Thursday, July 21, 2011

student gift officers

Chances are that your office has a personal solicitation component on a leadership giving level. It is usually also a safe assumption that you solicit those folks through other methods. Inclusion in direct mail, phone and email is pretty standard for leadership annual giving prospects.

Have you considered creating a prospecting program using student callers as gift officers for either especially warm but "tapped out" prospects or for those elusive alumni who your leadership gift staff have been unable to land on a consistent basis?

This is simple in idea. Even better it is easy to implement and will generate results, after all your donors give to support the students at the heart of it so creating a closer relationship with a student is only going to create positive feelings.

The concept is basic. Using a small number of your better phone program callers, identify a population of alumni whom you want to specifically cultivate this year. Assign them to the callers, matching of school, major, activities, hometown etc.. is a crucial component of this.

Once you have each caller assigned to a prospect pool, provide the caller with the information about their prospects in a print format and give them a disposable cell phone to be used only for this calling. The callers are given instructions and rules that match your needs (ours are only talk on/answer that phone when you would talk with your grandma and not to share any personal information regarding where they live, personal phone numbers etc...) Using that disposable cell, the students call their prospects and engage them in a conversation/survey. This is centered around the alums interest in being part of this program and ascertaining their interest in the school.

The students are responsible for checking in with you on a monthly basis and with the alumni on a quarterly basis. Their job is to solicit each of the alumni before the end of the year and to develop a relationship with that alum over that time.

This leverages your students, increases the alumni engagement and will generate gifts and commitment from alumni who have not otherwise been reachable. Give it a try this fall!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mining your summer

One of the many things that I try to get accomplished each summer is a data mining project. At the very least, I use this time to create a solicitation list for the phone program donor acquisition efforts. The most data challenged among us can do this with no more resources than a computer with excel, a complete list of every constituent who has a phone number (seems self explanatory but is a good reminder of the first step) an email and meets the source (alum, parent, friend) criteria for that effort.

Within that list get the following data fields:
Work phone
Spouse name
Job title
Children's names
ID number

Now you are simply going to do a basic sort on the fields (other than ID) and then replace each of the data points (anything that is not a null or empty) with the number 1. Then you are going to simply add up the total of those values for each of the IDs. Once you have the totals for each (=sum(cell1, cell2, cell3, cell4) highlight the column with the formulas, right click on the sheet and paste special, values right over the column of formulas.

With that done, you now have a really simple ranking for your non donors based upon information that you know if more likely than not self reported and whom you can contact via phone, mail and email.

Those records with the highest score are the most likely to give while those with lower scores are less likely to give. Start your phone program efforts with the highs, work your way toward the lows and don't worry about the folks who didn't make the list until you have exhausted these records.

There are of course many far more complicated ways and approaches for data mining but this is a simple immediate and free approach that will provide real and measurable results tomorrow.