Webinar: Mining Social Media Data

Posted on 05/27/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Thursday, July 16th at 1pm EDT (75 min)

Presented by Tim Ponisciak – Director of Graduate Alumni Relations at the University of Notre Dame

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

Tim Ponisciak PhotoAnnual Giving and Alumni Relations programs today are thinking outside of their own databases. Today, Social media not only provides a great tool for engaging and communicating with alumni, donors, and volunteers, but it can also provide access to information that’s even more current, accurate and relevant than what you already have. Mining social media data can tell you where your constituents are, what they’re doing, and how they feel.

Register online to learn how to use social media data to inform your annual giving and alumni relations strategies.

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER

  • Methods for identifying potential donors and volunteers through social media
  • Guidelines for monitoring social media content to determine which topics and tones will resonate with your alumni and donors
  • Tactics for analyzing and reporting on social media activity
  • Examples that have worked at other institutions
  • And more

WHAT YOU GET

  • Access to the LIVE webinar; invite your entire team (limit 1 connection per registration)
  • Have your questions answered by an expert
  • Copies of the presentation materials and resources
  • List of event participants so you can expand your network
  • Link to watch a recording of the webinar following the live event

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Tim Ponisciak is the Director of Graduate Alumni Relations at The University of Notre Dame where he oversees the college’s social media, events, and volunteer activities for the college of business. Previously he worked in Notre Dame’s central annual giving office where he was responsible for the university’s young alumni and student fundraising activities.

He’s an active presenter with CASE and holds an MBA and BBA’s in Marketing and Mathematics from the University of Notre Dame.

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

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Answer Your Phone

Posted on 05/20/2015 - by Dan Allenby

There’s nothing more disheartening to a phonathon manager then a center filled with callers listening to phones rings and voice-mail greetings. Unfortunately, for many annual fund programs, this is the new reality.

Gone are the days when reaching prospects required little more than dialing. Thanks to caller ID, mobile devices, and the negative stigma associated with telemarketing, alumni (particularly young alumni) are less and less likely to answer when their alma mater calls. Today the likelihood that a prospect will even pick up is less than 50%. This is troubling because phone solicitations typically have much higher donor conversion rates than other channels like direct mail or email. What’s more is that phonathon programs can be expensive to maintain.

After watching their own contact rates decline for years, the annual fund team at University at Buffalo decided to start thinking outside the box. Earlier this year, they sent “pre-solicitation” postcards to alumni that offered a chance to win a $250 Amex gift certificate just for answering the phone…regardless of whether or not they made a gift.

SUNY Buffalo Answer The Call Postcard

“Our goal was to get more alumni (especially younger alumni) to answer our calls,” said Dawn Baumgarten, Director of Annual Programs at University at Buffalo. “When they do, it not only gives us an opportunity to update their contact information, but it also allows us to re-engage them in a personal way. Soliciting donations from our most recent graduates almost becomes secondary.”

The annual fund team didn’t roll out the idea all at once. Instead they decided to test, splitting the prospect list into three groups and rolling it out in phases during the year. Preliminary results showed a 13% in increase in contact rates and a 2% increase in the overall pledge rate compared to groups that did not receive the postcard. Baumgarten notes that they’ll continue to test this idea and other creative ways to integrate marketing channels and improve results.SUNY Buffalo Answer The Call Postcard_Back

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Second Asks

Posted on 05/14/2015 - by Dan Allenby

LadderOne of the oldest taglines in annual giving goes like this: make a gift now and we won’t ask again for another year. However, there are a growing number of programs today that can’t make that claim. Why? Because they’re implementing “second asks” – going back to donors who have already made a gift and asking them for additional support. Although some programs are reluctant to take this approach for fear of offending donors or hurting future retention rates, Rutgers isn’t one of them.

“We’ve been doing second asks years,” says Gina Fiorillo, Director of Annual Giving at The Rutgers University Foundation. “Typically we run two second ask campaigns – one in January and one in May. In January, we reach out to donors who’s previous gift was made between June and November. Then, in May, we target donors who’s previous gift was made between December and March. Sometimes the second asks is for a particular fund like the President’s Fund or Scholarships. But we’ve seen better response rates when we ask donors to support a specific area that we already know they care about. It’s not unusual for us to see as many as 3,500 second gifts in a year…sometimes that adds up to more than $350,000.”

Some programs find that second asks provide a great way to upgrade donors. For example, if someone has been contributing $750 consistently, a second ask for $250 can serve as a way to increase their total giving to $1,000 and welcome them as a member of a leadership gift society. For programs that encourage unrestricted support first time around, a second ask can be a way for them to support a special interest like a department or an athletic team.

The big question for many annual giving professionals is what happens after someone makes a second gift? Does their likelihood of giving in the following decrease? Surprisingly, no. In fact, the more gifts a donor contributes in a single year, the more likely they are to renew their support the following year according to Target Analytics. “At Rutgers, a donor is 13% more likely to renew if they make a second gift, and 23% more likely to renew if they make 3 or more gifts in a year, says Fiorillo.”

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Even when you do succeed, it may be worth trying again.

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The Ripley Society

Posted on 05/06/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Harold RipleyHarold C. Ripley graduated from Dartmouth College in 1929. He was famous for his bowties, his sense of humor, and his loyalty to Dartmouth. In fact “Rip” gave to the College through the annual fund for 83 consecutive years—from his graduation in 1929 until his death in September 2011 at the age of 104.

The Harold C. Ripley ’29 Society was formed in 2009 to honor Rip and to recognize alumni who have demonstrated a commitment to giving through the Dartmouth College Fund every year since graduation. Today, there are more than 5,000 members.

One of the things that makes this recognition society unique is that it’s as much about looking forward as it is looking back. Prior to graduation, members of Dartmouth’s senior class are asked to join the Ripley Society with a gift as a senior and a pledge to support Dartmouth every year after graduation. “We launched it during Class Day,” says Sylvia Racca, Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund. “It’s always been very simple. Seniors are able to join by making a gift to the annual fund and signing a pledge card that they will continue to do so every year (they’re not required to specify a dollar amount). Once they make a gift and sign, they are a member of the Ripley Society and the membership is “theirs to lose” if they do not make a gift every year.  They have one more chance to join the first year after graduation.

Unlike a lot of university “loyalty societies”, the Ripley Society is only promoted to students and alumni in the first year after graduation. The program isn’t marketed to the general alumni population since if you don’t join in your senior year or in the first year following your graduation, you’ve missed your opportunity.

The program was successful from the beginning and it helped the college to increase the participation in the recent classes  from around 30% to over 50%. Today it continues to be an important part of Dartmouth’s annual giving efforts. It has a dedicated webpage, which includes a space where members can share stories about how Dartmouth impacted their life and why they support the College every year.

“Rip told me that after he graduated, he knew he wouldn’t be around in 100 years, so he wanted to give to an organization that would be around and would be doing good in the world”, said Racca. “He knew that would be Dartmouth.  What he didn’t know then was that 100 years later he would still be around.  The most special part of this story for me is that one of the last things Rip did was to make a gift to Dartmouth. He passed away on a Friday and we received his gift through the mail  the following Monday.”

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Webinar: Developing an Annual Fund Plan

Posted on 04/29/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Thursday, June 11th at 1pm EDT (60 min)

Presented by John Templeman – Director of Annual Giving at Case Western Reserve University

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

John Templeman PictureDeveloping a plan before the fiscal year begins is the first step toward achieving your Annual Fund goals. Start next year on a good note with a strategy that defines success and outlines the necessary steps to achieve it.

Register online for your entire team to learn how to develop a winning plan for your Annual Fund.

 

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER

  • Guidelines for structuring your plan, setting goals, and scheduling appeals
  • Tactics for segmenting your prospect pools and organizing your marketing efforts
  • Methods for analyzing progress and making adjustments throughout the year
  • Examples of plans from various institutions
  • And more

WHAT YOU GET

  • Access to the LIVE webinar: invite your entire team
  • Guarantee to have your questions answered by an expert
  • Copies of the presentation materials and resources
  • List of event participants so you can expand your network
  • Link to watch a recording of the webinar for 60 days following the live event

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

John Templeman is the Director of Annual Giving at Case Western Reserve University where works with schools and colleges to plan and execute direct mail, phone and online marketing strategies. His 16 year career in annual giving includes work at Cleveland State University and Baldwin Wallace University. John serves on the board for the Independent College Advancement Associates. He holds a certificate in non-profit management from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Bowling Green State.

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

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Online Ambassadors

Posted on 04/22/2015 - by Dan Allenby

UMass GivesWhen the annual giving team at UMass was preparing to launch their first Giving Day in 2013 – UMass Gives – they knew they’d need help spreading the word. So they created a new role for volunteers called “online ambassadors.” Their mission (if they chose to accept it) was to post and share content about Giving Day through their social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) leading up to and during the event. They were specifically encouraged to use the #UMassGives hashtag, post pictures, and share their feelings about philanthropy and why the university matters to them.

To identify potential volunteers they compiled a list of past telefund callers, past senior class gift committee members, new young alumni donors, and any alumni who were especially active on social media. Then they sent them an email inviting them to become an online ambassador. In the first year they were able to recruit 140 ambassadors.

“Our first Giving Day was a great success”, said Nathan Adams, Director of Annual Giving at UMass Amherst, “We raised over $85,000 and receive over 1,500 gifts. However, we didn’t want our new ambassadors to sit around with nothing to do for 11 months waiting for the next Giving Day. So we’ve continued to send them emails each month with news updates about the university that they can share. We’re careful that not all of the news updates are related to fundraising and giving.”

With a third Giving Day planned this month, UMass’s online ambassador program continues to grow. “We’ve already recruited over 200 ambassadors”, said Adams. “This year we’re sending them all special Giving Day T-Shirts and are asking them to talk selfy-pictures to post online. We’re expecting it to be another great day for the university.”

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Black Cat Week

Posted on 04/15/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Black Cat ImageAgnes Scott College doesn’t hold back when it comes to engaging all of its students in philanthropy. “We’re a women’s college so, in lieu of a fall football homecoming event, we celebrate Black Cat Week”, said Meghan Spencer Assistant Director of the Fund for Agnes Scott. “Throughout the week various competitions take place between all four classes. Points are awarded for answering trivia questions, winning field events, creating campus decorations, and giving to the Annual Fund.”

Agnes Scott’s Black Cat Week tradition began in 1915 as a “contest of wits” between first-year students and sophomores, as a substitute for freshman hazing and named in honor of a favorite professor’s pet. Annual Fund participation was added to the competition in 2007.

The effectiveness of each class’s fundraising effort often depends on two things: leadership and competitive spirit. Each class elects a service chair to head up the effort. Successful classes often have service chairs that are proactive about generating lists and soliciting their peers. Many volunteers get the attention of their classmates by setting up tables in prominent campus locations like the dining hall.

Class fundraising results are announced at the end of the week as part of Junior Production, a satiric variety show written and performed by the Junior Class. Class participation in the Black Cat campaign averages 16 percent for freshmen, 19 percent for sophomores, 25 percent for juniors and 36 percent for seniors. For seniors this week also forms the “nucleus fund’ for the senior gift campaign in the Spring, which has averaged 83 percent participation since 2004.

Spencer points out that there are numerous opportunities throughout the week to share stories about the impact of the gifts and she often overhears students talking with their peers about the annual fund without being unprompted by her or other staff. She also notes that, regardless of how much money is raised, it helps educate all students about philanthropy before their senior gift campaign even begins…and gives students a chance to have some fun in the process.

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The George Eastman Circle

Posted on 04/08/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Rochester_George Eastman Circle LogoIt started as a back of a napkin idea when The University of Rochester was making plans to launch a major comprehensive fundraising campaign. Its leadership knew the campaign wouldn’t be considered a success unless it built a strong prospect base and inspired a “community of leaders”

It was with these goals in mind that they launched The George Eastman Circle, a new leadership giving society for the annual fund. While gift societies are certainly not unusual for colleges and universities, this one was unique in that membership requires a multi-year commitment at a leadership level.

With a minimum pledge of $7,500 (i.e., $1,500 per year for five years), members are able to support their passions and interests with a gift to any of the university’s 200+ annual funds. In return, they’re given access to exclusive leadership networking events and recognized as leaders in the online donor roster. Additionally, “Plus One” events are offered periodically where members can bring a friend.

“There was a lot of effort (and a lot of fanfare) spent on securing charter membership during the first two years of the program”, said Martha Krohn, AVP for Advancement & Annual Giving Programs. “We set a goal of 250 charter members and ended up with 1,087.  For the next few years, we’ll focus on renewing charter members, whose pledges are now beginning to expire. We’ll also be launching regional councils to provide volunteer opportunities to our members and key volunteers.”

As of 2013, The George Eastman Circle has welcomed more than 2,650 members and raised over $50 million for the university’s annual fund. Click here to learn more and view the program’s website.

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Webinar: Email Strategy for Annual Giving

Posted on 04/01/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Tuesday, May 12th at 1pm EDT (60 min)

Presented by Liz Sullivan – Senior Digital Fundraising Strategist at U. of Chicago

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

Liz Sullivan PictureEmail has become an essential part of every successful annual giving program. But making sure your emails get opened, read and most importantly yield a response requires a lot more than just a catchy subject line. It requires authenticity and creativity as well as thoughtful attention to content, design, segmentation, and integration.

Register online for your entire team to learn how to use email to raise more money and secure more donors for your Annual Fund.

 

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER

  • Strategies for planning successful email campaigns
  • Tactics for maximizing open, click through, and conversion rates
  • Methods for building effective segments and analyzing results
  • Examples that have worked at other institutions
  • And more

WHAT YOU GET

  • Access to the LIVE webinar: invite your entire team
  • Guarantee to have your questions answered by an expert
  • List of event participants so you can expand your network
  • Copies of the presentation materials and resources
  • Link to watch a recording of the webinar for 60 days following the live event

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Liz Sullivan is a Senior Digital Fundraising Strategist and Interim Director of Marketing & Participation at The University of Chicago where she oversees email, social media, and online marketing programs for the Office of Annual Giving.

Previously she served as The Director of Marketing Services at the American Bar Association. She holds BA from Northern Illinois University and is a Gates Award Recipient.

Click here to learn more or REGISTER TODAY!

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Ugly Betty

Posted on 03/25/2015 - by Dan Allenby

Ugly-Betty-PictureThey call her Ugly Betty. And, while she may be lacking in fashion sense, she knows a thing or two about renewing gifts from prior donors. Who is she? She’s a no-frills direct mail package that’s gaining popularity among annual giving programs. She doesn’t contain a wordy case for support or compelling pictures. In fact, she looks more like an invoice than a traditional fundraising appeal.

There’s a lot of noise out there” says one annual fund manager referring to mailboxes cluttered with charity appeals and consumer offers, “and Ugly Betty helps convey our most important message in a succinct way. In addition to our more traditional letters, we send as many as four Ugly Betties to our recently lapsed donors each year.”

Megan Doud, Director of Annual Giving at The University of Michigan, describes Ugly Betty as one of their most successful appeals (see sample below.) “On average, we see a 14% response rate for prior year donors and 3.5% response rate for 1-2 year lapsed donors. Some schools and colleges see response rates from priors of around 20-25%!” See an example below.

Today’s donors are busy. Even those who are committed to supporting your organization can use a little reminder now and then. Ugly Betty may not be the best approach when it comes to acquiring new donors, but she may be able to help you convey an important message to your most loyal supports – it’s time to renew your support!

Ugly Betty Michigan

 

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