Engaging our supporters in the digital world is really important for today’s fundraisers. We’re all reaching out via social media, email, on our web pages and giving pages to attract donor interest and passion. This supplements our more traditional appeals, and everything can get a boost in donor attention if it’s done right. But pretty soon, our donor rolls really will be dominated by a new group of supporters--younger people who have had mobile phones, tablets, and apps their entire lives. These have been dubbed the "digital natives," a group of young donors we’re all looking to engage. Matt Herzberger, Executive Consultant for Web Strategy and Interactive Marketing Services here at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, helps a lot of institutions do this. Matt talked about digital natives in a recent presentation, so I got him on the line to get a perspective on what courting this rising group of well-connected supporters means for fundraising strategy.
Acquiring new donors is important for any fundraising program. Encouraging new people to give every year is crucial. As fundraisers, new donor acquisition is usually not something we’re real excited about- in the first year it's expensive, but we do it anyway.
We wondered if these fundraiser assumptions are really true when you consider contributions over the long term. Do you really, when you consider long term donor value, lose money on new donors? Sean Shaikun, Director of Market Research, recently embarked on a project to answer the question "Is donor acquisition really worth it?." He looked into millions of donor records from 16 institutions who used our RNL360 analysis program to see what new donors 20 years ago actually did over two decades. Sean joins us in this podcast to unpack the results.
The RNL fundraising team has a passion for helping organizations capture donor passion and translate it into long term impact. Get in touch with us today to receive a customized calculator based on this study for what new donor acquisition can mean for you in the long term. We're ready to help make a plan for your great new donor engagement and retention program.
Derrick Feldmann is the president of Achieve and founder of The Millennial Impact Report, which has given us some of the best research we have on how young people engage causes, make donations, and express passion for social change. He'll be the opening keynote at our upcoming Digital and Millennial Engagement conference in Atlanta, and I got him on the phone to talk about his research and give a preview of what he'll tell us at the event.
As Derrick describes it, how your organization leverages people, relevancy and creativity make a big difference to gaining a group of people who are willing to "belong," With the right tools and resources, our job is to take those people from simply belonging to "owning" a cause.
There are some of the key point's of Derrick's new book: Social Movements for Good. This book is really good. It is an incredible resource for fundraisers or cause professionals to learn about how to engage any generation of supporters.
If you join us at the conference in October, you'll get a copy of Derrick's book, and hear more great insights and further your engagement of all your supporters online, as well as strategies to engage Millennials, who can really give your cause a boost. Check out the agenda and speaker list. Podcast listeners can receive a 20% discount, using code DIGITAL20.
Katherine Lisciani is a millennial, and over at Millennovation.com she has been named a top millennial marketer by LinkedIn. She’s helped organize powerful campaigns to engage and energize young supporters for important causes.
In advance of Katherine’s appearance as a speaker at our upcoming Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference, Oct. 13-14 in Atlanta, I got her on the line to talk about best practices for marketing to a generation that has increasing dominance over our fundraising results. For many causes, and particularly higher education institutions, young people are the largest part of our constituent base, but we’re engaging them with the same old tactics that we’ve used on their parents and grandparents.
Listen to the podcast to hear a taste of what Katherine will talk about in October, and get some ideas on how you can better engage millennial supporters.
Student philanthropy is a hot topic these days, with just about all higher education institutions organizing some student giving program. Two experts on this topic are Collin Hennessy at Penn and Lori Hurvitz at University of Chicago.
In advance of the upcoming CASE conference for student advancement, and the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium, which they are helping put together, I got these two experts on the phone to talk about their take on student philanthropy, current research, and their suggestions for the best ways to engage students around giving while they are still on campus.
CASE Conference for Student Advancement and Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium:
Colin D. Hennessy and Lori Hurvitz join the podcast to talk about the Conference for Student Advancement and the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium that they're organizing together. Colin is the executive director for the Penn Fund at University of Pennsylvania and Lori is the senior director of Annual Giving at the University of Chicago. They both discuss the future of philanthropy, what institutions are doing right, and how behind-the-trend institutions can get up-to-speed with their student philanthropy.
[1:25] How did Colin and Lori get involved with student philanthropy?
[3:45] How are the best institutions engaging their students right now? They're starting philanthropy early.
[6:15] Students are naturally very philanthropic. Millennials are engaged in causes.
[6:35] What suggestions do Colin and Lori have for institutions who are just starting down this path?
[7:50] Look at your own culture and see what's important to your students.
[8:15] Colin and Lori talk about the Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium they're organizing.
[10:45] Colin recently finished his dissertation and talks about his study on the influence of learning and annual giving.
[11:45] There's a lack of understanding as to why philanthropy is important on college campuses.
[12:05] Lori discusses her research and her dissertation on building a culture of student philanthropy.
[13:25] What is the University of Chicago currently doing to engage students in philanthropy?
[15:00] What is Colin's university doing right with philanthropy?
[17:50] The conference will be held at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta on Aug 4th through Aug 6th.
"Student philanthropy is a great way to engage students and it gets students to connect with alumni and role models."
"Student philanthropy gives us an opportunity to educate students early."
"Students are, by their nature right now, very philanthropic. Students have causes these days."
A lifetime relationship. This is what we are hoping for with our students, who later become alumni, supporters and donors. It’s certain that admission, orientation, financial aid, student affairs, athletics all play into this relationship, well before our alumni are handed off to advancement, alumni relations, and fundraisers.
But at most institutions, these areas are separate, and the offices don’t even talk much. That’s not the case at The Michigan Technological University. These areas are all under the leadership of one office, and one leader, Les Cook - Vice president for student affairs and advancement.
He has one of the most interesting and impactful jobs in higher education. I got Les on the phone to talk about what combining all of these areas into one division can do for the student, alumni, and donor experience. Les has picked up some great insight from this massive endeavor.
[2:10] How did Les get started?
[5:45] What does Michigan Tech gain when they combine student affairs with other activities?
[8:00] If you build a sense of pride with your students, then they will come back to invest in the university later in life.
[8:50] Les shares some personal examples of how he and his team engage his students.
[11:00] There's always huge turnover in gift officer positions, but is Les seeing something different at his university?
[11:20] It's not about getting talent it's about growing your own talent.
[14:25] Les is trying to minimize the gap between the alumni experience and the student experience.
[17:25] Michigan Tech's fundraising philosophy is similar to their student recruitment philosophy.
[19:30] If you can keep alumni involvement/engagement pretty steady over the course of their lives, it will benefit the university in the end.
[21:15] Les talks about his dissertation and what he learned from it.
[23:10] As Les talks to more people in his industry, what is he currently learning from his colleagues?
[23:40] People are intrigued with Michigan Tech's growth.
[25:20] What are some of the biggest lessons Les has learned during his student advancement career?
[28:20] In order for change to work, you need to have a president willing to support new ideas.
[29:40] What's next for university advancement?
[34:10] It's all about making a difference in the lives of others.
"Awareness to greatness, greatness to engagement, engagement to investment, and investment is commitment."
"Advancement officers work more closely now to bring donors and students together to share what's going on."
"There's a magic that occurs when the donors and the students come together."