In summer 2014, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a survey in an effort to better understand and serve alumni.
- All 150,000 UC Berkeley undergraduate degree holders for whom the University has an email address were invited to complete the survey.
- Approximately 21,000 alumni (14%) responded, reflecting on their education and experience at Cal, reporting on their careers and interests, and sharing perspectives on current and potential alumni programs and services.
Though not wholly representative of the more than 475,000 UC Berkeley alumni, the response data does provide critical, timely feedback representing a large segment of the Cal alumni community. This briefing note describes the goals, structure, and content of the survey, and also shares key survey results.
The primary purpose of the Cal Alumni Survey was to obtain alumni feedback on CAA and the University’s alumni programs, services, image, and mission-related outcomes. The response data will be used to inform current and future alumni programming, fundraising, and communications efforts. In addition, the results from the 2014 Survey will be compared to the alumni survey conducted in 2011.
That data will be analyzed to determine the progress made by CAA and the University in their shared mission to serve alumni. In addition, the University will use response data from questions related to students’ learning outcomes to refine curriculum and academic programs.
Respondents living in all 50 states and abroad participated in the survey.
The electronic population survey employed a modular design in order to include a broader set of content topics and to decrease individual response times. Delivered via email, the survey contained:
A set of core questions administered to every respondent, focused on:
- Impressions of the undergraduate experience
- Current feelings about Cal
- Communications preferences
- Needs and wants related to alumni programming in general
- Awareness of, participation in, and satisfaction with CAA programs
- Opinions on CAA’s ability to achieve key components of its mission
- Demographic information.
Five unique modules (randomly assigned) with additional questions:
- CAA Membership
- CAA Fundraising
- Alumni Jobs and Careers
- Undergraduate Learning Outcomes
- CAA’s California magazine (sent only to CAA members, as they directly receive the publication as a benefit of membership)
Findings and Analysis
Following are initial survey findings gathered from the frequency distributions of the raw data received from all survey respondents.
In the coming months, analysis will continue through the use of cross tabulations, review of open-ended question response data, and search for correlations. Based on the future findings, conclusions will be drawn and used to inform decisions related to CAA programming, fundraising, and communications initiatives.
- Cal Experience
Alumni surveyed were asked to provide their impressions regarding various aspects of their undergraduate experience at UC Berkeley, as well as their current feelings about Cal. The findings are consistent with the survey response data from 2011.
- Alumni Programming
Primary reasons respondents want to participate in these programs:
- To stay to connected to the University (42%)
- To take advantage of the intellectual resources of UC Berkeley (36%)
- To show support of the University (27%)
- CAA Programming
Across all of the 16 CAA programs listed, an average of 91% of the respondents indicated that they would recommend the program to other alumni.
How do respondents prefer to receive communications about alumni programs, events, and services?
2011 2014 79% of alumni survey respondents 74% of alumni survey respondents U.S. Postal Service 14% 12%
46% of respondents indicated that they use social media every day.
Respondents report using the following social media platforms:
- Facebook (80%)
- LinkedIn (61%)
- YouTube (43%)
- Twitter (24%)
- Instagram (22%)
- Google+ (22%)
Of those alumni surveyed, respondents indicated their CAA membership status as:
Members report joining CAA:
- When they graduated from UC Berkeley (59%)
- Within five years of graduation (17%)
- Between 5 and 15 years following graduation (11%)
- More than 15 years after graduating (12%)
The overall percentage of alumni donors to both UC Berkeley and CAA has increased significantly since 2011:
- 63% of alumni in 2014 reporting having donated to UC Berkeley, versus 52% in 2011.
- 34% of respondents report having donated to CAA in 2014, versus 28% in 2011.
When non-donors were asked how likely they were to consider making a financial contribution to CAA at some point in future, 20% of the respondents indicated that they would be likely or very likely to consider a future contribution, compared to 32% in 2011. 35% of respondents are aware of CAA’s independent, self-funded, nonprofit status, while 52% report that they are not. After becoming aware of CAA’s self-sustaining status, 34% of respondents reported they may be more likely to make a financial contribution to CAA.
- Jobs and Careers
72% of respondents are currently employed, similar to 73% in 2011.
59% of alumni report that they would like opportunities to network with fellow alumni related to their area of professional or personal interest/expertise.
- California Magazine
As a whole, the satisfaction level with the magazine is high.
Alumni are satisfied or very satisfied with the following aspects of the publication:
- Frequency of the publication (77%)
- Graphic design (77%)
- Range of topics (72%)
- Editorial quality (69%)
54% of respondents reported that they would definitely not or probably not favor an online-only publication.
Consistent with 2011 survey data, 88% of alumni indicated that the magazine is either a very valuable (43%) or somewhat valuable (45%) benefit of their CAA membership.
Are you aware of CALIFORNIA Online, the magazine’s online news site?
- Yes (10%)
- No (82%)
- Not sure (8%)
- Student Experience
- Consistent with 2011 survey findings, more than 92% of alumni agree with the statement “Reflecting back, the benefits I received from attending UC Berkeley were worth the financial costs to me and my family.”
- 34% of respondents earned two or more post-bachelor’s degrees or certificates.
- 64% of respondents enrolled in a professional degree program since graduating from UC Berkeley (and 35% of those began their graduate education the fall or spring after earning their bachelor’s degree).