10 Things Colleges Need to Know About Alumni Relations

site de rencontre avec japonais Think of alumni relations as a close cousin of fundraising. Two-year colleges often have under-resourced, rudimentary programs that lack the focus of their four-year counterparts. And if your fundraising program is under-resourced, it’s hard to invest much in alumni relations. But invest we should. And we should remember that alumni relations is a separate cost center from development, one that should not be reflected in your cost-of-fundraising reports like the IRS form 990 or your audit.

dating singapore singles Here are some reasons to invest in alumni relations:

  1.  Alumni are a resource of the educational mission of the college.  Their relation to the institution comprises interactions that transcend the fundraising program.
  1.  The college needs to offer multiple, coordinated entry points for interactions with alumni, coordinated by a specialist reporting to the VP of Advancement.
  1. The college needs to promote interaction with the alumni so that they remain informed about the educational activities of the college and can serve as ambassadors of the college in ways that benefit enrollment management, career placement, and other core activities of the college even before we see their cultivation as a future resource of the fundraising program.
  1. Alumni often want to maintain a relationship with the college directly via their academic department, as with professors, or coaches, and don’t want to be perceived primarily as donor prospects. I believe this is particularly true for alumni in their 20s and 30s.
  1. Young alumni as a group cost the fundraising program money to stay in touch with them during the twenty-year period it takes for them to become significant donors.  A balanced, professional alumni relations program will undertake that challenge based on a rationale that is more encompassing than the Annual Fund dollar value of each class of alumni.
  1. Tracking contact information for alumni often exceeds the data management capacity of a fundraising office, requiring significant integration with the data management capacities of the college. This is the most intractable issue facing community colleges today because the effort is under-resourced and not seen as an institutional priority. Even so, much more can be done by most colleges to keep track of alumni, including mailing to them at least twice a year and using NCOA protocols.
  1. A primary way to remain in touch with alumni is a college magazine, backed up by a strong online program for alumni contact.  The editorial content of these reflects the entire college and therefore must be managed to reflect the interests of the college, while at the same time viewing editorial through the lens of Alumni relations and development.
  1.  With younger alumni, their relationship to the college may benefit the college in ways that pertain more closely to marketing than fundraising.
  1. Alumni benefit the college directly by:
  • Providing expert advice and guidance to the university’s leadership
  • Providing case study material, guest lectures, equipment or similar to enhance teaching
  • Supporting student recruitment
  • Providing careers advice, mentoring, placements, internships to students
  • Acting as positive role models to current students

premier site de rencontre en france [Source for #9 (condensed): http://www.case.org/Publications_and_Products/Fundraising_Fundamentals_Intro/Fundraising_Fundamentals_section_1/Fundraising_Fundamentals_section_12.html]

These activities reflect the degree to which the alumni relations program must be managed by the college to provide systemic, comprehensive management of the aggregate and individual relationships with alumni to benefit the college as a whole.

  1.  Colleges often provide services or benefits to alumni, both tangible and intangible, that reflect interactions with the entire college, including athletics, academics, placement, and advancement.  An advisory team that reflects the life and values of the college should assist in oversight of these benefits.

Conclusion:  it’s never too soon to invest in alumni relations.

10 Things You Can Do to Increase Year-End Giving

imagesThe end of the calendar year is a wonderful time for donor engagement. The tax deduction available to itemizers, while never the primary philanthropic driver, is always a good reminder that it’s time to give. December is the biggest month for annual giving and many donors are keenly attuned to their year-end giving cycles. Here are a few things we can do to promote their end-of-year generosity.

  1. Keep the office open between Christmas and December 31.

At Dunwoody College of Technology the development staff took turns staffing the office between Christmas and December 31. What’s more, we kept open the line of communication with board members and close friends of the college, suggesting that we were open for business and that we cared about donors’ year-end gifts. If your college or organization is closed, at minimum offer a cell phone number to those who call the development line between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

  1. Check the mail for postmarks.

Any gift delivered by mail with a postmark of December 31 or earlier was intended by your donor as gift to be credited to the previous calendar year—and the IRS allows it. So respect that intention by acknowledging the postmark date and crediting the gift on your database as a December 31 gift. You may need to change a sentence or two in your standard acknowledgment letter. Keep the postmarked envelope on file to document the gift date. You could even add a page to your web site containing year-end giving details. Here how UC Berkeley does it: http://haas.berkeley.edu/groups/alumni/giving/haasfund/endofyear.html

  1. Encourage gifts of appreciated securities.

The overall market is slightly off its mid-year peaks, but many segments of the stock market are quite healthy. Gifts of appreciated securities are the most cost-effective means to make meaningful gifts or fulfill pledges. But you have to be around the office to close these deals. Check in with your bank, broker or local branch of a mutual fund company to be sure you have phone numbers, account numbers, routing numbers and especially electronic funds transfer protocols on file before your donor calls you. If you need leadership authorization or participation to conduct these transactions, make sure you can find board members or organization officers during the busy holiday season. If this becomes a problem, amend your account authorization records so the chief development officer can make deposits without board participation.

  1. Email board members who have yet to give.

Get the word out to board members that you are open for gift processing while highlighting opportunities for gifts of appreciated securities. It is one of the most cost-effective ways for board members to make bigger gifts to your institution. Highlight the tax deduction available and let them know you are striving to meet mid-year revenue forecasts. The truth is, if they don’t make a gift now you may be chasing them around for the balance of the fiscal year. It never hurts to have a message go out from the board chair to all the board members of have yet to make their gifts or fulfill their pledges.

  1. Send a blast email containing a year-end tax advantage message.

Let them know that the dollars they give now will reduce their tax bills when they itemize. Those dollars will then be available for spring disbursements from the foundation to the college. Your donors may have a few days off and a few spare minutes to think about their charitable intentions for the year during the holidays and be moved to act. Emphasize the ease of online giving in the holiday season. (See the link in #2 above.)

  1. Run a report on all year-end LYBUNTS from last year and email them.

If you don’t have gifts in hand for this calendar year, email those donors to offer a gentle reminder that this is the month they gave last year. State their last gift amount to make the pitch more concrete. One of the biggest questions we hear in phonathons is, “When and how much did I give last year?” Get out in front of those good intentions by getting to LYBUNTS before they go stale. Few people are motivated to make gifts in January when all those credit card bills arrive.

  1. Remind staff and faculty that they can make a seasonal gift in honor of someone.

Holiday gifts can be hard for busy colleagues to keep up with. If it’s the thought that counts, a gift in honor of a friend, family member or colleague can be a meaningful way to give. Offer to send out a “Season’s Greetings from Prof. X” card, which lets the honoree know that a gift has been made in their honor. (Of course no amounts are mentioned!) And of course you must have someone in the office to send out those cards.

  1. Ask your president to call his or her top ten prospects over the holidays.

Your president has a list of top ten prospects right? A personal call wishing happy holidays to someone important to the college is one of the easiest, most natural, most appreciated cultivation calls a president can make. And even though this is just a cultivation call, it can inspire donors and prospects to make that gift they have been thinking about. If your president is a little light on prospects, compose that list now. No one possesses the golden opportunity to make a positive impression on friends of the college than does your president.

  1. Send a personal holiday card to your top 25 donors.

Nothing says thank you like “thank you.” And no time is better to say it than now, in the holiday season, when cards are the norm. So even if your college sends out boilerplate cards to friends of the college, say something personal as a steward of philanthropy at your college. After all, the season of giving is your season, right?

  1. Call and thank your volunteers.

Where would we be without those special volunteers that put us over the top on our fund drives? In this era of texts, emails, tweets and so many of the lesser communicative arts, phone calls are often regarded as a more personal medium. Sometimes a thank you is all about inflection—as in, conveying emotion and meaning it! So how about five calls a day, every day through the year-end? Your volunteers will know you care about them. That, as they say, is priceless.

Good luck, and good works to you all!

The Perils of a Staff-Driven Advancement Program

The classic public higher ed advancement model is built on the triad of the college president, the foundation board, and the professional development staff. If the triad is in place and functioning well, do everything you can to maintain its effectiveness. If it is not in place, do everything to can to support the formation of the triad.

Without the president and board onboard you have a staff-driven program, and with a staff-driven program you limit your revenue to 50% of potential. You can do a lot of things right, and effectively, and still have a staff-driven program. You may have a strong Annual Fund and grants program, but you will have a weak major gifts program.

When you limit your revenue to 50% of potential you become irrelevant. That is, you cease to matter in the power dynamic of the college. You won’t receive an adequate budget or sufficient attention to get the job done. If advancement isn’t an engine, it’s a caboose. If advancement is the caboose, it will fail.

When I refer to the engine, I mean the resource engine, that term Jim Collins talks about. The major gifts program is more potent resource engine of the development program, as compared to the Annual Fund, and, it goes without saying, special events. Yet the Annual Fund must be well established for the major gifts program to launch. So there is hope for anyone running a staff-driven program raising most of the annual revenue from the Annual Fund. You just have to shift the dynamics of the advancement triad to put the president front and center and the foundation board firmly—and actively—behind you.

I wrote about engaging the president in my last blog entry. As to engaging the foundation board, you might refer to Tip #19 in my book: “Members of effective boards actively support the fundraising activities of the Annual Fund and make it a priority for personal involvement.”

After that, major gifts!

The Problem with Special Events

al khobar dating Opportunity Cost site de rencontres en bretagne , Transactional partnersuche fragen Displacement, & the ROI on Staff Time

A word on the origins of our dependence on events: in terms of fundraising tradition, this dependence arises  from a grassroots board and a lack of staff. I advocate that we talk about mission instead. When I hear of a strong dependence on special events, the warning flags go up. We have to look at the recherche blanc celibataire opportunity cost of events–of what I call rencontres 3ème âge transactional displacement.

Transactional displacement is the displacement of mission-based, purposeful cultivation by event-related fundraising transactions. This includes “selling tables,” “selling sponsorships,” and rounding up auction items. It can become similar to a retail transaction, unrelated to the mission-based story of changing and transforming lives.  And when event participants are done with the event, they are sometimes done with you until next year. They think they’ve done their part.

And we have to look at the ROI on staff time. It usually is lower with events than with other forms of direct cultivation. The higher your gross, the greater your dependence, the more difficult it will be to shift your paradigm. At a certain revenue point, change becomes nearly impossible; you are locked in.

So unless you are raising a boyfriend still goes on dating website lot of money on events, you might want to rethink your reliance on them, and instead think about raising money using the se vendre sur les sites de rencontre pdf collegiate development model.

Fiscal Year-End Follow-up for the Annual Fund

Fiscal year-end follow-up for the Annual Fund means phoning donors who are in danger of going LYBUNT.

With about a week to go until the end of the fiscal year, it’s time to be in high-gear making phone calls to high-value Annual Fund donors who are about to go LYBUNT. Regardless of which renewal track they are on, now is the time to call.

Who should call? Start with the director of annual giving. That individual should have a good handle on the relationships in question. Others can call, too, especially if the donor is at the $2,500 or above level. At Dunwoody College of Technology, the president would make year-end Annual Fund follow-up calls to particularly high-value donors who had yet to make their gift. At Dunwoody, everyone in the advancement office was on deck to make calls as needed.

The script? “I just wanted to touch bases with you to let you know how close we are to making our Annual Fund goal, and how important your gift is to the college and to me personally. If you’d like to I could: take your credit card information over the phone, drop by to pick up the check later this week, or you could make your gift at our website.”

And then pause…as long as it takes.

One exception to this approach is if the donor routinely makes a gift via a credit card, then I would just go for the presumptive close, as you would during a phonathon. As soon as the donor says yes, just ask, “Which card would like to put that on?”

If you run a phonathon in the fall (and you should), have a student caller on hand in June to call $100 and up donors who are on the brink of LYBUNT-ship.

Ask donors who say they will get their check in the mail to please have it postmarked by June 30, and treat these gifts the same way you enter calendar year-end gifts for tax purposes. But don’t hold the year-end books open longer than a few days past the fiscal year. Most long-term donors will consider making two gifts the following year if they miss a fiscal year.

While the definition of a high-value Annual Fund gift varies, think seriously about having the director call anyone at the $500 a year level or above. Calls to donors below that level may well merit the few minutes it takes to have staff call as well.

Don’t get caught up in call reluctance because you think these donors have lost interest or they would have already given. People forget! I forget. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how many people are genuinely grateful that you helped keep them on track with their annual charitable gift plan.

This year-end drill is de rigueur when Annual Fund goals are real, and they matter, and the director of annual giving and the annual giving staff are held accountable for reaching them. When follow-up drills like this are not a priority, it says something about how serious you are about your program goals.

Donors who are contacted in this manner realize that their gifts are essential, that they are noticed, and that their failure to make a gift has consequences. Small organizations like community college foundations can easily make it apparent that these gifts matter.

It doesn’t take the loss of too many high-value gifts to torpedo Annual Fund goals, so take the time to close year-end gifts with strategic follow-up calls and watch your goal attainment go over the top as a result.

 

The Second Most Important Thing You Can Do to Strengthen Employee Annual Giving

[second in a two-part series]

The second most important thing you can do to strengthen Employee Annual Giving is to address the maximum number of faculty and staff at a single gathering.

I call this the “Kickoff Close.” The occasion offers the opportunity to make a concerted, personal pitch for Employee Annual Giving as you collect pledge cards.

Here’s how it works:

1) Find the occasion. It might be an all-employee meeting, in-service training day, or a welcome-back orientation. The key is to find an occasion that includes both faculty and staff. And the occasion has to be proximate to the desired window for a two- or three-week employee campaign.

2) Get 15 minutes on the agenda. This can be difficult, but you need this amount of time to build momentum for the message.

4) Distribute pledge cards and envelopes to attendees.

5) Use effective speakers with powerful messages. My preference is to open with the president, then offer a few words by a faculty or staff employee campaign chair, followed by the chief development officer, followed by a development staff member who pitches a raffle for a premium like an iPad or smart phone available to immediate donors. Each of these presentations must be short, short, short!

6) Lead with thank yous. A big part of the pitch is engaging and thanking donors. In fact, every speaker must thank donors. If you are using the sustaining membership program described in my last article, a significant number of your audience are already ongoing donors.

8) The CDO’s message: Tell employees what the foundation and the college accomplished with their gifts from last year. This includes scholarships, emergency assistance grants, and program improvements touching a variety of departments. If you want broad support, demonstrate broad impact.

Make the Ask. You need to make a succinct, heartfelt, compelling, personal Ask that establishes you as the college’s leader regarding philanthropy.

Don’t forget to ask nondonors to fill out their pledge cards on the spot.

9) Offer a raffle. Have a development officer close with a pitch for a raffle to anyone who turns in a pledge card within 24 hours of the meeting. I advise offering one compelling item. It could be an iPod or a Kindle reader, whatever, it’s worth it given the development staff time you will save by kicking off the campaign this way.

Allow entry to the raffle to anyone who fills out a pledge card whether or not they make a gift in order to comply with state and federal lottery or raffle regulations. However, you can automatically enter anyone who has already made on ongoing pledge. (Don’t worry, very few nondonor employees will take advantage of the offer.)

10) Send out a blast email the next day informing employees of the initial rate of donor participation. You may be pleasantly surprised to see how high this rate already is. Then announce the winner of the raffle item.

There you have it: 10 quick steps to success in Employee Annual Giving—just what you need as you embark on follow-up departmental and section meetings.