SNOW & ASSOCIATES

Snow & Associates: Alumni Research & Relocation; image by
 SS Designs

ALUMNI/AE RESEARCH & RELOCATION

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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 lost alumni.

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
December, 2000


Snowflake Image by
 SS Designs

RESOURCES:
Click on the highlighted text below for:


Snowflake Image by
 SS Designs

HOW S&A FINDS LOST ALUMNI:

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:

  • 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?

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.

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 accurately.

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 can accomplish.

Click HERE to 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.


Image: Archway

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 HERE to 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 with them.

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 education.


FEEDBACK:

  • Questions?
  • Problems?
  • Suggestions?

Click HERE to write to S&A:
SandA@ARCH.ORG


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All text and images 1988-2001 by Snow & Associates.
Snowflake image by SS Designs.

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Last updated: 03 April 2003
URL for this site:
http://www.arch.org/sanda.htm