As the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association (RBFAA) strives to better serve our alumni community and be as responsive as possible to your feedback, we collected some key takeaways from our annual meeting in Philadelphia in June.  One of those most important points is that the RBFAA should communicate more clearly an important change we made this year to membership dues and donations.  As the Membership and Fundraising Chair, I hope you will allow me to do just that here.

Based on alumni feedback, the RBFAA, with the provisional approval of the Bosch Stiftung, has been transitioning from a dues-based to a participation-based membership model this year. In practical terms, this means that we are no longer asking each alumnus/a for a base amount of $90 in membership “dues” to the organization every year on top of which we encourage additional voluntary contributions.  Instead, we want to increase the percentage of alumni who donate to the RBFAA each year by asking you to contribute an amount of your choosing.  Our hope with this switch is that those alumni who feel $90 is too much of a burden for their personal circumstances will donate a smaller amount, and that those who are able to contribute higher amounts will nonetheless do so.

The overall goal is to attract a higher percentage of engagement among alumni while still accomplishing the fundraising necessary to support the RBFAA.  This is a change the Board made to be as fair as possible to the entire alumni network.  We also see it as a way for those who may not have a history of giving to the RBFAA to jump back in and reengage with us.  This is your organization, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to get involved. Last year, total alumni participation in giving was 31%. We want to turn this around and make sure that our participation rate reaches over 50% for 2016.

There are certain risks inherent to this strategy.  Chief among them is the risk that we will raise a smaller amount of money throughout the year if alumni participation does not improve through this experiment.  In fact, the Bosch Stiftung has raised this concern specifically with the Board and is skeptical that a participation-based model will work.  Looking at year-to-year comparisons, as of September 2016 we have collected 103% of the total donations received by this time in September 2015 from 101% of the number of alumni who had contributed at this point.  While we are right on target fund-wise, we would really like to see a substantial increase in donor numbers.

We need your help to make this participation-based fundraising model a success.  Without greater buy-in from the alumni community, we will be unable to show that allowing alumni more flexibility in the amounts they donate to the RBFAA is the right move for the organization.  Once again, we made this change because a number of alumni asked us to.  If, at the end of this calendar year, we have been unable to increase participation rates in alumni giving, we will likely have to reinstate the $90 dues-based model.

As a reminder, your donations are essential to supporting the work of the RBFAA.  They help fund regional events that aim to engage a greater number of alumni where you live, they contribute to the programming and production of our annual meeting, they help us to expand web offerings that are accessible to alumni throughout the world, and they finance the day-to-day administrative functions of the organization.

Please help us see this through by donating to the RBFAA and encouraging your classmates to do the same.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at .



Christina Tsafoulias

Bosch XXX

Membership and Fundraising Chair

P.S. If you’re interested in removing the guesswork and making an annual recurring contribution, you can do that by going to the giving page, signing into your RBFAA member profile, and selecting a recurring donation from that portal.