University Business May 2018 - 47
its interests. "This is a great way to acquire
new donors and has significantly higher
retention levels than we achieve with other
fundraising initiatives," he says.
2. Track donor prospects
Baby boomers are expected to pass $30
trillion on to their children and grandchildren over the next several decades, according to research from the wealth management organization U.S. Trust. Pipeline
development is critical, and new tools
help major gift officers find new prospects
within oceans of data.
One of the most cost-effective strategies is to mine the tremendous amount
of information available on social media.
"Even the smallest, most resource-restrained institutions have built significant
social followings over the last 10 years, but
few have harnessed the engagement that
can be built on that pipeline," says Brent
Grinna, CEO of EverTrue, a provider of
advancement automation technology.
EverTrue technology helps Weber
State University in Utah follow posts on
10 alumni Facebook sites and determine
each graduate's affinity for the university.
Matt Spencer, associate vice president of
the Office of University Advancement, has
successfully followed the trail from online
"likes" and comments to face-to-face meetings and new major donors.
For example, a young alumnus who is
now a business executive funded a business
school scholarship and joined the Weber
State president's national advisory council. In addition, Spencer and his major
gift officers have cultivated dozens of new
president's club donors who each give an
annual gift of $1,000 or more.
"This tool is helping us turn over stones
and discover folks who didn't respond to
phone calls or direct mail," he says.
Spencer, along with Wilson at Virginia
State, also uses WealthEngine-a provider
of data-based software and consulting services for fundraising and marketing-to
screen alumni databases to determine individuals' giving capacity.
Collins at Philadelphia College of
Osteopathic Medicine, meanwhile, has
had success with the Reeher fundraising
ATTENDEE POWER-Virginia State University board members, friends and staff
get strategic about their attendance at the Richmond Forum speaker series, which
many local influential people attend. The team aims to make new introductions to
the university as well as strengthen existing relationships with key constitutents.
platform's proprietary predictive model.
The fundraising management system analyzes and scores the giving behaviors and
characteristics of prospects so advancement teams can target those with the
3. Cultivate young donors
Millennials, 80 million strong, will constitute 46 percent of the workforce by 2020
and 75 percent by 2025, reports the EAB
Advancement Forum, a higher ed research
and services firm. Those in this generation,
who were born between 1980 and 1999,
are currently "advancing in careers and accumulating a little bit of wealth, but the
playbook for engaging them is substantially different than we are used to," says
Jeff Martin, senior consultant of EAB Advancement Forum.
The Council for Advancement and
Support of Education (CASE) recently
asked a panel of young donors about their
giving preferences. "They rejected the
word 'philanthropy,' " says Sue Cunningham, CASE's president and CEO. "They
see themselves as investors who choose
based on where their dollars will have
maximum impact, and they want to be involved in the outcome."
With this audience, colleges should
emphasize the huge impact an investment
in higher education has because it prepares
people to find long-term solutions to the
problems other nonprofits are addressing
today, she says.
Young alums may complain that their
colleges contact them only for donations.
Small schools with limited budgets should
therefore maintain a constant stream of
communication-pre-ask-about topics other than fundraising, Martin says.
Administrators can do this by capitalizing
on existing channels, such as academic department newsletters.
Millennial alumni can be recruited as
social media ambassadors who share messages to drive interest in the institution.
Short-term volunteer opportunities-such
as participation on a strike force that tackles one problem for a designated time period-are another idea, Martin says.
He recommends targeted, low-cost
Facebook posts and ads, as well as crowdfunding initiatives. "Millennials and
GenZers want to be part of a movement,
May 2018 | 47
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