Higher education institutions are gearing up for a surge in fundraising efforts next year. Overall, colleges and universities across the country are planning to increase donations by 16% in their 2015 fiscal year, according to a recent survey of 355 higher education officers performed by Academic Impressions (via The Chronicle of Philanthropy).
A whopping one-third of the survey’s participants (nearly 100 respondents) reported failing to meet this year’s fundraising goals. However, the majority of these institutions have set their sights on a 10% giving increase next year to keep up with inflation and flat, or declining, revenue.
Additionally, 28% are planning an increase of more than 25%.
Strategy and Spending Problems
The survey suggests potential reasons for the failure of colleges and universities to meet their goals: an overemphasis on larger gifts from existing donors instead of finding new prospects and too little attention on advancement services or strategies. The report also illustrates that the vast majority of institutions continued to spend on donor engagement services, such as social media, even when they offered little return.
In addition to identifying problems related to low giving rates, the study highlights existing successful but underused tactics, and suggests new donor engagement methods including:
- Soliciting gifts to match new donations
- Engaging students in fundraising
- Crowdfunding and one-day giving challenges
Higher education institutions that have implemented Kimbia’s Giving Day/Crowdfunding solutions are leading the way. They have all achieved significant participation rates (from both new and previously lapsed donors) and raised new revenue. Here are just two examples:
- Columbia University raised a record-breaking $7.8M in their second annual giving day, including $3.7M in offline gifts inspired by the event. See the fact sheet here.
- Georgetown University’s second annual one-day City Challenge raised 95% more in online revenue, and, underscoring the importance of having a mobile-responsive website, 16% of all transactions (and 44% of revenue) came via mobile devices, including a $33K gift made on a tablet.
With modules built specifically to enable team, peer-to-peer, and volunteer fundraising, we help universities of all sizes leverage their networks of their supporters – alumni, current students, family and corporate partners – to amplify their reach and innovatively attract new donors.
Sixteen percent is ambitious, yes, but these and other Kimbia customers are proving that it’s more than possible.
Explore more resources in our higher education series: