Over 30 years ago, Al Ruffalo wanted to help colleges and universities, and he gave it a try. What came of his efforts, and the efforts of the people who were part of those initial experiments, was the modern college and university phone outreach program, which has raised billions of dollars.
It's also been a lifeline of real, honest to goodness conversations between students and alumni for the past three decades. This work is obviously changing, and the company that Al and company built has changed, now encompassing a whole suite of tech-enabled data driven programs that serve both fundraising and enrollment goals.
But the mission to make a personal connection and to make every college and university part of the family hasn't changed as the company transformed into the modern Ruffalo Noel Levitz. I got my friend Al on the line to talk about his journey and what he thinks is next for higher education donor and student engagement.
What would you do if you were lucky enough to come into a bit of money? Buy an expensive car? A big house? Or would you do something more people are considering -- start a family foundation and try to make a difference in the world? Well, that's what Suzanne Skees and the Skees Family Foundation have done. But they're doing it differently. With over 40 family members involved (some younger than 8 years old) and unrestricted grants to charities across the globe, they have something different and special. Suzanne's just released My Job #2, a book that spotlights the stories of people whose lives are changing all over the world, and I got her on the line to talk about the Foundation, how the family works together, and the power of storytelling.
You can get your copy of My Job (both editions) at: myjobstories.org.
And find out more about the Skees Family Foundation, including their blog at: skees.org
Recurring giving is a big topic these days, particularly among our higher education partners. Everyone's watching the massive increase in subscription services, and particularly how young alumni or donors use them. Also, we're just really excited about the idea of people buying into consistent, regular giving. But most of us haven't really figured out how to give for monthly gifts real well, how to thank recurring donors, or even in some cases how to receive the gifts correctly.
It's a tremendous opportunity to build a base of committed, regular donors who have bought into your cause. So when NextAfter, the great fundraising research outfit, published their recent recurrent giving study where they actually made gifts to a couple hundred charities and saw how recurrent giving was marketed, we gobbled it up. The same day it came out, I called Brady Josephson and got him on the line to talk about how to optimize the donor experience, to tell us what they heard in the study, and how he thinks in his words we can unlock the most generous generation in history. Here's our chat.
Check out the full report at:
And Brady's NextAfter podcast at:
Having a good relationship between your marketing department, and your advancement division is absolutely crucial. Michael Stoner, co-founder, and president of mStoner Incorporated knows this, and he's completed some research recently showing how this relationship can really propel the results of an advancement division’s ability to engage donors. I got on the line with Michael to talk a little bit about his history in higher education marketing and what he sees next for the integration of communications to donors.
Find out more about mStoner at: https://www.mstoner.com/
For a long time now, annual giving programs have utilized matching gift programs from corporate sponsors as a great way to increase their fundraising totals. You can, generally speaking, increase your results by about 10% just by engaging corporate partners who have matching gift programs available to your alumni and other supporters. I got on the phone with Teddy Callow at HEPData, one of the premier providers of matching gift data and resources to talk about how you can best engage donors in corporations so that you're the one who gets chosen for this important philanthropic opportunity.
Find out more great info from HEPData at: HEPData.com
And Contact Us at RNL for HEP-integrated services like those that support you phonathon and student philanthropy centers through CAMPUSCALL integration.
Alumni participation: It's a key statistic that we all know is very important. It helps drive rankings and it's also evidence to suggest that we're really getting through to donors.
Participation something that we all think about, but we're not really great in talking about. That's because it's been declining over the last 30 years at American higher education. Overall, generally speaking, alumni are just less likely to give to their alma maters.
Dan Frezza at William & Mary is looking at things a little differently. He's accepted a challenge to grow alumni participation over the next few years and break this trend. I got on the line with Dan to talk about alumni participation, what the strategy at William & Mary involves and how he's going to change things and how they plan to engage more alumni to give every year.