For those of you who don’t know I went to UC Berkeley. I recently got an e-mail from Ms. Elisabeth Scarborough from Simpson Scarborough a marketing firm specializing in higher education. I was invited to participate in a focus group about ow they could connect with alumni. I was really excited….because I LOVE MY SCHOOL and I want to connect with them better – I wanted to share how they could connect to me better.
The only catch was they wanted to know how much I give to non-profits every year. To me this was them asking “How rich are you?” and saying “We are really just trying to figure out how we can have a relationship with you so you will give us more money.” It was quite upsetting.
I wrote them back and said I would participate but also shared that I give almost no $ to non-profits (at this time in my life). I also said that I was a bit offended by this line if questioning. Apparently this disqualified me from participating. If I had a real relationship with my school that was founded on mutual respect and the ability to give gifts back that were more then money I am sure that in the long run I would give lots of money.
I know I would like to contribute to the women’s water polo team and specifically towards a scholarship for an out of country student. I have already thought about that. But apparently not giving to charity now in my recently out of college trying to get out of debt mode disqualifies me from sharing how they might connect with me a future donor.
I hope they get with it and read the ClueTrain manifesto and Doc’s latest riff on relationships. Oh yeah – they even have a “blog” currently on the top of pile is a post about “Brand Fatigue.”
This invitation is to take part in research and not a sales or fundraising solicitation.
We’re inviting you to participate in a focus group with other UC Berkeley alumni. SimpsonScarborough, a higher education market research firm, was hired by the University to conduct a study of alumni. The purpose of the focus groups with alumni is to explore a variety of issues including your thoughts on Berkeley’s image and how you stay connected with the University. At no time during the focus group will you be invited or encouraged to submit a gift to the University. In fact, you will be paid an honorarium of $50 in cash for your participation!
YIf you are able to participate, please email Meredith Simpson at
1. Full name
2. Phone number where you can be contacted
3. First choice date/time
4. Second choice date/time (if applicable)
5. The total amount you have donated to non-profit organizations in the last year (so that we may place you in the appropriate group)
Your participation in the focus group is extremely important. This study will guide Berkeley’s future efforts to communicate with alumni. Please respond today!
President and Partner