Merger FAQ

  • When will the merger be approved?

    • The Foundation Board of Trustees voted to approve the merger at their March 18, 2020 meeting. The Alumni Association Board of Directors will vote at their May 2020 meeting.

  • When will the merger take effect?

    • If approved by both boards, the effective date is July 1, 2020.

  • Does this mean the Alumni Association and Foundation are merging with the university?

    • No. The Alumni Association and Foundation are merging into a new entity that will remain separate from the university.

  • What will happen to the publications that are currently distributed by the Alumni Association and Foundation (i.e. the Hardrock magazine, the Arch, etc.)?

    • These publications will continue to be produced and distributed, but with better collaboration and utilization of resources. A comprehensive communications plan will be developed as we navigate the changes involved with the merger.

  • Will the new organization engage with alumni less frequently than the Alumni Association does now?

    • No. The new organization will remain committed to alumni engagement. We will continue to utilize engagement methods that already exist including, but not limited to area chapter events, annual alumni awards, and reunions.

  • Will alumni events turn into fundraisers once the organizations merge?

    • No. Alumni engagement will be a primary focus area of the new organization as well as development. The mission of the Alumni Association will not be lost, and alumni relations will remain a priority.

  • How common is it for other university systems to combine these two entities?

    • It is common for alumni associations and development offices to combine forces in higher education. According to the 2015 Volunteer Alumni Engagement in Support of Education Survey, which analyzed trends in alumni relations of nearly 500 schools, 70% of schools with less than 100k alumni have integrated their alumni associations and development offices.

  • What is the estimated dollar amount of financial efficiencies that are expected as a result of the merger?

    • There are tangible and intangible efficiencies that we have and will continue to realize. The total workforce of both organizations is relatively small, but together we leverage those resources to eliminate duplicate efforts in areas of communications, database management, event planning, etc. This will allow the organizations to achieve more with the same resources.  Some tangible items include eliminating the need for two accounting/bookkeeping activities and two audits.

  • What will the structure of the new organization look like?

    • Day-to-day management of the organization will be provided by the President of the organization. Current thinking is the President will be assisted in his/her duties by an Alumni Director, a Development Director, and a Finance Director who will also have additional administrative responsibilities.

  • Will there be separation in the management and accounting of gifts intended for development purposes (i.e. student scholarships and university infrastructure) and alumni activities?

    • Yes, this already is in place. A donor’s request regarding the use of their funds is of utmost importance and is honored. Systems are in place to manage the funds appropriately.       

  • What will the name of the new organization be?

    • As part of the overall process in merging the two organizations, a consultant was engaged to assist both boards and staff in developing a name that speaks to the heart of both organizations. During the approval process, both boards will be taking final action to determine the new organization’s name. The name will be communicated following the Alumni Association board meeting on April 18.

  • How will current staff be affected?

    • There are no plans to eliminate any staff resources from either organization. The immediate goal is to leverage the collective organizational resources to better serve our alumni while supporting the university’s needs.

  • How will performance measures be adopted and tracked?

    • We have in place strong business practices in the areas of budgeting, development forecasting, alumni engagement, and donor retention. We will continue to drive performance improvement in all areas setting organizational goals along with individual staff goals. 

  • Will endowment fees be reduced after the merger?

    • As communicated this past summer when the endowment fees were changed, the fees were increased to provide a sustainable means for funding operations. We continue to cultivate other sources for operational funding (i.e. university support and real estate investments). An assessment of all sources of funding and operational expenses is conducted annually. Decisions regarding operational funding sources, including endowment fees, will be driven by the organization’s ability to fulfill the mission of engaging alumni, supporting the strategic priorities of the university, and long-term organizational sustainability. Our endowment fees are the lowest of any university in South Dakota or North Dakota and among the regional peer institutions including Colorado Mines, Montana Tech, and Chadron State College. 

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