Snow & Associates is an international research organization
dedicated to helping educational, fraternal and professional
institutions maintain better information about their alumni,
communicate more effectively with them, and relocate those who
are lost. (We use the masculine form 'alumni' for simplicity,
without disrespect for women in higher education.)
Since 1988, S&A has coordinated research at more than 500 colleges
and universities across North America, and worked with the
headquarters offices of more than 40 national fraternities,
sororities and professional groups to relocate well over 250,000
Depending on the size and accuracy of the database beforehand, normally
17% to 33% of all lost alumni can be relocated within six to nine
months, using information from educational, fraternal and professional
organizations, postal changes, telephone directories of major metropolitan
areas, and an ever-increasing variety of online resources.
Most educational, fraternal and professional institutions recover the
entire cost of relocating lost alumni within two years of completion,
as a result of additional gifts from those who are relocated. If only 2.5%
of those relocated become donors with an average gift of $40, the research
usually pay for itself within two years. If the donor rate is better, the
entire investment is recovered more rapidly. Thereafter, many of those
who become donors initially should continue to support the institution,
returning a 'dividend' for years to come:
" ... the project has paid for more than half of the Foundation payout
in just one solicitation."
-- Delta Gamma Educational Foundation
Click on the highlighted text below for:
Unlike automated services that merely cross-reference your database
against others and spit out (sometimes questionable) matches, our
service involves real human beings at every step.
We start by asking you questions about your database of alumni,
and form a plan for updating, based on your specific situation.
Please provide the following demographics:
Once we know more about your database, we will help you update it.
We usually start with large institutional sources, such as social
security number searches. Next, we review the results by hand to
remove questionable data before we send the new information to you.
- How many are living?
- How many are deceased?
- How many are have a good address on file?
- How many do NOT have a good address on file?
- Do you have social security numbers on file? If so, how many?
- Do you track where your graduates attend college? Grad School?
- Do you track membership in a fraternity or sorority?
- Do you track membership in honorary or professional societies?
- When did you last send mail to your entire list, and how many pieces bounced?
- Have you used NCOA, TRW, or other methods for updating your records?
- If so, which ones and when?
Next we move on to smaller seaches for those who remain lost.
For example, if you are a greek
letter organization or a graduate school, we know that your alumni
attended college. We will query each school individually to see if
they have any of the addresses you need. If you are a college with
fraternities and sororities on campus, we perform the same kind of
search, but in the opposite direction. There are many possibilities,
depending on your particular circumstances.
We also query a number of publicly available online services, using
special search criteria that help us target the searches more
You are charged only for verifiable new addresses found, not
for each search. At your option, you may send a confirmation mailing
within 45 days, and get a full credit for any mailing piece returned
marked "Undeliverable" or "Addressee Deceased." Because we're careful,
the number of these "nixies" is usually quite small.
Although there are many intangible reasons to relocate lost alumni,
there is an immediate material benefit: many relocated alumni become
donors within a year or two. As noted above, in most cases if only
2.5% of those who are relocated become donors within two years with
an average gift of $40, the research pays for itself ... and many of
those who become donors should continue to support your institution
in the years that follow.
As you can see, this is real research with real people. For this
reason, S&A's services are more costly than wholly automated turnkey
systems -- but we provide more accurate information, and fewer mail
returns than others. Human intutition and an understanding of your
individual situation help us do a better job than any computer alone
request more information about relocating lost alumni of your institution.
Kindly include as much information as possible about your database
(see section covering typical questions we ask, as shown above) and
we will respond with a plan to suit your specific needs.
TIPS FOR INSTITUTIONAL MAILERS:
Click HERE for info
about establishing permanent e-mail addresses for alumni.
Click HERE for a
discussion about the possible disintegration of the U.S. Postal Service in the future.
Click HERE for tips
on locating bottlenecks on the Internet.
Click HERE for info
about using social security numbers to maintain better data on
alumni and relocate those who are lost.
Click HERE for tips
on using the "National Change of Address" (NCOA) service of the
U.S. Postal Service.
Click HERE for reasons
why educational, fraternal and professional institutions are
increasingly using e-mail as a way to communicate with alumni.
Click HERE for results
of an informal survey on the accuracy of databases maintained by
the HQ offices of greek letter organizations.
The ARCH Project:
In the 1996-97 academic year, S&A started testing
a new non-profit Internet resource called The "Alumni Records
Clearing House," or The ARCH Project. Click
request a detailed description by e-mail.
In brief, The ARCH Project is based on the premise that many
colleges and universities, grad schools, fraternities and sororities,
and professional organizations, have overlapping populations.
Any student may attend college, join a fraternity or sorority,
and/or a collegiate professional organization, then go on to grad school.
After the individual graduates, all of these organizations attempt to
maintain contact with him or her, often expending significant amounts
of time and money in the process. The ARCH Project will
provide a way for qualified institutions to share information on
alumni, reducing the time and expense required to maintain contact
Alumni/Development staff of qualified educational, fraternal and
professional institutions may use the ARCH website to submit
free searches to relocate lost alumni in the databases of other
participating institutions, from postal changes, telephone directories,
and an ever-increasing variety of online resources.
Click HERE to visit a
working prototype of the site.
A QUICK GUIDE
to using the word "Alumni" correctly:
- One male: alumnus (pronounced "alum-nuss")
- One female: alumna (pronounced "alum-nah")
- Two or more males: alumni (pronounced "alum-nigh")
- Two or more females: alumnae (pronounced "alum-nee")
- Two or more of both genders: alumni/ae (pronounced "???")
Please note: we use the masculine forms 'alumnus' and 'alumni'
throughout for simplicity, without disrespect for women in higher
Click HERE to return to the top of this page.
All text and images © 1988-2001 by Snow & Associates.
Snowflake image by SS Designs.
Last updated: 03 April 2003
URL for this site: