Be purple. Be connected. Be a member.

Since its founding in 1889, the UW Alumni Association has been dedicated to one purpose: supporting the University of Washington and higher education in the state of Washington. Today’s organization boasts 55,000 dues-paying members, making it one of the most loyal and connected alumni communities in the nation. How loyal? More than 30,000 are life members.

Membership is an important first step in deepening alumni engagement with the University. UWAA member dues fund events and scholarship programs to help students; support Columns magazine and UW Impact, the UWAA’s legislative advocacy program committed to keeping college accessible and affordable; and bring UW alumni and the public together for learning, fun and advocacy.

2016_MembershipAd_200wBe a member. Building on the strength of the University’s Be Boundless campaign, UWAA gave that language a member-friendly pivot when we launched our new Be+ membership messaging in October. From Columns ads to websites, print brochure to emails, UWAA is reminding alumni and friends of all of the various ways they can be involved with the UW.

October 1 was also the launch of our annual fall drive, which successfully enrolled more than 330 new members — many of them Graduates Of the Last Decade (GOLD). Strengthening our connection to newer alumni is a goal for this year, and our efforts in segmented communication are beginning to gain ground, thanks in part to GOLD direct marketing efforts and corresponding programming. Perhaps most satisfying, alumni are beginning to ask about GOLD membership by name.

Membership acquisition efforts were further bolstered by a $50,000 matching donation from UWAA long-time partner BECU. Throughout October, BECU matched the dues of UWAA members with a gift to the UW in support of student scholarships and higher education. We are appreciative of their continued support of UW and our shared community.

Facts and figures aside, UWAA membership continues to thrive because of the tangible connection it provides to our alumni. Our members are proud of the UW and the role it plays in their lives — both on and off campus. Or to quote Susan, ‘92: “Why am I a member? I’m a member because I enjoy the alumni events, know that the membership fees support students and am proud to be an alumni of UW.”