Alumni Giving TrendsA recent study by Eduventures indicates that higher education institutions are being hit simultaneously with two connected shifts: a five-point drop in undergraduate alumni participation rates over the last decade (to less than 10%), and a change in both how and why millennial students and alumni give to their alma mater. The study found that Baby Boomers are most likely to be motivated by “obligation” (50%), while Millennial motivation is more evenly spread across impact categories, including: supporting other students (38%), enhancing national rankings (32%), and programs and initiatives in their department (29%).

Additional data suggests that unless new ways are found to inspire alumni giving, this trend will have negative long-term implications, asking whether it is likely that alumni who have not given regularly over the years will make a major gift later in life. Clearly, the current statistics and probable future impact point to the need for a shift in advancement strategies—but what is the best approach?

Eduventures recommends three strategies to address both challenges: focus on impact, strengthen major gifts, and move beyond participation (i.e. track giving and engagement).

Columbia University and Georgetown University are just two Kimbia customers that are leading the way in solving these challenges by adding online giving days to their advancement strategies. Both universities have hosted giving days two years in a row, and Columbia University will be running their third award-winning event on October 29, 2014. In addition to raising new revenue, they have achieved significant measurable increases in engagement from both new and previously lapsed donors, and inspired major donors by focusing on the impact of giving.

Georgetown University Success Stats

  • Received $529,000 in total and funded 21 scholarships in their 2013 Giving Day
  • Achieved participation rates ranging from 25.3% in Los Angeles to 36.3% in Chicago as a result of their 2014 City Challenge
  • Recruited 68% new donors in May 2013, the month their giving day was held
  • Raised 95% more in online revenue in their 2014 event, underscoring the importance of having a mobile-responsive website for millennials especially. 16% of all transactions (and 44% of revenue) came via mobile devices, including a $33K gift made on a tablet

Columbia University Success Stats

  • Invited alumni, students, parents, staff, faculty, and friends to donate to the school or program of their choice
  • Raised a record-breaking $7,827,636 in just 24 hours on October 23, 2013.
  • Received over $3.7 million from major donors in their 2013 campaign and $4.5 million in their 2012 campaign. They also received millions in the days after their events including matching gifts
  • Recruited new donors who represented 40% of total donations for the 2012 event

Many more universities of all sizes (e.g. Boston University, University of Notre Dame, Swathmore University, Trinity University, and Susquehanna University) are adopting these high-impact events. Their focus on the impact of gifts to better engage Millennials as well as major donors for now and the for the future is the key to their success. Contact us to learn more about giving days, including what model (e.g. school program, geographic competition, inter-institution competition) would work best for you.

Explore more resources in our higher education series:

Tags: // // // //

Leave a Reply