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Identifying Alumni Donor Prospects: Top Industries

While in the not-so-distant past the manufacturing industry was considered one of the largest income-producing sectors to work for in the United States, in this day and age the manufacturing industry has been knocked down several notches and replaced by the Investments, Technology, Media, Energy and Food and Beverage sectors. [1]

Industry rankings may vary by country, so if you think the bulk of your alumni are living and working in the U.S., we suggest you begin segmenting your alumni data by these specific industries.

Take for example the following industries: Banking, Capital Markets, Financial Services, Investment, Venture Banking, Investment Management and the Finance and Investment Industries. Jobs in these industries currently produce 15% of the world’s wealthiest people. [2] Some recognizable names include Warren Buffet, George Soros, and Charles Schwab. For example, George Soros alone has given more than $400 million to colleges and universities.

The Technology Sector is another gold mine industry for U.S based alumni. This industry has produced 57 billionaires worldwide. Just think of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. [3] All three of these billionaires are major gift donors to higher education. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated at least $20 million to endow a scholarship program at Melinda Gates’ alma mater, Duke University. [4]

Another industry likely to produce a healthy group of potential donors from your pool of alumni is the Fashion and Retail Industry. [5] This is a particularly robust industry for graduates in Europe. As a matter of fact, the second wealthiest person in the world, Amancio Ortega, created Inditex, one of the largest Fashion Companies in the world. Through his foundation Fundacion Armancio Ortega, Mr. Ortega has donated 10 million Euros to fund educational programs. [6]

Industries To Research Now

We suggest that you start to track alumni and potential donor prospects by looking at industries with potential wealthy donors. You may wish to look at these specific industry searches for identifying hidden donors:

  1. Investment Banking

  2. Financial Services

  3. Technology

  4. Media

  5. Energy

  6. Commercial Real Estate

  7. Fashion and Merchandise

  8. Oil and Energy

  9. Law Practice

  10. Pharmaceuticals

  11. Management Consulting

  12. Aviation and Aerospace

  13. Medical Practice

  14. Computer Software

What The Future Holds

Top-earning industries change with time. Just as executives in the manufacturing industries were top earners in the past, and financial sector executives are today, this can fluctuate. If you are interested in tracking rising star donors among your recent graduating classes, you might soon start searching the agriculture and clean energy industries. These industries are among the top contenders for our future wealthy donor prospects! [7]


Sources & Further Reading

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