An upcoming transition in the University of Kentucky Alumni Association membership model will create new incentives for alumni and friends to make gifts to any UK fund and receive valuable donor recognition from the UK Alumni Association.
Beginning July 1, 2019, the UK Alumni Association will shift to a new membership model that will no longer accept new, One and Three-year Memberships. All current memberships as of this date will be honored until those memberships expire. All alumni and friends who choose to support any UK college, department or cause at $75 or more per year cumulatively (or $25 or more for students and recent graduates) will be considered Active Members of the UK Alumni Association and receive an enhanced tier of member benefits. To check out the wide array of UK funds you can support, visit www.kentuckycan.uky.edu.
Additionally, all UK alumni who have successfully completed at least 12 credit hours will be recognized as Members of the UK Alumni Association and will receive a basic level of benefits. This change will increase opportunities for meaningful engagement with the broader alumni base.
“This is a very exciting time for the University of Kentucky and the UK Alumni Association,” says Tim Walsh, associate vice president for alumni engagement and executive director of the UK Alumni Association. “For over 50 years, the association has been a dues-based membership organization and that model served alumni well. However, we are always looking for ways to improve. Several years ago, our organization’s previous administration and elected officers began to look at how the association could better serve more alumni and the university as a whole.
“It is partially because of their foresight as good stewards of the organization that we are on the precipice of being able to better serve and build relationships with a broader alumni base.”
Some things are not changing, however. The Life Membership and Wildcat Society programs will be maintained. Although, the cost of a single Life Membership will increase, from $850 to $1,000 on July 1. Joint Life Memberships will increase from $950 to $1,100.
A number of factors went into the decision to develop a new membership model.
The new model is an opportunity for the UK Alumni Association to serve and build relationships with alumni and friends who have not previously been members. This means thousands more alumni and friends will have access to the association’s varying levels of services and programs.
Elimination of the One and Three-year Membership programs, in combination with other deliberate campus-wide efforts, will reduce the number of solicitations people will receive from the university each year.
One and Three-year membership trends were another factor. While the Life Membership program continues to thrive, the One and Three-year Membership programs have not experienced the same growth in recent history. Over the last several years many schools have migrated away from the traditional “membership dues” model.
“Changing culture has been a big factor in declining membership trends nationwide for many membership-based organizations, not just alumni associations,” says Meredith Weber, senior associate director of communications and membership at the UK Alumni Association. “Many schools have already made a membership model change, and others are seriously considering it. The time is right for the UK Alumni Association to evolve and position itself to better serve Wildcats of all generations.”
The UK Alumni Association is and will remain a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Revenue formerly received from the One and Three-year Membership programs has been committed through internal budgetary sources provided by the university, including the creation of the Fund for UK, a gift fund providing resources for initiatives of the president of the university.
“President Capilouto and his administration recognize the value of effective alumni engagement and its impact on the university,” says Mike Richey, UK vice president for philanthropy. “They are committed to supporting the mission of the UK Alumni Association.”
For more information and a complete list of benefits for UK Alumni Association members, visit www.ukalumni.net/newmembershipmodel.