Alumni Engagement at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC)


The intern designed and executed a benchmarking project to determine alumni engagement practices taking place at sexual violence prevention campus centers across the Big Ten Conference. Eleven campus centers were surveyed at nine universities from the conference. Through data collection and analysis, a findings report was constructed alongside recommendations for further pursuit and implementation of an Alumni Engagement Program. At most of these campus centers, the alumni are individuals who have taken part in student volunteer opportunities and programs on a student activist basis.

Abercrombie, Kathryn


Units like SAPAC across the country are crucial resources in the world of higher education. The students who interact with them on a volunteer and activist basis are trained extensively on sexual violence prevention and how to advocate for it. For students who are highly involved to fulfill peer education and activism roles, these campus centers are a large part of their identity throughout their university experience. At many of these units, specifically across the Big Ten, there is little to no programming to keep alumni engaged and supported in the sexual violence prevention movement. Implementing an Alumni Engagement Program in any capacity at these centers will encourage alumni to stay involved and vocal about the movement as a whole and will create another motivation for giving.

Skills Gained:

  • Data Management – Quantitative and Qualitative
  • Benchmarking
  • Reporting
  • Project development

“Not only have I been professionally challenged, I’ve been personally challenged by this program; but, I have been supported every step of the way. D-SIP taught me that often times such challenges are intertwined. Support and encouragement are only a simple ask away.”

– Kathryn Abercrombie, D-SIP ‘14

Identifying, Contacting, and Qualifying Best Giving Prospects to the College of Engineering

Ahmed, Jibran


The intern was charged to achieve two large scale goals within the College of Engineering: to increase the base of support for the College by identifying and securing new donors and look to increase the amount of support given to the College by donors at all levels. To accomplish said goals the intern underwent work that collected and analyzed common data amongst giving prospects, built a list of “best” prospects for the College, and developed a recommendation report that proposed the most efficient and effective ways to increase the number of newly engaged donors.


After devising a unique survey for the College of Engineering to contact past donors, the College now has the ability to qualify prospects as major giving prospects, reach out to prospects that have an interest in the Victors for Michigan Campaign, and have a foot in the door when talking about major gifts for the first time with these prospects.

As a model to contact donors is in place, the College now has the future ability to send this survey (or a similar survey) to other prospects, target a similar survey to a specific geographic region, and attach some of the questions to the alumni survey sent to all College of Engineering graduates. The College also has the ability to scale up this operation by asking perception based questions to College of Engineering alumni.

Skills Gained:

  •   Navigating a large database (DART)
  •   High level data analysis
  •   Writing reports from the Business Objects software to garner prospect information
  •   Developing a unique email survey and phone script to contact major giving prospects
  •   Crafting a system to establish initial contact with a future donor.

D-SIP provided me with countless learning opportunities about philanthropy and the ability to have a fun, rewarding internship- I cannot imagine a better way to spend a summer in Michigan!”

– Jibran Ahmed, D-SIP ‘14

Alumni Club Management for the Ross School of Business


The Ross School of Business has more than 50 alumni clubs established domestically and internationally. In an effort to improve Ross’s alumni club management strategies, the intern benchmarked the Ross School’s techniques against the best practices of peer business schools. Based on the practices of those schools, the intern provided the Ross Alumni Relations Office with recommendations for how they can better manage their alumni clubs. Additionally, she updated communication material, including the Club Leadership Handbook, to standardize the Ross brand and ensure all alumni clubs follow the same procedures and practices. This handbook will be used by all Ross Alumni Club leaders and will serve as an additional resource for club leaders to rely on.


Because of the work done during this project, including internal and external benchmarking efforts, Ross now has a better understanding of how to effectively manage their alumni clubs. As a result of the benchmarking templates that the intern created, the Alumni Relations team will be able to continually improve their practices and track club performance over time. Additionally, club leaders will benefit from this project as they will receive an updated version of the handbook which will detail their responsibilities and expectations.  This project allowed the Ross Alumni Club Management Team to understand their position relative to other business schools, and implement best practices to improve their own strategies.


Ali, Aamina


Skills Gained:

  • Communication
  •  Organization
  •  Analysis
  •  Creative problem solving
  •  Strategic thinking

“Because of D-SIP, I have a much better understanding of development as a profession, and feel much more comfortable going into the non-profit world because of the skills, knowledge, and experience that I gained from this internship.” – Aamina Ali, D-SIP ‘14

Camp Michigania: Capturing Our Living History

Project Description:

The fellow worked at Camp Michigania, the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan’s family camp on Walloon Lake. The project was to capture the history of camp through pictures, videos, and stories in order to further engage the camper population and create a stronger bond with past, present, and future campers. This was accomplished by conducting interviews with longtime campers throughout the summer, creating a Word Press website, and managing user registration and website traffic. The goals of this project were to steward long-term relationships with campers and cultivate a wider donor base.

Baily, Rachel


By documenting this history via the Living History website, campers can engage with one another and reflect on their experiences at camp throughout the year. Yearlong engagement leads to stewardship opportunities and the opportunity to increase donors to AAUM. A project coordinator is necessary to launch the Living History website and document the rich history. This project impacted Camp Michigania as an organization, its campers, as well as the fellow. Camp Michigania now has established an online community where campers have the opportunity to share their history.

Skills Gained:

  • Relationship building: collaborated with staff and campers, encouraged participation, organized interviews, gained active listening skills
  • Communication: effective and strategic
  • Web design: Word Press
  • Time Management: multi-tasking, managing priorities and meeting deadlines
  • Adaptability: evaluating options for effective problem solving strategies

“D-SIP taught me the value of relationship building in every aspect of professional and personal life as well as what it means to be a development professional.”

– Rachel Baily, D-SIP Fellow ’14

Planned Giving with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Birchmeier, Olivia


The intern assisted the LSA Planned Giving Liaison by conducting research, analyzing data and developing innovative and effective strategy recommendations to help the College reach its planned giving campaign goal. To achieve its campaign goal, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is expected to raise 19.5% more planned gifts than were raised in the last campaign. Through the planned giving expansion initiative, the intern helped move the College closer to this goal and helped build the infrastructure for a sustained level of increased planned giving production. A stewardship plan component was also created to immensely improve the stewardship standard of donors with bequests


The major impact of the project was to increase awareness and emphasize the importance and value of bequests to the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. .The increase in planned gifts to the College will allow increased support for internships, global opportunities, scholarships, and social innovation. The intern personally learned the importance of lifetime giving to organizations that one is passionate about and how they can have a lasting effect.

Skills Gained:

  • Research and analysis
  • Communication
  • Time management

“If you are considering this program even a little bit, do yourself a favor and apply! You will get the chance to grow personally and professionally by working on your own project and attending the Friday class, while surrounded by the most amazing people.”

– Olivia Birchmeier, D-SIP ’14

Building Public/Private Partnerships in Public Health


This intern created an internal and external web presence around public/private partnerships as a resource available to School of Public Health faculty to inform decisions around engaging with private companies, and for corporations or private entities to easily understand ways in which to connect with U-M School of Public Health.  As a result, this web presence may help to disestablish any negative connotations of corporations as not aligning with pure public health values, and encourage faculty to explore private funding as a viable option.


The overall impact of the project is to foster a continued relationship with a corporation that expands beyond sponsored research, into recruitment and strategic philanthropy. In addition, internally, the website can function to encourage faculty and corporations to engage in mutually beneficial relationships and provide resources to expedite and simplify the process of a partnership through easy to access contacts.

Skills Gained:  

  • Work collaboratively with individuals in diverse skill set and capabilities
  • Creating fresh, progressive, and modern schema for website design
  • Quantitative analysis of annual reports
  • Strong presentation presences through clear and precise communications skills.

Nanayakkara, Amanda

“Engage beyond your project. Be genuinely interested in the stories of where you work.”

-Amanda Nanayakkara, D-SIP ’14

Research and Development of an Annual Giving Process at the NEW Center


The intern began the summer researching the engagement levels of Generation X and Millennials in terms of volunteering and philanthropy the nonprofit sector. After this research was completed, the intern worked closely with the Chief Development Officer, CEO and Marketing Associate at the NEW Center to implement change in the ways the organization was originally reaching out to this group. Supplemental to this work, the intern also participated in the building renovation process, as her architecture degree provided strength to the building development team.


Through this work, the organization has started to increase their community partnerships and target focus groups better. By discovering how to cater to this specific organization’s needs, the intern helped the sole Chief Development Officer in creating a concrete annual giving plan and protocol, to enact sustainability in the development office at NEW. Fresher, more engaging materials are being implemented in marketing strategies at this community organization, and will allow the organization to create more valuable connections with groups that share their interests. The summer building plans have studied and created a better community space, and at the NEW Center, this is crucial. The building holds over 20 community nonprofits, and the renovations and spatial changes will create a more cohesive, engaging work environment.

Carr, Taylor

Skills Gained:

  • Research and Analysis
  • Leadership
  • Marketing and Implementation
  • Donor Prospecting
  • Stewardship

“No act of philanthropy is ever too small, or wasted. There is impact at every level.”

– Taylor VanEtten Carr, D-SIP ‘14