Engaged alumni, a thriving annual fund, regular major gifts, these are all highly visible signs of a healthy alumni/development program. The reality, though, is that the vast majority of what makes these successes happen lies behind the scenes where no one can see. Much like an iceberg, the bulk of what drives institutional advancement is largely hidden from view.
My “read immediately” list is far longer than what I will be able to get to in a lifetime, and that is how it should be. There were, however, some titles that made a real difference in 2020.
Donors only spend a few precious seconds scanning fundraising appeals. It is critical that eye-catching headlines and call-out text be crafted in a way that communicates the essence of the message. Here are three templates to help make the most of your headlines.
Mounting evidence indicates that Gen Z-ers tend to be espeically open to coaching and mentoring. Given the right circumstances, alumni can be effective mentors, helping students grapple with the big questions of vocation.
Here’s what a trip to Disney World taught me about delivering an exceptional level of service to alumni and donors.
Alumni/Development work is all about relationships. Good alumni engagment after a disaster strikes is all about being responsive to the needs of the moment.
Appeal letters are at their best when the language focuses heavily on the donor’s need to know that he or she is the only one who can make a difference in that moment. Too many refernces to “us” and “we” redirect attention back to the organization, attenuating the importance of the donor’s role.
Life is one indivisible whole, and to fragment it into discrete categories introduces a kind of needless schizophrenia. Instead of seeing work as this thing that is somehow at odds with everything else, we need to see what role it could/should play in enhancing all the other areas of life, so as to foster greater levels of happiness and fulfilment.
Over 90% of potential readers never open the envelope. The more that writers understand about how readers engage with direct mail appeals, the better chance they have of maximizing open rates.
Gift range charts are invaluable tools that can help drive fundrasing appeals throughout the year. One can see clearly how many gifts are needed at each level, and how many prospects are needed for each gift. There is one often-overlooked benefit, however, and that is their ability to reveal gaps in your donor base.
Getting to the most useful and helpful content is a lot like panning for gold. There is much detritus to sift through in order to find the best reads. With the right tools, however, the process can be made fairly easy and even enjoyable.
News feeds, blogs, websites, and print media are like an army that mounts a daily assault on your mind. We are constantly bombarded with “stuff,” much of which is poorly written and peppered with errors. With a few simple rules and the right tools, however, you can get control of the glut and increase the quality of what you read.