Many higher education institutions have begun implementing parent programs as part of their fundraising campaigns. Parents of students already have an established affinity or interest in their student's institutions and can be routinely screened to identify new prospects for qualification and cultivation. Enrollment of new students during the fall semester provides a multitude of data on students and parents. Parents can be identified and cultivated not only for annual and major gifts programs, but can serve as volunteers in different leadership groups, or offer their expertise to help student programs by getting involved as coaches or career mentors.
Prospect research is an excellent tool for institutions to use to identify parents as major gift prospects. Institutions can use prospect research to examine these individuals' past giving to the university, current capacity to give, causes they care about, and reliable solicitation strategies.
Electronically screening parents of alumni and the incoming class of students allows you to determine strategies to engage parents in your fundraising efforts. Cultivation of these parents can start when their children are still in school, and it may encourage students to also give back to their alma mater once they graduate. The first step in creating an ongoing process is gathering data on parent prospects by establishing a partnership with your admissions or enrollment office. Positive relationships with parents will develop when their students receive a meaningful experience at your institutions.
We hope each of you have established processes to engage parents in your fundraising campaign. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team