Alumni Giving And Engagement
There are several reasons for these lower rates, but none of them should be used as an excuse for not giving. First, it takes money to make money, and as we have noted, many HBCUs (not all) have small fundraising infrastructures and insufficient funds to aggressively go after alumni dollars. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. According to Ayers & Associates (2002), the average institutional advancement and alumni affairs budgets are lower at HBCUs than at majority institutions. Likewise, the average number of professional and support staff is lower at HBCUs compared to their majority counterparts, with majority institutions typically having double the professional staff and nearly double the support staff (Ayers & Associates, 2002). Second, African Americans have less access to wealth in the United States. For example, the median assets for a White family in the country are roughly $88,000 whereas for a Black family they are a mere $5,800 (Gasman & Sedgwick, 2005; Lui, Robles, & Leondar-Wright, 2005). Regardless, when compared with their White counterparts, African Americans give more of their discretionary income to charity (Gasman & Sedgwick, 2005). They are motivated to give by efforts to advance racial uplift in Black communities, out of a sense of obligation, as a result of peer and family influence, and by concrete, visible results (Gasman &
Anderson-Thompkins, 2003; Gasman & Sedgwick, 2005). And, in 2009, not only did African Americans have $900 billion in buying power, but their investment in the stock market was up by 30 percent (Flyin’ West Marketing, 2011). Third, some alumni of public HBCUs are under the impression that the state fully funds their alma mater (an impression held by alumni of public HWIs as well). The truth is that most public HBCUs do not receive anywhere near enough funds from the state to educate their students.