As the Winter 2017 issue of MIZZOU Magazine arrives in mailboxes this week, many alumni will not receive the popular magazine. Earlier this year, the Mizzou Alumni Association (MAA) announced a major circulation change and has worked throughout the fall to communicate the changes to alumni.
We’re launching our first member-only issue in three decades, and here’s a look at the major factors that contributed to the decision:
Budget Cuts Started the Conversation
The magazine was funded through a partnership between MAA and MU’s Division of Marketing and Communication. Providing a magazine to more than 300,000 alumni quarterly is an expensive proposition. When budget cuts due to MU’s enrollment drop were announced, it was clear a new plan was needed. Funding this commitment had become a concern in recent years; the budget cuts pushed up the timeline for a new plan.
Best Practices Were Evaluated
MAA reached out to peer associations to learn how they handled their alumni magazines. Mailing a magazine to all graduates quarterly made Mizzou an outlier when compared to other large, public universities. Peers such as Iowa State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Penn State and others all consider the alumni magazine a membership benefit. There are other peers who expand the mailing to include donors or send less frequently (twice a year). Armed with this information, we modeled several scenarios.
Alumni Communication Has Changed
Since the decision was made in the late 1980s to send the magazine to all graduates, the communication landscape has changed significantly. Mizzou offers numerous media channels so Tigers can be more informed than ever. Websites, e-newsletters and social media allow alumni to track and engage with Mizzou daily. MIZZOU Magazine is tremendous, but it plays a different role than it used to play.
We are fortunate to have more than 42,000 alumni, friends and students who support MU through MAA membership. Maintaining a high-quality alumni magazine for them was first priority. I’ve lost count through the years of alumni who have told me they thought they were a member because they received MIZZOU Magazine. It was an honest mistake — they truly believed they were a member. The circulation decision makes it much more clear and places a higher value on membership.
If you don’t find MIZZOU Magazine in your mailbox in December, it’s time to check your membership status. Once you’ve joined/renewed, we’d be happy to send a copy of the latest magazine. You can also log in with your MAA member ID at any time to read a digital copy of MIZZOU Magazine on our website.
Todd McCubbin, MEd ‘95
Executive Director, Mizzou Alumni Association