Friends of Fulbright Finland Survey Assessment

In November 2013, a short survey was sent to the 375 American alumni who live in the United States and are on the Fulbright-Finland e-message communique list.  50 replies were received, and here is the survey assessment.

Q1:  Do you receive the periodic electronic messages called Fulbright-Finland, coming from Terhi Mölsä, the Fulbright Center Executive Director? 

48 respondents answered affirmatively and that the messages are informative, and not too numerous. 

Additional information that respondents are interested to receive include: more information on how current Fulbrighters’ research is going; opportunities to return to teach in Finland and to reconnect or collaborate with Finnish scholars; more information on what current grantees in Finland are doing as well as news about what alumni are doing; news about education and cultural events in Finland; news about the Finnish Fulbright program in general.

Q2:  Are there venues in your community, alma mater, or current workplace appropriate for promoting or advertising Finland and Fulbright? 

33 answered yes, and everyone expressed willingness to help get the word out. 

The sort of materials these alumni wanted to have available to promote the Finnish Fulbright program locally include: posters, flyers, and brochures for academic opportunities in Finland (comment that email  messages are just too easy to delete), while  others want electronic materials, such as PDF posters to print out and to email to colleagues;  examples of what grantees have done on their research projects;  short PowerPoint presentation that can be shown at faculty meetings;  send materials to the university fellowship office;  timely reminders about the special opportunities available in Finland as well as deadlines;  brochures about Finland as a study abroad location; reminders about the Washington, D.C. Embassy outreach program.  A comment was made that at smaller schools it is not so easy to persuade students to apply to Fulbright, because of the common misconception that the program is too competitive and mostly for students from “big name” universities.

Q3:  Fulbright Finland alumni have gotten together in several cities in the US over the past 6 years.  Would you like to attend or help host a FoFF alumni gathering in your area? 

20 respondents said yes to attending or hosting an event, and 5 said no.  25 were unsure. 

The most popular activity for a gathering is conversation and drinks, with a dinner evening next.  3 replies indicated a family-oriented event was of interest, and 1 each suggested a scholarly colloquium, presentation of current research or writing, and a reception with light refreshments.  7 replies indicated that any of the ideas offered were acceptable, and 9 left the query blank.  Several commented that they are unlikely to travel far to attend an alumni event. This is a challenge because alumni of the Finnish Fulbright program are scattered all over the U.S. with only a few geographic hubs where a critical mass of alumni could get together easily.

Q4:  The Embassy and Consulates General of Finland in the U.S. would like to be in touch with Fulbright alumni. 

The avenue for contact that most interests respondents is the monthly “Finland in the U.S.”  online newsletter, mentioned by 36 alumni.  Facebook, Twitter, and emails also were mentioned numerous times.  34 respondents said they are interested in participating in Embassy events as a speaker.

Q5:  Friends of Fulbright Finland (FoFF) launched a campaign in 2012 to create a new grant program aimed at alumni, the Alumni Enrichment Award. The development of an endowment to support the award is currently underway.  Alumni were asked if they were able to make a gift to the endowment. 

20 said no, 17 maybe, and 11 yes, with several indicating they had already made a financial gift to the new grant fund.

If you wish to explore any of the above ideas in more detail, please contact Terhi Mölsä, Fulbright Center Executive Director or Suzanne Louis, Friends of Fulbright Finland Liaison.