Alumni Donation Competition Reignites A/E Rivalry Among Recent Graduates

Alumni from the Class of 2002 to 2011 relived the Andover-Exeter rivalry on a different playing field this month. Aside from cheering on the annual athletic contests, the alumni of the two schools competed to raise donations for their respective alma maters.

The competition began November 2 and ended November 10, the Thursday before Andover-Exeter Weekend.

Exeter alumni raised 309 gifts, compared to Andover’s 182.

Going into the final Thursday, Andover trailed Exeter by six gifts and was unable to catch up as Exeter gained another 160 participants in the final 24 hours of competition.

Both schools sent email reminders encouraging last minute donations on the final day.

According to The Exonian, the competition began with Andover in the lead by five gifts.

During the competition, Andover raised slightly over $8000 and saw a five percent increase in alumni participation for the Classes of 2002 to 2011.

Over this same nine-day period last year, Andover received 26 gifts from alumni, compared to 182 gifts this year, a seven-fold increase.

The donation competition started after Lee Frank, Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Exeter contacted Diane Glynn, Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Andover.

Glynn agreed to the idea and began planning the competition with Frank.

According to Glynn, because one of the Annual Giving office’s main challenges every year is increasing participation with the youngest classes. Annual Giving decided to have the competition include only the graduating classes of 2002 to 2011.

In an email to The Phillipian, Frank wrote, “The goal was to encourage young alums of both schools to reflect upon and show their appreciation for the enormously positive impact their respective schools have had on their lives and to provide a fun way for them to compete off the field in the run-up to [Exeter-Andover] Weekend where the schools compete on the field.”

“The idea is similar to a challenge my college alma mater, Colgate, has run in the past against its rival, Hamilton College. I know of a few other colleges and universities that have done similar challenges as well,” he continued.

Frank hopes to continue the competition in the future and to potentially include more classes.

Glynn said, “[The competition] achieved what it wanted to do. It increased participation, and I think it’s important to keep our young alumni connected. There’s nothing like a good competition.”

According to Glynn, competition aimed to expand alumni participation. She said, “[The Andover Annual Giving Office] tries to stress the importance of participation.” Glynn recalled that in 2008, 65 percent of donations were between $25 and $500 but as a total the gifts added up to $800,000, enough to fund the second year of Andover’s need-blind admissions initiative.

The Andover Annual Giving Office has held other competitions in the past to encourage donations.

Last year, the Andover Annual Giving Office launched a “March Madness” competition between the classes in college, ’07, ’08, ’09 and ‘10, with the Class of 2008 winning.

According to Glynn, Andover and Exeter used to compete in “phone-a-thons.” Representatives from each school would call alumni to ask them to make a gift. Whoever raised the greatest number of donations would win the phone-a-thon.

The Andover-Exeter “phone-a-thons” have not occurred for several years. Instead, Andover currently employs students as callers over every break.