full range of programs and services .Every UC alum, without paying a fee, are welcomed into the UCAA.
Why was this change made?
If UC is to continue to thrive, we need a lot of support and involvement from our alumni. And because the UCAA is the primary portal through which alumni engage with UC, the effort to increase alumni participation – in both time and treasure – starts there.
This change increases the UCAA’s involvement with fundraising for the university through the Proudly Cincinnati campaign. It gives the UCAA a partnership role with the fundraising efforts by coordinating the Proudly Cincinnati campaign with the activities of the Alumni Association.
How does this change positively affect alumni and UC?
Under the donor-based membership model, only about 5% of UC’s more than 247,000 alumni around the world have been UCAA members. In addition, only about 11% of UC’s alumni supported the university financially last year, placing UC’s alumni giving rate 13th among the 16 BIG EAST universities and lower than Miami (Ohio) and Ohio State.
We do not want any alumni to miss the opportunity to engage through the UCAA – or become or remain disconnected from UC – because they are not members. Eliminating the membership requirement allows all alumni greater access to the many things the UCAA has to offer, including the benefit of a larger network of engaged alumni.
What happened with current UCAA members?
Previous UCAA members – identified as “Life” and “Sustaining” members – will have the same privileges as before. But they will be recognized in a manner consistent with their level of support through these new gift societies:
The Loyal Bearcat Society
- Minimum annual gift of $50 to UCAA
The William Howard Taft Society (lifetime cumulative giving to UCAA Funds)
- Bronze Level – More than $2,500-$9,999
- Silver Level – More than $10,000-$24,999
- Gold Level – More than $25,000
Who is eligible to be part of the Loyal Bearcat Society and William Howard Taft Society?
UCAA’s existing Life and Sustaining members have been grandfathered into the society matching their current level of support. Anyone is eligible to join these two giving societies. They exist to help alumni and friends of UC support the UC Alumni Association’s work.
Am I a part of the UCAA family if I don’t make an annual gift?
Yes. By taking this step, we will now include all 247,000 living UC graduates to be part of the UCAA. All graduates, of course, are encouraged to help advance the university by making annual gifts.
Do I have to pay annual dues?
No. Essentially, this plan embodies a UCAA model based on charitable gifts instead of dues payments and gives the UCAA a partnership role in the university’s fundraising efforts.
As part of the UCAA family, what are my benefits?
Networking with the university and with other alumni is a primary benefit of UCAA involvement. The UCAA seeks to help all 247,000 alumni stay connected through a variety of programs, events and services available to both local alumni and those living in cities across the U.S.
How did my previous Joint or Family membership translate to the new giving societies? Do the benefits remain the same for my spouse or family?
If a gift(s) to the UC Alumni Association is in the name of multiple members of the same family, then the Loyal Bearcat Society and William Howard Taft Society pertain to all parties listed.
I was a Sustaining Member of the Alumni Association. What do I have to do different now?
To be part of the Loyal Bearcat Society, the minimum annual gift is still $50, and the same annual renewal process is still in place. What’s new is that your support for the UCAA is more clearly viewed as a gift, and your participation in the Loyal Bearcat Society reflects your commitment to UC and the Alumni Association’s vital work. As part of this society, you’re a leader in helping everyone in the Bearcat Family connect with each other and their university.
I’m was a Member of the Alumni Association. How did this change affect me?
As a Life Member, you’re grandfathered into the Bronze Level of the William Howard Taft Society. If your lifetime cumulative giving to the Alumni Association falls below $2,500, we ask that you consider further giving in the years ahead to reach that level. UCAA staff will be happy to discuss this with you. If your cumulative lifetime giving is already the Silver or Gold Level, you enter the WIlliam Howard Taft Society accordingly.
How does the Alumni Association use the money from my gift(s)?
Unless you designate a specific desired UCAA purpose for your gift, it will be applied to the area(s) where it can best impact the alumni experience for you and your fellow Bearcats. In general, be assured that gifts to UCAA make it possible for the organization to fulfill its important role within the UC community and serving the UC Family.
Can I designate a particular UCAA cause where my gift will go?
Yes. Your gift to UCAA can be directed to a particular Alumni Association use, including scholarships, redevelopment of the Myers Alumni Center, regional network activity, etc. If you do not designate, it will be applied to the area(s) where it can best impact the alumni experience for you and your fellow Bearcats.
Why is alumni support so important?
Private support at UC is more important now than ever before, especially given the state of the economy and the ambitious goals we’ve set to advance the university. Alumni are a critical piece of the university’s fundraising efforts. The rate of alumni giving also has a direct impact on UC’s national college rankings, as reported by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking affects UC’s national reputation and as a result, the value of each UC degree.
What is UC doing to increase the alumni giving rate?
Because the rate is measured each year, we need to retain those alumni who are already participating. That’s just one of the many reasons why your continued support is so important. In addition to the various other year-to-year outreach efforts directed at alumni, we are introducing “1819.”
What is “1819”?
1819, which celebrates UC’s founding year, is a new effort directed specifically at alumni who are not currently giving to the university. We are asking these alumni to donate $18.19 to the university to help us increase the alumni participation rate and, therefore, UC’s national rankings. Our goal is to increase the alumni giving rate to 18.19% in three years.
Each $18.19 donation counts as "participation" as measured by U.S. News & World Report. The money allows UCAA to continue serving UC alumni.
We set the donation rate at $18.19 for two reasons. Because it is a relatively small amount, we believe it is an easy way for non-engaged alumni to come back to the UC Family and will hopefully lead to an even deeper relationship. And since UC was founded in the year 1819, there is an element of pride and history embedded in the number.
What can I do to support the UCAA changes, including 1819?
Beyond continuing your annual gift to the university and/or the UCAA, please encourage other UC alumni who are not currently giving to UC to show their support through 1819. Alumni can make their $18.19 donation by visiting www.uc.edu/1819.
If you have other questions, please feel free to call or e-mail Myron Hughes, UCAA Executive Director, at 513-556-3294.