In an era where there is more incoming digital communications of all types (texts, social media alerts, emails, and (now) robocalls) the challenge to authentically engage with prospective alumnae and donors is greater than ever.
Survey Says: Response equals Respect
Steve Smith, my first and most memorable mentor in Sales 101 (as the newly minted ad account executive I was) taught that to capture a prospect’s attention meant multiple touchpoints–intelligently implemented. Seven points of contact by phone, email, or face-to-face (ideally) from the same source was the wisdom taught to me and possibly more; with each point of contact adding something of value to the last effort–to make a friend, find common ground for conversation, and to nurture a relationship.
The name of the game was creating rapport, providing value, sharing information, earning trust and developing respect; so that when the call to action or ask was made there was more reason to say “yes” than to say “no, not at this time” or worst yet, “take me off your list, please.”
Picture this scenario. You are an alum of a college that gave you a positively memorable education experience, you benefitted from a financial aid package as a student on a tight budget, you relied heavily upon the computer labs and libraries, possibly over-utilized the student counseling center and health center, and thoroughly enjoyed your work-study program because it gave you real-life skills you then turned into an enjoyable career path. You’ve even made it back to Picnic Day (once) and RSVP’d to invitations to regional events about healthcare and water quality issues.
When the email comes from Alumnae Relations asking for updates on you, your life, your work, your accomplishments, and your interests, you respectfully respond. When they started an online alumnae community, you joined, and started to populate your profile.
Why? Because you have leveraged your educational experience as best you can and are happy to share your good news when asked.
From college student to successful adult with a meaningful career, why would you not support your alma mater annually, increasing your allocated gifts and donations to annual giving campaigns as your resources allow?
Nurturing engagement that inspires giving with aggregated data.
How advancement teams and their campus partners succeed depends on a variety of inputs, how complete a picture they have of the prospects in their databases, AND what they are doing with the prospect data picture they have.
- Is Alumnae Relations creating opportunities for graduates to share their accomplishments and interests?
- Is Advancement creating unique and appropriate campaigns and volunteer opportunities that resonate with recipients, their interests, both on- and off-line at local and regional levels?
- Are Gift Officers able to curate custom invite lists for opportunities when they are out in the field?
Working together everyone accomplishes more.
Where is there access to a central repository of all that wonderful multi-layered data about alums, donors, and prospects that yields an ideal list that tells a good story when filtered logically and intuitively? Does that online vault even exist at your institution, and can key departments (Enrollment, Advancement, Alumnae Relations, etc.) add, keep current, and share their data with each other–securely and easily?
Ideally, outreach efforts by campus partners are coordinated with transparency and sensitivity to assure that alums and prospective donors are not asked too often by too many sources to “give back” and “pay it forward” and their communication preferences (once known) are honored.
Is there a good system in place, capable of monitoring how and how often prospects are being engaged and by whom to assure that prospects:
- choose to stay engaged,
- choose to give when asked,
- and don’t opt out in frustration about too many touchpoints from too many sources (they perceive to be the same = their alma mater)?
Ideally, campus partners are working together (not in silos), sharing their key data points (securely), and collaborating to make advancement activities (when and wherever they occur) a success because they recognize they are on the same TEAM with a shared mission.
Always. Be. Connecting. Data.
At the end of the day, Advancement Services and Alumnae Relations are both fundamentally “in the business of selling and sustaining the idea” that staying connected to your alma mater and “giving back” to “pay it forward” can be a win-win-win proposition for the alumni, the institution; and for the future generations of students that benefit from sustained giving.
Need some help in optimizing your prospect research and list generation for advancement and fundraising activities? Learn more about Michelangelo Pro through a personalized demo or attend the next webinar.