Running Head: Messiah College Alumni AssociationMessiah College Alumni AssociationOne College AvenueBox 3023-McBeth Alumni CenterGrantham, PA 17027717-796-52522

Messiah College Alumni AssociationMessiah College Alumni AssociationOne College AvenueBox 3023-McBeth Alumni CenterGrantham, PA 17027717-796-5252Principal Owners:Linden HustedtMessiah College Board of Trustees ChairOne College AvenueGrantham, PA 17027Kim S. PhippsMessiah College PresidentOne College Avenue-BoxGrantham, PA 17027Principle Managers:Jay McClymontDirector of Alumni RelationsOne College Avenue-Box 3023Grantham, PA 17027Kristin ZummoDirector of Annual GivingOne College Avenue-Box 3013Grantham, PA 17027Amanda LavisAlumni Council ChairOne College Avenue-Box 3023Grantham, PA 170273

Messiah College Alumni AssociationTABLE OF CONTENTSEXECUTIVE SUMMARY . 5-7STRATEGIC ANALYSIS . .7-11DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS . . .11-13MARKETING . .13-23OPERATING PLAN .23-25MANAGEMENT PLAN . .25-26FINANCIAL DATA . 26-27REFERENCES . 28-29Appendix A .30Appendix B . .31-35Appendix C . .36Appendix D . 37Appendix E . 38-39Appendix F .40-45Appendix G . .46Appendix H .47Appendix I . 48-53Appendix J . .544

Messiah College Alumni AssociationEXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis plan outlines the addition of a dues based membership to the alumni association atMessiah College. While a perfunctory alumni association currently exists, all alumni arecurrently considered a part of this group and its existence is not known or acknowledged by thecollege or the alumni base. This plan outlines a restructure of the existing alumni associationthat would include a yearly membership fee for interested alumni. It would also provideincreased and improved alumni service offerings and benefits to those choosing membership.The special services and benefits would allow alumni to stay more closely connected to theiralma mater through specialized and frequent communications, networking opportunities thatconnect them with upper level administrators, and a more frequent connection with currentstudents.Currently, these alumni have limited access to such benefits and services and can onlyachieve a special level of recognition by donating 10,000 per year the college. This plan createsa stage of involvement that requires a reduced financial commitment but involves alumni in away that encourages continued support of the college.The customer for this service is the Messiah College alumna/ae. Current students andnon-graduate alumni (those who completed 30 credits but did not graduate) are ineligible formembership into the alumni association. All alumni, regardless of age or geographic region, willbe invited to purchase membership to the alumni association. Some services, discounts oncampus, for example, will only be valuable for those who live in close proximity to or are able tovisit campus. Other services will be accessible to all alumni in spite of their geographic location.The off-campus benefits will grow as the program develops.5

Messiah College Alumni AssociationTo date, the living alumni base consists of 24,254 individuals. Each year the marketincreases by approximately 3%, as the college graduates between approximately 690 new alumnieach year (based on average graduating class size of past five years ago) (Miller, 2011). Theattrition rate of .03% reflects the alumni death rates. This number is significantly less than thegrowth rate as our aging alumni make up a significantly smaller portion of the alumni populationthan our recent graduates. (See Appendix A for a diagram of the alumni population byapproximate class sizes). While every individual in the alumni base is a potential customer, theschool only possesses up to date contact information for 15,166 of these individuals (Miller,2011). This number represents the market that will be reached through advertising. As anonprofit organization, no revenue will be realized from this venture. However, a portion ofeach member’s fees will be donated to the Messiah College Annual Fund in their name. (SeeAppendix D for pricing structure and fee usage). Assuming that 10% or less of the reachablemarket become active customers in the first year, there is significant potential for an increase inalumni participation rate (number of alumni who financial contribute to the college). Thispotential would be variable based on the number of existing donors who would join the alumniassociation as their membership “gift” would not count as additional participation. Within thefirst five years, if the services and benefits can be maintained, this potential for growth in thearea of alumni participation increases. While the overall number of alumni association membersmay increase, alumni participation will only continue increasing if all existing members and newmembers join each year. Over time, programs will be put in place to educate students aboutmembership before graduate thus increasing the market penetration.6

Messiah College Alumni AssociationAs each graduating class maintains or increases in number compared to the class beforeit, there is potential for the growth rate to continue to increase for up to thirty years. Assumingthe college will maintain its general campus and class size, approximately thirty years from now,the projected rate of increase and decrease of potential alumni association members will beginsto balance as the death and graduation rate begin to balance.The purpose of this plan is to mobilize the currently dormant alumni association andcreate an active dues-based association in its place. This dues-based alumni association willincrease both the strength of alumni ties to the college and alumni giving participation to thecollege.This program will be set up inside the existing non-profit structure of Messiah College,which is under the direction of the Board of Trustees and the President. However, this particularcollege program will be controlled by the Alumni Office and Annual Giving staff in consultationwith the elected chair of the Alumni Council.STRATEGIC ANALYSISStrategically this program is a unique opportunity to serve a currently untapped market.Because the target audience is specifically Messiah College alumni, a group that has not yet beenoffered this type of service, the potential for interest and growth is significant. Also, as 76% ofalumni report ongoing satisfaction with the college (Crane, 2009), alumni loyalty is high and themarket is primed in a distinctive way for this type of opportunity. Weerts and Ronca (2008)propose that satisfied alumni are five times more likely to continue to engage with and supporttheir alma mater than those who report dissatisfaction.This program will be incorporated into the existing operation of Messiah College,specifically the work of the Alumni and Annual Giving Offices. Placing this program into an7

Messiah College Alumni Associationexisting infrastructure significantly mitigates the risk as there as the start up investment issignificantly decreased (Morris, Kuratko, & Covin, 2008). Existing structure, personnel, andphysical facilities will be used to support this program. Morris, et al (2008) suggests this type of‘intrapreneurship’ insulates the new venture from outside influence, provides access to vitalfinancial support, and offers an extensive network to assist with implementation.The program’s central strength revolves around the high specificity of the market. Notonly is the market a specifically identified group, this group has a unique shared experience thatunifies them. Their pre-existing loyalty to the college and the lack of any similar service createsa void that this new program will strive to fill. Additionally, the college has contact informationon everyone in their reachable market which allows for the opportunity to access and present thisinformation without using extra resources on defining the market and locating potentialcustomers. Another strength is the program’s potential to increase awareness about theimportance of alumni giving, while simultaneously increasing alumni giving participation.Finally, there is strength in the fact that as alumni engage with the alumni association, itsservices and benefits, the college will be rewarded with these individuals’ continuedinvolvement.Mael and Ashforth (1992) defined organizational identification as “a perceived onenesswith an organization and the experience of the organization’s successes and failures as one’sown” (p. 103). Alumni experience a level of continued identification with their alma mater as aresult of satisfaction and perceived prestige. Identification among alumni is not affected byrecency of attendance at the institution, however (Mael & Ashforth, 1992). Instead, level ofidentification is positively correlated with proximity of residence to campus, number of visits peryear, and ongoing readership of college publications. (Taylor & Martin, 1999; Wunnva &8

Messiah College Alumni AssociationLauze, 2000). Thus, this program and its benefits have potential increase engagement,identification, and ultimately, support and giving.However, this program is not free of risk. The program has the potential to affect theimage of the college as perceived by college alumni. If poorly executed, alumni could becomedisenfranchised or disengaged with the general alumni services at the college. Also, in lieu ofthe fact that a dues-based system is not familiar to this market, the concept of “charging” alumnifor services could stir negative feelings, as some perceive alumni services as a right. If alumnichoose to stop engaging with the college because of this type of reaction, this loss of supportcould affect the college.The program’s main weakness is, in fact, the potential for a negative market reaction.This is a new concept for Messiah College alumni and, while the services provided will beequitable to their fee and contribution, the concept of “purchasing” additional services from theiralma mater may not be well-received. While creating this concept within the existing MessiahCollege structure controls the initial start-up investment and risk, a strong commitment toresourcing this new program is vital to its success (Morris et al, 2008). Additionally, if thisprogram were to become increasingly popular, the Alumni and Annual Giving Offices wouldneed to increase their commitment to ensuring the program’s continued success. The college, asan organization, may not recognize the success, the need for further investment in this program,or have the additional resources to support the continuation of this program. This limitationcould squelch the program’s long-term growth.As mentioned above, alumni satisfaction and behavior can significantly affect their almamaters (Mael & Ashforth, 1992). “Few constituents are more important to an institution thanalumni” (p. 106). Alumni support the institution in the areas of volunteerism, student9

Messiah College Alumni Associationrecruitment, and career assistance for students (Mael & Ashforth, 1992). The most vital alumnibehavior though, is giving (Taylor & Martin, 1995). As outside funding from other sourcescontinues to decline, alumni donors become increasingly important (Wunnava & Lauze, 2001).Taylor and Martin (1995) proposed that alumni behavior, specifically giving, is “the single mostimportant index of esteem in which the institution is held by a key group of individuals” (p. 284),and that continuing to regularly engage alumni through programs is vital to understanding andleveraging alumni support. Alumni giving levels have a high positive correlation with ongoingsatisfaction (Weerts & Ronca, 2008), so if alumni are unhappy with their level of service withthis program, the college could suffer from lack of support and outside funding.This program will develop as a niche leader because it will be the only offering of thisparticular service in this specific market. As the concept develops, strategies for growth willinclude educating students about this opportunity and the included benefits before they graduate,using early adopters as third party messengers to promote the service, and increasing anddiversifying the type and availability of services to meet the needs of customer and potentialcustomer base.The priorities for this program include providing a wider spectrum of services to alumni,increasing alumni giving participation, and creating stronger bonds between alumni and thecollege for the benefit of recruiting, mentoring, and development work. Newman (2009) foundthat current alumni association members were 4.8 times more likely than nonmembers to becurrent donors to the university (35.1% versus 7.3%) and 11.5 times more likely thannonmembers to be donors of at least 10,000 (6.9% versus 0.6%).(See Appendix B for related program goals and their associated timeline.)10

Messiah College Alumni AssociationIf an exit becomes necessary, strategy will include the continuation of all servicesthrough the end of the membership year. It will also include specific communications tomembers and non-members concerning the discontinuation of this offering. As membership tothe alumni association will be based on a yearly contract, this exit strategy will be supported bythe existing contracts between the college and the alumni members.DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESSThis new program would be the addition of a dues based alumni association at MessiahCollege. The program would function as a new line from the existing non-profit organization ofMessiah College, specifically through the work of the Alumni Office. This alumni associationwould provide services for alumni including discounts for campus events, reserved parking andseating at college events, exclusive networking opportunities with the Board of Trustees andupper level administrators, career services, and member’s only event invitations (See AppendixC for complete schedule of offerings). These types of services have never been advertised to thealumni constituency before. Alumni membership fees would be priced at 75 per year permember. “Golden Graduates,” who graduated 50 years ago or more, and the most recentgraduating class, would pay a reduced fee of 25 per year per member. Ten dollars of eachmember’s fee will be contributed toward the College’s Annual Fund, and would be a taxdeductible donation. The remaining 65 and 15 respective amounts paid by members wouldoffset the cost of these new services (See Appendix D for pricing chart).While this is not a new concept to the higher education industry, the concept is new toMessiah College. The program will serve to increase engagement while simultaneouslybolstering alumni giving participation. The current non-active alumni association does notcharge dues for membership, and it also does not provide any services for members. Based on11

Messiah College Alumni Associationthe changing needs of an ever-younger alumni constituency, this plan is reactionary to the over100 annual requests for additional alumni services and privileges (McClymont, 2011).Additionally, an initial market survey was taken in early September 2011 to gauge desirefor future programming and a follow up survey was sent to gather market information regardingthe specific idea of a fee-based alumni association. (See Appendix E for Alumni Survey dataregarding programming. See Appendix F for Alumni test market follow-up survey.) Over 50%of alumni who responded to the initial survey reported that they would like to see on campusbenefits and discounts for alumni. Forty percent responded that they would like to have anopportunity to interact with or mentor a student, and 30% responded that they would like to havemore networking opportunities. Thirty-one percent responded that they would like to haveonline viewing of athletic games available to them. These were top four requests and theserequests will be met directly with the alumni association membership option.The follow up survey regarding the specifics of a potential association, the majority ofrespondents, 43%, selected a price point of 50- 100. This survey also suggested that the mostimportant benefits are on-campus discounts, connecting with the President, special events,interaction with current students, and online viewing of athletic competitions. This surveysuggested that a variety of marketing methods must be used. While e-mail was the highlypreferred communication method (29% of respondents), personal referral, phone, and webadvertising were all in the 10-20% range. Almost 50% of respondents cited clarity of marketingmessage as the most important aspect of advertising, and several of the open ended commentsreinforced this.While the follow up survey was overwhelmingly positive, 6% of respondents did respondthat they were not interested or were not interested at this time. This new alumni association12

Messiah College Alumni Associationmodel will reserve benefits for alumni who purchase a membership; however, non-members willstill be served at a low-level and will receive the quarterly alumni magazine and the monthly ebulletin for free.Marketing to this group of constituents will be segmented based on their graduation yearand stage of life. It will take advantage of their strong pre-existing loyalty to their alma materand their desire for additional benefits associated with their alumni status. A potential expansionplan for this venture would be to create membership levels of varying membership fees andservices. Beyond market segmentation and penetration, the marketing message will be vital.Alumni are reporting a need for clarity in marketing, and the simplicity of the message will playa major role in the market’s reception to the program. Also, as alumni reported the importanceof knowing who else was in the group, third party messaging between alumni will carrysignificant weight with this group.The alumni association would be housed within the Office of Alumni Relations atMessiah College. The physical location of this office is at the Climenhaga Homestead andMcBeth Alumni Center in Grantham, PA. No additional license or permits are required for thisnew venture. The existing licensing, insurance, and financial compliance held by the Collegewill cover any and all activities of the alumni association.MARKETINGMarket EconomyThe economy of this particular group has become increasingly lucrative in the past thirtyyears. The past ten years have shown a leveling affect. The early graduates of the college werelimited in their career options based on the undergraduate major offerings of the college. Untilthe 1970’s, the majors at Messiah College were limited to ministry, education, and nursing.13

Messiah College Alumni AssociationWhile careers in these areas can offer a sufficient and steady stream of income, the limitedearning potential, coupled with the modest size of the alumni base (less than 4,000 in 1970),made for a very financially conservative market economy (Sider, 1984). As the college grew,majors that could lead to higher earning careers, such as engineering, business, and accounting,were added. Additionally, the nursing program received accreditation in 1986, thus bolsteringthe program. While in the past, many women received their nursing degrees and opted to stayhome with their families instead of work, the increased notoriety of the program attracted seriouscareer nurses who would later go on work full time and seek continuing education, thus earningmore (Nisly, 2010). Those facts notwithstanding, the cost for a Messiah College education hasincreased, and, while 100% of current students who have need receive financial aid(, 2011), many students still leave college with debt. So, their increased earningpotential in alumni is somewhat mitigated by college loans. Despite this, the earning potentialcoupled with the significant increase in graduating class size has created a healthy economywithin for this program’s target market. But, while the market may be relatively healthy, alumnibehavior toward the college has been merely holding steady in recent years. While the totalnumbers of donors has increased slightly each year, this rate has not increased enough tomaintain a steady alumni participation rate (, 2011), as the rate hasdropped from 18% in 2009 to 16% in 2010. The estimated percentage of alumni who financiallysupport their organizations is fewer than 25 percent, and “while alumni like their alma maters,most remain apathetic and uninvolved” (Mael & Ashforth, 1992, p. 106). In this way the targetmarket reflects the characteristics of the general economy.Industry Analysis14

Messiah College Alumni AssociationThis program will be developed is an existing industry of dues based alumni associations,but as it relates specifically to Messiah College, it is a start-up industry. Many larger stateinstitutions have been offering a fee based alumni association for years (Wylie & Sammis, 2008).The attractiveness of these associations has been “perks” of membership, including recognitionon campus and access to highly sought-after athletic tickets. For smaller schools that don’t carrya significant level of athletic legacy or prestige, this industry is less common (Wylie & Sammis,2008). In the case of Messiah College the capacity for sales is high as the market is at asaturation level of zero. Looking ahead, the potential for continued sales is also high as thisservice is marketed on a yearly basis. Adding a minimum of 650 new customers to the marketevery year on graduation day will continue to fuel the market, so the potential for growth issteady. In fact, these new graduates are, perhaps, the biggest opportunity. Some alumni mayhesitate to pay for extra services that they assume should be free or are not interested in (seeopened-ended answers from survey in Appendix F), however, marketing to young alumni andstudents before they graduate, a culture that supports the customariness of alumni associationmembership can be built.Risks do exist in this industry. The specificity of the market is a both a great opportunityand a major risk. Alumni, having already made one of the largest purchases of their life from theinstitution, have a unique brand loyalty to the college. While not all may have been satisfied,Crane (2008) found that 76% of Messiah College alumni would choose Messiah College againfor their education.However, this benefit has its downside. If the alumni are unhappy or unsatisfied with theconcept or the delivery of this service, there is risk for not only losing them as customers for thisventure, but also their support for the college in general. Alumni satisfaction rests not only on15

Messiah College Alumni Associationthe extent to which their undergraduate experience met their expectation, but also the perceivedquality of the service and outcomes produced by the institution since graduation (Hartman &Schmidt, 1995). Hartman and Schmidt (1995) suggested that current institutional performanceaffects alumni satisfaction, and “satisfied alumni will help institutional financially, providepositive word-of-mouth communication, and supply jobs to subsequent graduates” (p. 198).Because the market consists only of Messiah College alumni, there are no other productsor services vying for this specific group’s attention, thus there is no direct competition for thisprogram. Other indirect competition or substitutes could exist in areas where alumni arereceiving these same types of opportunities within their communities of interest. In this case,this could be church activities, programs for their children’s schools, or networking opportunitiesthrough their place of employment. The primary strength of this program that will separate itfrom substitutionary services will be this market’s existing brand loyalty.While there is limited competition, there are barriers to entry. Because this business is anew model of service for Messiah College alumni, there could be resistance to change. Alumniloyalty is heavily based on tradition (Mael & Ashforth, 1992), and the more deeply entrenchedorganizations are in traditions and routine, the more likely the individuals within them are toresist change (Robbins & Judge, 2011).Customer AnalysisThe overall market is 24, 254 and the reachable market is 15,166, however the initialservices offered will be primarily focused on Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and NewYork. This initial strategy touches over half of the overall market. Particular areas of interestare the counties in Pennsylvania that surround the college including Cumberland, Dauphin,York, Lancaster, Perry, Adams, Lebanon, and Franklin which alone boast 4,191 alumni16

Messiah College Alumni Associationresidence, nearly 20% of the alumni base. The individuals living in this region have a greaterease of access to the campus and may have an increased interest in additional campus privileges.Additionally, major cities are also areas of interest, as many of our recent graduates move tothese areas to begin their careers. Specific cities include Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,New York City, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. as these areas represent high concentrations ofresidential alumni. (See Appendix G for a state and major city alumni population chart).Service AnalysisThe service provided is membership to the Messiah College alumni association and itsassociated benefits and privileges. (See Appendix D for full benefit listing and explanation).There is no return policy for these services and once the yearly membership rate is paid, it cannotbe refunded. Specific customer grievances will be handled by the Director of Alumni Relations.The sophistication of each customer varies, and those customers that are more closelyconnected to the college will value the offerings associated with membership at a higher levelthan those that are disconnected or perhaps receiving substitute services from another area oftheir life.New technologies, such as live web-casting of campus events and athletic competitions,are emerging and becoming more reliable. These new technologies will always be subcontractedthrough a well-researched outside vendor, so as to ensure the delivery and level of customersupport necessary to maintain satisfaction. These new technologies will make up a portion of theoffered services, but the program benefits will never be fully reliant on them.The benefits and privileges associated with membership (outlined in Appendix D) can beassembled and ensured in a 12-month planning time frame. Following the confirmation of theseservices, the initial new product marketing time frame would run for 6 months. The membership17

Messiah College Alumni Associationyear would begin in month 4 of this initial promotion. Every twelve months following the initiallaunch, a 2 month campaign would precede the beginning of each membership year. Renewalpromotions for existing members would begin 4 to 6 weeks prior to the start of the newmembership cycle. (See Appendix B for implementation timeline and goals).Customer satisfaction will be based the program’s ability to match customer desires withoffered benefits, while creating a level exclusivity that promotes a growing membership.Membership and benefits must be easy to understand and serve a wide variety of demographics.Customer service for this program is vital to maintaining alumni loyalty and trust. Customersatisfaction will require ongoing initiative to gauge and adapt to the ever-changing needs anddesires of the market.As the program develops, a product mix may be developed in order to better servevarious age or interest demographics, but the first three years will afford only one flagshipproduct of general membership. As the customer need and satisfaction is reassessed on a 6month interval, the development of a potential product mix for certain demographic groups willbe considered. This consideration will take place in light of a discussion regarding the addedcost associated with a diversified product line that would lead to increased administrativemanagement. The addition of a product mix has strong potential to re-attract existing customersyear after year.Pricing AnalysisSee Appendix D for pricing and benefits strategy. Golden graduates (those who 50 yearsor more ago) and the most recent graduating class can purchase membership for a reduced rate of 25 a year. All other alumni can purchase membership for 75 a year. Benefits will be the samefor groups of both price points.18

Messiah College Alumni AssociationAs there is no direct competition, this pricing strategy was based from customer’sperceived value of the benefits and services offered. The initial alumni market survey suggestedthat a price range of 500- 100 would be considered acceptable for this service (See Appendix Ffor survey results.) This value pricing allows the customer to see the benefit of their membershipthrough the bundling of benefits and services they desire. Additionally, the knowledge that partof their membership fee goes to support the Messiah College Annual Fund and is tax-deductibleis a ‘benefit add’ for customers. Seventy-three percent of test market respondents said thatknowing that part of the fee would fund student program and scholarship would increase theirinterest in the program. (See Appendix F for survey results). While many of the benefits ands

Messiah College Alumni Association 3 Messiah College Alumni Association One College Avenue Box 3023-McBeth Alumni Center Grantham, PA 17027 717-796-5252 Principal Owners: Linden Hustedt Messiah College Board of Trustees Chair One College Avenue Grantham, PA 17027 Kim S. Phipps Messiah College Preside