Revenue, Retention and Reactivation: Findings from the 2011 Index of Higher Education Fundraising Report

Yesterday, Blackbaud released their 2011 Higher Education Fundraising Performance Report that gleaned some pretty positive trends in the Higher Education space.

Overall, like other fundraising areas, Higher Education fundraising is bouncing back to pre-recession levels.

We are seeing that programs and alumni giving have both grown from 2010 and that loyal donors are continuing to give, and giving more. One key area that we need to keep an eye on however, is how we reengage our inactive donors and encourage them to participate in alumni programs and begin giving again.

In the report, it notes that despite the economic upturn, alumni that have left the donor pool are slow, if not stagnant in returning.

How do we combat this?

Well, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you are doing everything you can to entice back the “once loyal.”

1. Ensure that you have up-to-date data on each of your alumni

Think about how many times you have moved since you graduated?

For me, I can say that my address has changes 8 times. How do you, as a college or university, keep up with me? Also, how many of your alumni have gotten married, changed names, changed jobs, had children … The list can go on and on. The key here is to ensure that you are on top of your donors.

Be active in their lives. Know what is going on, and how to reach them.

Or just stalk them on Facebook 🙂

2. Give them a reason to seek you out

What does your website say about your school?

Do you have special alumni access and pages? Do you offer an interactive way for your past alumni to interact? Do you have an up-to-date events calendar that will allow people to see what programs you are offering? And finally, is you site visually enticing?

In short – is your website locked in as one of your alumni’s “favorite” sites?”

It should be.

3. Make it easy for them to give

Students and alumni, particularly Gen Y, are not interested in “snail mailing” you a check.

Most don’t even check their mailboxes or own a book of stamps (myself included).

Therefore, what other ways are you giving them to donate? Can they donate on your website? Can they do mobile giving? Can they use social media to entice their peers to give? Allowing people multiple options on how they donate is the key to enticing new donors.

Make it easy for them. Don’t make them have to step out of their comfort zone to support your school.

Instead, make the jump into their zone.