2011-12 Class Agent Handbook
Thank you for volunteering to serve as a class agent for Kenyon College during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The time and effort you devote to this position are greatly appreciated, and are of immense value to the College.
This handbook contains information that will guide you in your role as a class agent. If there is additional information that you need, or questions that you have about the material provided, please feel free to contact one of us listed below.
Kenyon Fund Staff Supporting the Class Agent Program
Director of Reunion Giving
Other Contact Information
Office of Annual Giving
College Relations Center
Gambier, OH 43022-9623
The importance of class agents cannot be overstated. In most cases, successful class giving to the Kenyon Fund is the direct result of work done by class agents, and reunion committees during reunion years. In addition to fund raising, class agents also serve as social networkers by staying connected to classmates and encouraging participation in every way.
Many classes, particularly recent graduates, have multiple agents. In these classes, responsibilities are shared and the workload is spread among a number of agents. However, it is essential that agents in these classes stay in close touch with each other and communicate well to plan the strategy for the year.
The main responsibilities of class agents are as follows:
- Make your own Kenyon Fund gift, at a level that is personally significant
- Write one letter yearly (two if sole agent) to your classmates
- Thank your donors via phone calls, emails or Kenyon postcards
Further, class agents at Kenyon College are responsible for the following:
- Act as a social networking agent and general liaison between the College and your classmates. For example, if a classmate tells you that they are moving to another city, offer to obtain a list of other class members in their new area and connect them with their new regional association. Also, please make sure that you and your classmates are familiar with Kenyon's alumni directory, http://alumni.kenyon.edu. This is a great way to look up classmates and stay in touch. If you need assistance with logging in or have not received a password, please contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs at 740-427-5147 or send an email message to Jill Shriver at email@example.com
- Act as the manager of the Kenyon Fund for your class and be responsible for its performance. In classes with co-agents, the Kenyon Fund manager role can either be shared, or assumed by one of them. Either way, it is the responsibility of each class agent to advise the Kenyon Fund staff, through Kelly Briscoe, of who will be acting as the class's Kenyon Fund manager. The Kenyon Fund manager may recruit classmates to assist with this role, but the manager will retain responsibility for receiving and sending Kenyon Fund-related information.
- Send updates or changes for your classmates when you receive them. This includes addresses, e-mail, telephone numbers, and occupational information. You may mail or fax them to us or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Encourage classmates to send news for the Class Notes section of the Alumni Bulletin. They may do this by mail using the address on the contact page, or e-mail notes directly to email@example.com.
- The Kenyon Fund manager(s) will send personal "Thank You" notes to classmates who make gifts. Kenyon postcards will be provided but not postage. You may send virtual postcards from the Kenyon website. Just type "postcards" in the search box at the top right section of the Kenyon College home page and then select "Go".
- The College will send the Kenyon Fund manager(s) a list of classmates who have made gifts each month beginning in December. Class agents should feel free at any time to call or e-mail us for information, up-to-date statistics, new ideas, or even to share a concern that a classmate has expressed to you about the College. We're here for you.
The Kenyon Fund is the single largest source of unrestricted gift income to the College. Annual contributions made by alumni, parents and friends to Kenyon through the annual funds help make up the difference between income from tuition and the true cost of operating Kenyon for the year. For the 2011-2012 academic year, over $3,100 in annual gifts per student is needed to balance the budget.
Generations of Kenyon alumni like you benefited as students from the generosity of alumni, and in turn, have given back to continue the cycle after they graduated. This important annual support has allowed Kenyon College to operate in the black for 41 consecutive years. We expect to continue that tradition this year by soliciting gifts from the Kenyon family with the help of volunteers such as you.
Goals for 2011-2012
With the Kenyon Fund Executive Committee, the College has set a goal of $3.55 million for the Kenyon Fund and an increase in alumni participation. The goal for the Parents Fund is $1.3 million. It is very important to have the help and support of all of our volunteers to achieve these goals for the College.
Your classmates may ask you if their gifts qualify them for membership in one of the Kenyon Fund giving societies. Leadership gifts of $2,500 or more; $1,000 for classes 10 to 14 years out; $500 for classes 5 to 9 years out; and $250 for classes 1 to 4 years out make a decisive difference in reaching the Kenyon Fund goal. Giving societies are as follows:
- President's Society: Gifts of $50,000 and above
- Kokosing Society: Gifts of $25,000 to $49,999
- Philander Chase Society: Gifts of $10,000 to $24,999
- Ascension Society: Gifts of $5,000 to $9,999
- Bexley Society: Gifts of $2,500 to $4,999
- Peirce Society: Gifts of $1,000 to $2,499
- Gambier Society: Gifts of $500 to $999
- Rosse Society: Gifts of $250 to $499
- Kenyon Society: Gifts of $1 to $249
Matching gifts from a donor's company also count toward the gift credit an alumna/us receives and could move them up to the next giving society. Please stress the importance of matching gifts! Click here to verify whether a company has a matching gift program.
When you have drafted your letter, send it to Kelly Briscoe at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will proofread it, and print it on your class letterhead with your signature. If you prefer to hand-sign your letters, please notify us at the time of submission.
Please be timely with your letter! It is important that your class letters are sent as scheduled, in a regular, timely way so that your classmates receive the information they need about the Kenyon Fund and so that class news is timely.
Writing Effective Class Letters
- Know as much as you can about Kenyon today. By reading the Alumni Bulletin, Kenyon News Digest and other publications, you can learn a great deal about what is happening at Kenyon. You may pass any of this information on to your classmates in class letters.
- Whenever possible, "individualize" your letters. The easiest way to do this is to add a hand-written postscript to your letters. The postscript is also an excellent place to ask for a specific gift or thank a donor for a previous gift. If you want to write notes on the letters, please let us know and we will return them to you for notes and signing after printing.
- Make your letters warm and personal. Use an informal, conversational tone and style. Let your own personality, convictions, and sincere desire for the success of the Kenyon Fund campaign show through. Do not be afraid to be nostalgic—you and your class shared many experiences during those four years on the Hill.
- Be positive. Everyone likes to be associated with a successful cause. Concentrate on the successes your class has experienced. If you feel that your class is capable of doing more, mention it, but in most cases "shaming" people into giving does not work.
- Be challenging. Explain clearly that the only way the Kenyon Fund campaign will be successful is if everyone in the class steps up and contributes.
- Get the message out and ask your classmates to contribute to the Kenyon Fund campaign. Specify clearly what action you want your classmates to take. Do not "hide" the message or make it seem like an afterthought.
- Do not apologize for asking classmates to support the Kenyon Fund. Phrases such as "please send anything" or "even a couple of dollars would be all right" should be avoided.
- Be appreciative. Thank donors for gifts they have made in the past and for those you expect them to make as a result of your letter. Make them feel good about supporting their college—as well they should!
Writing Thank You Notes
Notes should be written on a postcard or stationery we will supply to you. You may also send a virtual postcard through the Kenyon website. This is a beautiful, efficient, and cost-effective way to say thank you. Simply type "postcards" in the search box at the top right section of the Kenyon College home page and then select "go." The image below is a sample of a virtual postcard, along with suggested messaging:
"Thank you for your gift (or pledge) to the Kenyon Fund this year. Your gift is extremely helpful in increasing our alumni participation rate and your support means a great deal to everyone at Kenyon-especially students who are on financial aid!"
The timetable below is an outline of all action items pertinent to the Class Agent Program. Please note that bolded items are due dates specifically for the class agents.
|September 26||Send e-mail verbiage soliciting class news to class agents for approval|
||Send mass e-mail to classes soliciting news|
||Send sample fall class letter to all agents|
|October 19||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 7/1/11 to 10/15/11 (for thank you notes)|
||Class news deadline for all classes
|November 14||Class letters due to Kelly Briscoe for all classes|
||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 10/16/11 to 12/15/11 (for thank you notes)|
|January 18||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 12/16/11 to 1/15/12 (for thank you notes)
|February 17||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 1/16/12 to 2/15/12 (for thank you notes)
||Send e-mail verbiage soliciting class news to class agents for approval|
||Send mass e-mail to classes soliciting news
|March 14||Send sample spring class letter to all agents
|March 19||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 2/16/12 to 3/15/12 (for thank you notes)|
|March 26||Class news deadline for all classes|
|April 19||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 3/16/12 to 4/15/12 (for thank you notes)|
||Class letters due to Kelly Briscoe for all classes|
|April 30||Spring class letter template sent to classes if no letter rec'd from class agent|
|May 18||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 4/16/12 to 5/15/12 (for thank you notes)
|June 30||Email Class Agent Giving Report for 5/16/12 to 6/30/12 (for thank you notes)
Fiscal year ends