Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pinning a "donation" catalog

Of the many "new" social media tools (are there really any "old" social media tools?) available today, pinterest has ample opportunities to monetize that are not yet undertaken.  As a social media tool, pinterest has some real strengths to apply to a fundraising background; a homogeneous audience (80%+ females between 20 and 40 years old), a direct link to facebook, the ability to post and provide extended captions for images, growing name recognition.

With that in mind, we are experimenting with creating a catalog of  giving opportunities to demonstrate in graphical form what their gift represents to the University.  We are setting this up with folders by school or college, and for each of the major giving areas.  Within each folder will be a set of images with a description and an estimated cost/value.  As donors give to focused areas, we will send them a link to the image of what their gift could provide and the associated description and ask that they link to it via facebook along with some suggested language indicating that they gave and asking friends to consider doing the same.

We will also use these images and the catalog of them as a link from the reply card - providing folks with the example connected to their own ask amount and urging them to take a look.  The text for each on the landing  page will include a prominent connection to the giving pages and urge them to give a to today's students by making a gift of .  

This is just one way to encourage and include social media in your appeals and efforts - takes some front end work but it is fun to play with and is the tip of the iceburg in breaking through giving to sustaining (as opposed to emergency) funds.  Building on the facebook connections and leveraging these through sharing and email are still existing opportunities to explore over the next year as we look to expand on our pinterest catalog of giving opportunities.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

buy in - all the way in

We all realize that each of our donor bases consists or a variety of constituents with different levels of interest (or in some cases active disinterest) in our organizations.  One of the audiences that we consistently tend to look through rather than at are our coworkers.  Employee campaigns and ideas have come and gone and come and gone.  The majority of higher education institutions will find that their employee donor files look much like their alumni files - the more recent the graduation or start date, the lower the chance of giving.

The flip side of that reality is that with career mobility at an all time high, we all have fewer and fewer "lifers" and more and more "new" employees.  Those that come from other institutions may know enough to give on their own (depending upon how good that institution was at teaching them to do so) but many will not be aware of that aspect.

The most difficult portion of this is that donors are better employees.  Period.  They are more engaged, involved and interested.  They have some personal stake in the effort and an understanding of how your organization functions.

It is a chicken and egg issue - they don't give because they are not engaged but are not engaged because they don't give.  Ramping up your communications with employees who do not give is crucial.  Get a good student who is attending because of the support of donors to speak to them and explain what difference they can make.  Even better create an opportunity for them to fund a scholarship and then have the student who gets that scholarship be responsible for thanking and soliciting other employees to give.  Most importantly, engage them.  Simply because they are on campus and insiders to what is going on does not mean they "know."  Most likely they don't know at all.  Getting them to pay attention is up to you.