The typical donor engagement path continues to change with the influx of millennial alumni and more tech-savvy constituents. What does this mean for our schools? It’s time to re-evaluate our development and fundraising best practices to continue to reach both short- and long-term development goals.
One of the key tools for increasing school donations is to offer a convenient online giving solution. Since 84 percent of millennials choose to make donations online, and integrated online giving solutions generate as much as six times the money as third-party processing solutions, it’s imperative that schools take a closer look at the way they solicit for and receive their online donations.
Paid social advertising on Facebook is another best practice that successful development offices are using to reach constituents in new, creative ways. According to non-profit fundraising expert Heather Mansfield, “Social media is the least powerful it’s ever been unless you have money for advertising.” It’s not enough to post on your school’s Facebook page about your campaign – you have to use Facebook’s advertising tools to get the visibility you need. Start with modest ad budgets, evaluate your campaign analytics, and see if the work affects the results of your campaigns.
Why is email still so crucial to development? According to M+R Benchmark’s study, for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered in 2015, nonprofits raised $44 in revenue. Your email campaigns are still a key part of your outreach, but with caveats. Make sure your email templates are responsive and your copy and layout are in-step with best practices for generating clicks to your campaign pages and/or online giving pages.
When taking a look at your email campaigns, also consider whether your donor lists are accurate and properly segmented. In other words, are you reaching the donors that matter? And are you reaching your donors of the future, too? Think about whether personalization to your top donor segment needs more effort behind it, or conversely, whether a renewed push to younger constituents to engage them early on may bear more fruit over the long run.