Every year, the Nonprofit Research Collaborative puts out two big surveys to track trends in giving. Organized around 15 different fundraising methods, it’s one of the most comprehensive surveys around. The Winter 2018 Nonprofit Fundraising study report is just out, and shows that most charities are doing better through the end of the calendar year. I got on the line with Melissa Brown from the Non Profit Research Collaborative and Aggie Sweeney from Giving USA to go over the results and talk about what they think is next for nonprofit fundraising.
The Nonprofit Research Collaborative and Giving USA are great resources to track trends in fundraising. Melissa and Aggie had great insights about how wealth demographics and donor engagement are changing our work. Head on over to npresearch.org to download the most recent research. And stay tuned in June for the always important Giving USA annual report.
Tracking trends is a key part of fundraising strategy. And we’re doing this every day at RNL. If you’d like to apply the latest trends to your fundraising strategy, drop us a line. We’re ready to help.
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Student philanthropy programs are an important part of the advancement efforts. We know from research that almost 90 percent of colleges and universities do some type of student philanthropy program, whether it’s a philanthropy day, a student phonathon, a student organization, or even involving students in thanking donors.
The Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium, offered by CASE as part of the Student Advancement conference coming up in just a few months, is a great place to find out about the best practices in starting and improving a student philanthropy program. I’m proud to be on the faculty once again this year. I got the great group of symposium faculty on the line to talk about what we’ll be covering this year, and what’s hot in student philanthropy work right now.
Engaging your student body in philanthropy is a key best practice to grow future givers and provide a great experience for all your donors. Join us at the symposium to find out about how to start or expand your program, interact with other passionate student philanthropy missionaries. You can find out more at case.org. We’ll see you there.
Over three quarters of higher education institutions use the phone in some way to reach out to donors each year. At the biggest programs, this amounts to a student caller phonathon, which contacts thousands of alumni, parents and friends.
These phonathons or telefunds can generate millions in support, not to mention great conversations which build the relationship with a donor.
We’ve just released the RNL Phonathon index, looking at 93 phonathon programs from 2014 to 2017, with over $300M in pledges.
We uncover some of the key trends and best practices in phonathon programs and make suggestions about how to take your phonathon to the next level. You can download the full index at RuffaloNL.com today. I got on the line with podcast pal Josh Robertson, a fellow phonathon veteran, to break down the results and talk about what’s next for this key donor contact channel.
Chances are, if you’re doing the same thing you’ve been doing with your phonathon for years, you’re probably not getting what you could out of the channel. This channel deserves the best you can offer in terms of strategy and technology. As the only truly scalable personal conversation channel in higher education fundraising, phonathons can have a lot of value. But only if you do them smartly, in a data-driven and focused manner. As Josh mentions, it depends on your goals, but you can craft a solid 21st century phone strategy, as these 93 institutions show.
So, if you want to take your phonathon to the next level, drop us a line here at RNL. We have a team of experts ready to help.
Strong use of data is the cornerstone of any great fundraising program. The best programs take this to the next level, moving from descriptive to predictive – actually guiding gift officers and annual giving appeals to the donors who seem the most ready. Making this transition can be daunting. So today, we’ll talk with one of the authors of a new book, Data Science for Fundraising, building data-driven solutions using R. Ashutosh Nandeshwar is a fundraising data veteran, and a thought leader in this important emerging field. The book is part introduction to new data techniques and an in depth hands on manual to get started. Whether you’re the geek who will be manipulating the data or just interested in how this new way of thinking can transform your fundraising, he’s a great source of insight.
You can find the book here:
In our recent surveys of over 3,000 fundraisers, fully three quarters told us that they don’t feel like they are using data in the best way possible. This extends to annual giving, major and planned giving, as we try to harness our massive databases to provide better, more personalized appeals.
As Ashutosh and I discussed, this isn’t just the best way to fundraise—it’s better for donors, and uses their time and attention efficiently and with the highest impact. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get into the data, Ashutosh and Roger’s book is a great tool.
Data-driven fundraising is a big focus here at RNL, and we’ve launched new products which do what we’ve discussed in this podcast –taking fundraising into the 21st century. If you’re ready to provide a more personal experience to donors and transform your fundraising, drop us a line. We’re ready to help.
How do we get more people interested in fundraising as a profession? It’s a key question we’re trying to answer, as we struggle to fill positions, engage donors, and take advantage of the tremendous interpersonal talents of a rising millennial generation. I came across a book that is quite different than anything we’re used to reading about fundraisers.
What happens when you go from rocker to fundraiser, and go all in on philanthropy? Mitch linker, author of No One Dreams of Being a Fundraiser: My Unexpected Journey from Music to Major Gifts can tell us. I got Mitch on the line to talk about his book, his journey, and how we can get more unlikely candidates interested in our profession.
Getting over the fear of asking by just doing it, finding coaches, and staying with an organization long enough to learn about the donors are all great steps on your path to becoming a better fundraiser. Mitch’s passion and insights for our profession are incredible, even if he came to the job in a bit of a non-traditional way.
Well, come to think of it, who does dream of being a fundraiser? Probably no one. But for those of us who stick with it, and as Mitch says, go all in, find out that our jobs are a dream. We get to work with great people, see transformational giving, and the impact of our work on the people our charities serve. So I say, dream on fundraisers, and if you see someone you think might be great, take them in and give them a shot. It’s time for us to look in different places for the next generation of fundraisers.
We have the winners of the 2018 March (Alumni Giving) Madness tournament!
This tournament is our fun way to determine the top alumni giving institutions for higher education fundraising. We took the institutions in this year's men's and women's NCAA Basketball Tournaments, analyzed their alumni giving statistics, and determined the two top institutions for alumni giving.
In this podcast, we break down the results, methodology and talk about how to amplify alumni giving for your institution.
You can read about the methodology we used and about the first two rounds of results in our first blog.
Men’s Bracket: University of Pennsylvania. Returning after last year's win in our women's bracket, Penn continues to have one of the highest alumni participation stats in the tournament. As we mentioned last year, donor growth and consistency in young alumni giving have been real strengths at Penn.
Women’s Bracket: University of Notre Dame. Another return winner, Notre Dame also took home a win in 2016 in the men's division of our tournament. Two years of consistent alumni donor growth and a LeBron-level performance for giving-per-living-alumnus made the Fighting Irish unstoppable.
All this year’s tournament participants are winners. As we approached the final bracket stages, we noticed some pretty incredible alumni giving and donor growth at the top institutions. All participants in this year’s tournaments should be congratulated. The generosity of their alumni is incredible, with more than $3.7 billion given by alumni to these institutions in 2017.
Check out all the results, with expanded commentary on the stats, in our March (Alumni Giving) Madness 2018 e-book. Download your copy here.
There is no denying that higher education campaigns have been transformative. These comprehensive efforts help us build buildings, fund scholarships and even boost current use support. And they are growing. It’s more and more common for us to see campaign totals exceeding 1 billion. Almost every institution is either in or thinking about a campaign.
So we wanted to know what fundraisers feel about the future of campaigns in higher education. We surveyed almost 600 fundraisers and got their opinions about what is working and they key challenges to campaign success. I got on the line with RNL expert Caryn Stein to break down the results of this latest edition in our Advancement Leaders Speak series.
We know from the survey that you are either in a campaign or working on starting one soon. A few things we learned from this survey: fundraisers do expect campaigns to increase their advancement budgets. But they are under big pressure for big totals, and unless we can think a bit differently, those resources may not be enough. It’s time to reinvent fundraising, and how you organize your campaign, using the best tools and data-driven technology, will make all the difference. That’s what we’re focused on here at RNL, so if you’re ready to take you campaign to the next level give us a call. We’re ready to help.
We’ve just released our seventh chapter in the RNL Advancement Leaders Speak series, where we ask you, the fundraisers about your challenges, successes and best practices. This release is focuses on annual giving multichannel strategy – or how we contact annual giving donors through all the various fundraising channels. The report revealed some interesting things about how annual giving is judged and evaluated by institutions, how fundraisers are timing appeals, and what we feel are the best ways to capture, retain and upgrade donors. You can download the full survey at ruffalonl.com. I got on the like with Shad Hanselman, RNL’s annual giving guru, to talk about the survey and what it means for fundraising strategy.
Looking at the results of this survey of 300 fundraisers, it does look like there are some opportunities to optimize our multi-channel outreach to donors. As Shad mentioned, making your appeals work together like a symphony will really help engage donors. This takes technology, and careful analysis of your results, two things that fundraisers wanted to be utilizing more.