Alumni DonorsEduventures, a leading research and advisory firm focused exclusively on analyzing the forces transforming higher education, recently released their six predictions for 2015. While we agree with all six predictions, as they’re clearly based on both hard data and empirical trends from the past several years, number five stood out based on higher education fundraising statistics from Kimbia customers—reliance on non-alumni philanthropic support will grow, and institutional leaders will become more reliant on community members and friends outside of the alumni base than ever before. This prediction is based on the fact that the percentage of major gifts ($1 million or more) from alumni, versus non-alumni, has decreased from 70% in 2007/2008 to 60% in 2012/2013.

A main source of major donor prospects are relationships grown over time: new donors are stewarded to become recurring donors and/or to upgrade their giving, relationships are established, and eventually, a select few are engaged to give larger future donations. As the percentage of major gifts from alumni decreases, finding new donors outside of the alumni base becomes a strategic necessity.

Leading institutions such as Boston University, Columbia University, Purdue University and University of California, Berkeley, have already taken action to address this trend and achieve philanthropic sustainability. They have successfully implemented online Giving Days that have engaged the community and beyond to raise as much as $11.1 million in a single day, attract donations from as many as 50 states and 53 countries, inspire offline donors to give up to $4.5 million in a single event and attract up to 60% new donors.

One of the keys to their success is Kimbia’s patented technology that enables corporate and media partners and sponsors; schools and departments; and alumni and friends of the university to easily copy and paste the institution’s donation form and real-time progress directly on their own websites. This capability eliminates the additional steps/redirects that lead to high donation form abandonment rates, and removes the barrier inherent to partnership marketing—the fear that redirecting a donor to your site will drive valuable customers away from their own site. It also enables visitors to donate at the place and moment of inspiration. As a result, institutions can more easily:

  • Recruit corporate sponsors whose businesses benefit from campus proximity—g. Pizza Hut and Staples—or benefit from access to reliable interns
  • Engage local media to generate additional buzz and excitement throughout the community, including live events and social media campaigns
  • Enlist and train online Giving Day Ambassadors to rally their classmates through peer-to-peer fundraising

For institutions considering launching a giving day as part of their advancement plan, Kimbia has consolidated lessons learned from over 50 Giving Day events into the eBook 21 Proven Practices for a Successful Higher Education Giving Day. This practical guide covers all phases of a giving day, from planning, to selecting the best tools, to event day management and post giving day must-do’s.

We have helped universities of all sizes engage and leverage their network of supporters—alumni, current students, family, community, media, and corporate partners—to amplify their reach and innovatively attract new donors. To learn more, contact us today!

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