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R4 Matrix: REMINISCERS

Supportive, but Difficult to Inspire

Reminiscers (24% of all alumni) are stable, consistent people for whom college was a pleasant, beneficial experience, now firmly rooted in the past. They tend to have stable jobs – usually related to their area of undergraduate study – with moderate-to-high income. Their home life also tends to be stable. Four out of five are married – 10% higher than any other group.

The downside is that Reminiscers perceive the institution as having little relevance for their future. Offerings like continuing education, career services, library access and professional networking have relatively low appeal among this group.          

Reminiscers are supportive of their alma mater. They often stay in touch with college friends, are interested in keeping up with institution news, and are particularly likely to follow college athletics (note that six in 10 are male, the most of any segment).

Because of their fond feelings for the institution, Reminiscers are generally open to giving and participating. Nearly four out of five have made a financial gift at some time (second most behind Rallyers), and four in 10 have a record of taking part in alumni events and activities. But they are particularly vulnerable to lapsing – only a third are likely to be current givers.

Reminiscers tend to feel responsible for their own success and expect others to accept that same responsibility. Appeals to “help other students as you were helped” or to “help others avoid the hardships you experienced” fall flat with this group. They are also turned off by appeals linked to “perks and giveaways,” and are not as likely as other groups to be influenced by a giving appeal from one of their close peers.

How do you get and keep Reminiscers involved? First, acknowledge that they are focused on stability, not change. So, do your best to make it easy for them to stay involved. Keep them regularly informed through mail and e-mail. Don’t ask them to recommit each year – suggest that they set up a regular annual gift and/or alumni association renewal via EFT. Encourage them to purchase season tickets for athletics, also with an automatic renewal option.

In appeals and other communication, don’t completely ignore the future – but always tie the vision of a great future to the foundation of past success. In publications, include retrospective articles that celebrate your heritage and bring their memories back to life.

How do you identify Reminiscers? Campbell Research has developed a survey-based model to help you categorize alumni into all four segments. If you conduct an alumni survey, be sure to contact Campbell Research to find out how to add a handful of questions that can be used to classify your alumni.

Reminiscers enjoy and savor their relationship with your institution. That relationship has limits that should be acknowledged and respected. Efforts to involve them are worthwhile – but they don’t need or appreciate a next-big-thing approach. Keep it simple and enjoy the stability they bring to your alumni program.

How do you identify Reminiscers in your database? Campbell Rinker has developed a survey-based model to help you categorize alumni into each of the R4 Matrix alumni segments. If you conduct an alumni survey, be sure to include the handful of questions that can be used to classify your alumni.


Methodology: Data based on Campbell Research’s AlumniPoll 2002, Campbell Research’s syndicated online survey of more than 3,000 North American alumni. Data were weighted to match national proportions for public/private enrollment, as reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Segments were defined through K-means cluster analysis.

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