Rank #1: AI Chatbots - The Designated Millennials Teach Gawor
How do you provide service to your donors or alumni at 3:00 AM in the morning? Or get them answers to their questions about giving, reunions, projects or even planned giving in real time? An AI chatbot may your answer. On this episode, our "designated millennials" Peter Christian and Quinn McGourty-Holland teach Brian Gawor how to make a chatbot work, including followup campaigns through Facebook Messenger integration.
If you want a demo of the chatbot, get in touch with us today at ContactUs@RuffaloNL.com
Rank #2: Fundraising Voices: Rob Henry at CASE
Rob Henry is one of the most passionate people I know about higher education. He cares a lot about making college available to more people and to more diverse people. He also knows that bringing new professionals into Advancement will help make that possible. As Vice President of Education for CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, he has a unique platform to help promote those goals. I’ve talked with Rob a lot about these topics when we see each other at CASE conferences every year, and I wanted to get him on the line to talk about the strategic goals of CASE, his feelings about diversity in our profession, and how we can welcome more young people as both advancement professionals and donors.
Rob offers some great insights into how we can create a pipeline of energetic new professionals in the field of advancement. The work that CASE is doing will be important – we need to really broaden our view of how we bring people into our profession in order to meet our diversity goals. Developing great ways to mentor and encourage young people who want to get involved in philanthropy, because as Rob reminds us, Millennials and young people will be dominant in our donor base in years to come.
RNL invests significantly in CASE because we know that sharing our experiences and successes is a key part of fundraising and donor engagement success. You can find us on the road at CASE events, conferences and even on CASE webinars. If you haven’t heard, the organization has opened up new resources and expanded their view of membership benefits this year. It’s a great time to head on over to CASE.org to check out what’s available. If you work at a higher education institution, you most likely already have membership through your Advancement division.
Rank #3: Fundraising Voices: New Digital and Millennial Donor Engagement Survey
Digital Engagement – it’s important for any fundraiser, especially those of us who want to engage younger donors. Whether it’s targeted digital advertising, social media, or great new methods like crowdfunding and online giving days, we have a great menu of options. But we hear from fundraisers that they haven’t always been able to really optimize their digital outreach. So we wanted to know more...
We are about to release part four of our series Advancement Leaders Speak, and this edition is the results of a survey and conversations with advancement professionals about how they are doing digital outreach, and how they feel they connecting to young alumni and young donors.
I got on the line with Caryn Stein, one of our top digital experts, to go through the results.
It’s great to hear that ¾ of fundraisers feel that digital communications are effective. But with only one fifth of fundraisers using these communications as part of a defined young alumni campaign, it’s not surprising that we’ve seen giving participation really lag with Millennials. As Caryn suggests, the solution is to get more personal, and harness the power of digital.
The right message to the right donor at the right time, that’s what we’re shooting for. And if we can get our multichannel game in gear, we can really transform fundraising.
We’d love to tell you about how we’re having success with RNL partners doing just that. If you’re ready to transform your digital donor outreach, give us a call. We’re ready to talk.
Rank #4: Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels, Veritus Group - Major Giving
Working with major donors to ignite their passion to give is the #1 to transform your organization. Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels know this, and talk in this episode about what's changing with major giving, and how to provide gift officers the tools to connect with the best major and planned giving donors.
Check out Veritus Group at veritusgroup.com
Rank #5: New Research - Giving Day Index
Giving Days – Campaigns that focus a groundswell of donations to a specific day, have really made a splash in the fundraising world. Using online portals that track donations as they come in, as well as offering challenges, match donations and real excitement for donors, giving days have been a game changer.
We’ve just published a new study on how giving days can transform your fundraising. The RNL Giving Day Index looks at over $32 million in giving to answer key questions about average donations, campaign totals and donor counts, as well as the impact of volunteer ambassadors. You can download the full study at RuffaloNL.com right now to see how your giving day stacks up.
I got on the line with my podcast pal Josh Robertson to unpack the results and talk about what they mean for your giving day success.
As Josh explains, giving days are one of the best opportunities to get donors excited and to build a sense of urgency around giving. Outside of calendar or fiscal year end, they’re really the only other option to answer the key question “why give now.” And giving days do this simply, with the answer – because everyone else is doing it.
In order to have a successful giving day, you need the right technology and a provider who knows how these complex campaigns work. With RNL Giving Days, powered by the ScaleFunder platform, we’ve integrated the best technology to make donors feel comfortable giving to YOUR institution, and make it easy. It’s important to integrate giving from all channels in your platform. We’ve also implemented key donor engagement tools like heat maps, challenges, matches, and leader boards to make it fun. Contact us today to see how RNL Giving Days can help take your special event to the next level.
Rank #6: Nonprofit Research Collaborative and Giving USA - Melissa Brown and Aggie Sweeney talk the Winter 2018 Nonprofit Fundraisign Study
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.
Find out more:
Rank #7: The Future of Higher Education Campaigns - New Survey
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.
Rank #8: Student Philanthropy: The 2018 CASE Engaging Students in Philanthropy Symposium Faculty
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.
Rank #9: Transforming Young Alumni Engagement - Peter and Quinn from RNL
One of the consistent things that I hear from institutions that I work with is that they're really interested in doing a better job engaging younger donors. We call them millennials. We're lucky enough at RNL to have two millennials of our own. Peter Christian and Quinn McGourty-Holland, who are just rock stars. They spend their days talking with RNL partners about new solutions and how best to surprise and delight what could be the most generous generation in history. We're going to watch something fun today, and it's the designated millennials podcast, as part of Fundraising Voices, here at RNL. For the first episode, I got on the line with Quinn and Peter to talk a little bit about how they think we could do a good job engaging their own generation, a group of alumni that is often giving at about one half the rate of the overall alumni population.
- Make giving easy, fun and social
- Use engaging technologies like crowdfunding, giving days and social media to change the game with young donors
- Authenticity is key, and let the donors become part of the conversation
- Millennial donor engagement is probably the best way to engage everyone!
Rank #10: Katrina VanHuss from Turnkey - The future of peer to peer
Katrina VanHuss at Turnkey is transforming peer to peer philanthropic engagement. In this conversation, we talk about the psychology of peer to peer donors, technology and strategy that can maximize peer engagement, and what we think is next for peer to peer fundraising.
Check out TurnKey at: https://www.turnkeyp2p.com/
Rank #11: Phonathon Index 2018 - Insights on higher education phone solicitation
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.
Rank #12: Crowdfunding Success with Mary Grace Baldo
Crowdfunding is a great way to capture new donors. This socially-connected and optimized online giving platform is now in use by over half of higher education institutions for fundraising in one form or another. We’ve released our 2018 Crowdfunding Index, which reviews over 5,000 charitable crowdfunding campaigns on the RNL ScaleFunder platform, with combined giving of $73 Million. I got on the line with RNL crowdfunding expert Mary Grace Baldo to review the data, and talk about key trends and what’s next for this great way to engage donors.
Crowdfunding now has wide adoption, and we’re seeing some great things as institutions further include crowdfunding into their overall giving strategy. The technology has come a long way, and can integrate directly into your current gift processing and stewardship plans. And when you look at the stats for first-year crowdfunding programs, the ROI can be really great.
You’re going to want a partner who understands how to implement the technology across all your channels, so your crowdfunding program becomes an integrated part of how you talk with donors for annual giving, special projects, and even major gift campaigns. We were the early adopters of charitable crowdfunding here at RNL, and we have years of experience to help you be successful. Give us call and get a demo of what RNL crowdfunding, powered by ScaleFunder, can do for you.
Rank #13: Missy Kennedy at UNCW - Annual giving agile strategy
Running your giving program strategically definitely means thinking out to start of the year, how you're going to approach donors, ask them for gifts and thank them, but it also means putting in place the infrastructure to deal with the unexpected. Missy Kennedy at UNC Wilmington is an expert at this. She's had a lot of success over the past few years engaging the entire campus community and dealing with unexpected needs and challenges that philanthropy could definitely have an impact on. I got Missy on the line to talk about her annual giving program and what she thinks is next for the agile, strategic annual giving program.
Check out UNCW at https://giving.uncw.edu/
Rank #14: Major and Planned Giving Productivity 2018 with Josh Robertson
Making sure that your major and planned giving fundraisers are productive is a key part of raising transformational gifts for your organization. In the second year of our major and planned giving productivity survey, we explore these issues, find out what major and gift officers think about predictive analytics, wealth ratings, and how they're able to qualify donors at scale. I got on the line with Josh Robertson to talk about the results of our second survey on major and planned giving productivity.
So, if you're trying to have success in your major and planned giving program, who you're talking to is only part of the issue. The systems you use to help your gift officers really connect, to listen, and to engage donors are crucial in reaching your aspirational fundraising goals. If you'd like to take your major and planned giving program to the next level, drop us a line here at RNL. We're ready to help.
Rank #15: Major and Planned Giving Donor Engagement - Greg Warner from MarketSmart
Looking into your database of supporters and searching for those people who are ready and able to make a major or planned gift is crucial to any organization's success. But how do you find the right people and ask them in the right way at the right time?
Well, Greg Warner at MarketSmart has some ideas. In fact, he's built a name for himself by directly challenging our assumptions and the generally dated tactics we use to engage donors. I got him on the line to talk a little bit about how we can find new ways to engage major and planned giving donors.
Check out MarketSmart at imarketsmart.com
Making sure that you're approaching the best, most ready and most able prospects for major and planned giving is absolutely crucial to meeting your fundraising goals. If you're doing the same old thing, your gift officers probably aren't having a high level of success. It might be time to look at things differently.
We agree with Greg that it's time to look at things differently. If you'd like to take your major and planned giving program to the next level, give us a call here at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. We've pioneered new technologies using your data and 21st century engagement tools to help you better engage the best major and planned giving prospects. We're ready to help.