As summer begins, universities and colleges around the nation are planning for the reopening of their campuses in the fall. During this time of COVID-19, it was impressive to see institutions functioning creatively to provide educational services to their students. We observed with much pride and excitement how higher education institutions successfully altered their plans for traditional commencement ceremonies and adopted innovative virtual commencement ceremonies to celebrate the success of class of 2020. All of this shows how resilient we remain despite the challenges of the times.
In the past several weeks, there has been an influx of online and digital platforms that are being used for the delivery of services. The use of technology has enabled advancement staff to function seamlessly from remote locations. Nonprofits are using technology for donor engagement and to provide services to different constituents. Fundraisers are using technology resourcefully to reach out to donors and raise money during COVID-19 by means of video-calls and social media to engage donors. According to a recent blog post by Bloomerang.com, nonprofits that “reached out to donors personally (phone, email, text, in-person) in March and April 2020 saw significant year-over-year increases in revenue compared to those [that] didn’t.” As we await a new period of normalcy, development staff should partner with prospect research professionals to verify and qualify information on constituents in existing portfolios, as well as to identify and add new prospects to portfolios for moves management. Research can also be used to create and validate fundraising strategies. This would be the time to update donor and prospect information in your CRM as you continue to reach out to your constituents. It is also extremely important for development professionals to accurately add contact reports in your CRM to capture meaningful connections with your constituents.
A recent special report from Marts & Lundy provides great insights on “the impact of COVID-19 on development staff metrics.” A total of 200 institutions participated in the surveys from three sectors – higher education, independent schools and health care. According to the survey, half of higher education institutions are adjusting FY20 gift officer metrics, while there is some uncertainty among higher education institutions about FY21 metrics. Some of the new metrics that institutions have implemented during COVID-19, include “counting meaningful contacts instead of visits, conducting portfolio reviews/cleanup, and/or stewarding major gift prospects.” Alumni relations and donor events are also changing by “pivoting to virtual engagement due to the pandemic.” Some of the new alumni engagement metrics include counting “number of viewers/participants, duration of participation, open rates of video messages, etc.” It is quite exciting to see how well development teams are adapting to address current needs and new goals, as the landscape of higher education philanthropy is continuing to evolve.
I hope we can roll with the changes and use this opportunity to make the future better and brighter with the many resources we have available. As always, please feel free to reach out to us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
There is no magic formula that explains the changing nature of donor behavior, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Currently, healthcare organizations and community organizations are seeing increased engagement and giving while those in the education and arts sectors are struggling with fundraising. Wealth-X suggests four strategies that will help your organization build a successful fundraising approach such as doubling down on communication of your vision and mission, taking time to foster personal connections, recommitting to the 80/20 rule, and balancing short term and long term planning.
Metrics are essential to both for-profits and non-profits alike. When speaking about non-profit metrics, the discussion can often become confusing and diluted due to the vast number of information available. This article from Fundraising Report Card narrows down seven charity metrics that are worth knowing. The list defines each metric and outlines why it is importance to a nonprofit to track and understand.
As businesses slowly begin to reopen, the advancement economy is beginning to reopen as well. David Cortes, AVP for Development at Baylor University spoke to Evertrue about how his office is settling into the new normal. At Baylor, their team has used emergency fundraising as a catalyst for portfolio turnover, seen gift conversations start to return to normal, adjusted how they will achieve their FY21 goals, instructed their gift officers to have 50 meaningful conversations a week, and continued to share stories to show donors how their money is being used. Read more here.
A ranking from Forbes assesses how well the 100 largest employers among public US companies responded to the health crisis. It analyzed policies such as relaxed attendance to community relief funds and scales them from one to five. However, Forbes notes that these companies are not free of controversies and that it will be interesting to watch if policies put in place during COVID-19 will endure. Number one on the list is Verizon Communications, who instituted one of the most expansive sick leave policies and scored high for backup dependent care and efforts to help surrounding communities. Read the full list here.
Building a well thought out donor pyramid is essential for starting a capital campaign. A donor pyramid is a visual that categorizes prospects by their engagement level and provides nonprofits a path to move donors from lower levels to higher levels of commitment. By building a data-driven pyramid, the data will reveal patterns that will help your organization build a strong campaign. Read more here.
Donor stewardship is essential as it helps donors feels appreciated and engaged and can make or break their decision to give another gift. Thanks to the pandemic, it's not possible to meet face-to-face with donors. Many high-level donors are used to in-person interactions at events, lunches, and personal meetings. What should fundraising offices do instead to ensure that their donors are being stewarded? Bloomerang suggests making thank you calls, sending thank you cards and just because cards, sending personal emails, sharing relevant news, sharing video updates and more.