American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

A Professional Partner of The

Alexander von Humboldt - Foundation

Alumni Survey Results

To gain a deeper understanding of US alumni views and opinions, American Friends undertook a comprehensive survey of US Humboldtians in Spring 2012. The survey generated valuable data regarding US Humboldtians’ preferences and thoughts. The information is being used by the Alumni Council, Board, and staff to shape American Friends plans and programs.

The electronic survey involved a random sample of 2,043 US Humboldtians and was conducted in April and May 2012. The electronic questionnaire explored the nature of Humboldtians’ connections to or involvement with American Friends and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

American Friends is pleased to share the Survey of US Humboldtians, Spring 2012: Summary Report. Key highlights of the survey can be found below.

Highlights from the 2012 survey of US Humboldtians

  • A majority of US Humboldtians maintain strong professional and personal ties to Germany. In the previous five years, 42% had returned to Germany one to three times, and 40% had returned to Germany more than three times. Fifty percent of those traveling to Germany had done so for both professional and personal reasons, while 41% had visited for professional reasons and 9% for personal reasons. A strong majority (68%) maintains contact with German hosts sometimes, regularly, or often; even more Humboldtians (80%) maintain contact with friends and colleagues in Germany.

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  • Nearly three-quarters of Humboldtians (74%) feel personally connected to the AvH. Nearly 70% claim to be well informed about AvH activities, while 62% reported being well informed about American Friends activities.
  • When it comes to alumni activities, US Humboldtians are most interested in events in their field of study (65%), in their region (52%), at their university (47%), or at professional and scientific meetings (36%).
  • When asked about their views on alumni services, US Humboldtians expressed the greatest interest in financial support to host visiting German researchers and scientists (62%) and to facilitate their own research travel to Germany (60%). Nearly half (49%) would like to receive a list of Humboldtians engaged in their field, and more than a third (37%) would be interested in information on other Humboldtians at their institutions.
  • US Humboldtians are eager to ensure that younger generations of scholars and scientists know about the opportunities provided by the AvH. Some 45% of US Humboldtians are interested in recruiting new Humboldtians, while over a third are willing to distribute promotional materials about the Foundation’s sponsorship opportunities.
  • Sizeable numbers of US Humboldtians are also interested in becoming more engaged in activities to strengthen the alumni community in the United States. Nearly a third (31%) of respondents are willing to attend a Kolleg, while 9% are prepared to organize one. A similar proportion would be prepared to organize an alumni meeting. Over a third (34%) expressed a willingness to serve as a Humboldtian on Campus. Nearly 27% of respondents declared a willingness to support American Friends with a charitable donation.

The results from this survey will help the American Friends Board of Directors, its Alumni Council, and staff plan the activities, events, and other forms of support that best serve US alumni. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail