Why is your participation in the Lehigh Fund so important? Annual giving by alumni helps ensure the continued excellence of the Lehigh experience. Plus, participation indicates alumni satisfaction and sends a message to the world about the quality of the Lehigh degree and our alumni success.
The Importance of Participation
An annual gift is an ongoing “vote of support” for Lehigh and the value of your degree. Alumni participation impacts:
- Value of a Lehigh degree. Parents and prospective students look at national rankings and alumni participation rates as indications of how satisfied alumni are with the school and the quality of the degree.
- National rankings. External evaluators like U.S. News and World Report use participation rates when calculating rankings. Right now, Lehigh’s overall alumni giving rate lags behind that of other national universities like Dartmouth, Duke, and Rice.
- Financial strength. Annual giving is an essential resource for the university. Corporations and foundations also require alumni participation rates in proposal requests because they believe their philanthropic or sponsored-research dollars should go to an institution with proven results. Alumni satisfaction is a key measure.
Where Does Lehigh Rank?
For years, Lehigh was ranked among those institutions with the highest rates of alumni annual giving in the nation, a particular point of pride. However, in reflection of a nationwide trend, alumni participation in the Lehigh Fund has been on a steady decline from highs in excess of 40 percent in previous decades. Last year, Lehigh’s alumni participation rate was 24%. Young alumni participation stands at 10%. For more on rankings of Lehigh and its peers, view the white paper on participation, “Every Gift Counts” (PDF) >
Your Gift - of Any Size - Makes a Difference
Backed by a tradition of generosity and pride in their alma mater, Lehigh alumni have the power and opportunity to increase the university participation rate.
- Every gift counts. Participation is determined according to the number of alumni who give, rather than the amount of their contribution. That means a $10 gift moves the needle just as much as a $10,000 contribution. Just 450 alumni gifts increase Lehigh’s participation rate by 1 percent.
- Gifts of all sizes quickly add up. Last year, 17,500 donors collectively gave more than $13.7 million to the Lehigh Fund. It would take close to $300 million in endowment to generate that same level of funding for Lehigh students and programs in a single year.
- Consistency is key. More than 70 percent of undergraduate alumni have made a gift to Lehigh at some time, demonstrating satisfaction and belief in the value of a Lehigh degree. If just a quarter of all alumni who made a gift in the past five years were to contribute every year, Lehigh’s participation rate would jump immediately to over 40 percent. The Lehigh Fund is pleased to recognize donors who give consecutively.