Reaching All Baylor Alumni
Baylor University, Baylor's alumni and Baylor's students of today and tomorrow deserve a unified alumni relations program committed to and capable of reaching alumni worldwide.
The Baylor Alumni Association is not capable of reaching all Baylor alumni; it operates from an outdated model.
Out of 165,000 living Baylor alumni, the BAA currently counts fewer than 20,000 members — less than one-eighth of Baylor's living alumni.
As the university's graduating classes have grown, the BAA's reach has not. Since 1990, Baylor has graduated some 70,000 students. But fewer than 3,400 of those — less than 5 percent — have joined the BAA. Some of that is due to the fees charged by the BAA for membership; some is due to the association's limited geographical reach.
Alumni activities coordinated by the BAA are almost entirely Waco-based, despite the fact that the vast majority of Baylor alumni live more than 100 miles from campus - including growing numbers outside Texas and even around the world.
On the other hand, the university - through the Baylor Alumni Network - annually holds hundreds of events in dozens of cities all over the country. For instance, while the BAA was holding a single tailgate outside Floyd Casey Stadium before Baylor football's 2013 home opener, the Alumni Network hosted both a tent at the stadium and watch parties in 30 cities across the nation, from New York to Los Angeles.
That reach extends to communicating with alumni, as well, across all mediums. Consider print publications: The Baylor Line magazine goes to 12,000 homes, while Baylor Magazine reaches more than 140,000 homes. On social media: The BAA's Facebook and Twitter pages have approximately 8,500 and 1,400 followers, respectively; the university's pages top 125,000 and 11,500. The university regularly reaches 10 times more members of the Baylor family than the alumni association.
The membership model means that, unless an alumnus pays annual dues (or can afford a $1,000 lifetime membership), he or she receives little to no communication from the association. It would be a disservice to Baylor alumni for if the university chose to ignore nearly 90 percent of the Baylor family.
The same geographical issues that affect event attendance also prevent even most dues-paying alumni from having a voice within the association. BAA bylaws require voting on all issues (major and minor) to be conducted in-person, in Waco. Such rules disenfranchise alumni who live far from campus and can't make it back to Waco at a specific date and time.
In contrast, no membership is required to hear from or to have a say with the university; every Baylor alumnus is automatically a part of the Baylor Network, just by nature of having attended the university. Communications between the university and alumni are open and free, with every interested alumnus and friend of the university receiving Baylor Magazine and online communications. Major decisions, like the recently adopted Pro Futuris strategic vision, are openly vetted through both in-person and online forums that are, again, open to every member of the Baylor family.
The dwindling number of new BAA members has destabilized the association's financial model, causing the association to make cuts across a number of areas, from events for alumni to benefits for staff.
The university, on the other hand, already has the staff in place and the resources to reach the entire Baylor family - alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and other friends of the university. Alumni Network events - led by volunteers working closely with university staff - are growing both in number and location year after year to involve more alumni than ever.
In conclusion, the BAA's elected leaders and Board of Directors, as well as the university's board, administration, faculty, staff and students, have recognized the need for a new model and urge members to Vote Yes on September 7.