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How to Engage Alumni Effectively | 4 Key Best Practices

If there’s one golden rule of university fundraising, it’s that the key to effectively engaging alumni supporters is making meaningful connections with them year after year. No matter how long it’s been since graduation, your school always wants to remain a part of your alumni’s lives (and be first on their list when making a charitable gift). What’s one way to forge a long-lasting relationship with members of your alumni community? Prospect research is the practice of collecting and analyzing alumni data to better know your community of prospective donors. =&0=& If your school can learn more about trends in your alumni community, there’s nothing stopping your team from translating that information into a more effective alumni engagement strategy! Discover some of our favorite prospect research best practices that your school should start using:
  1. Maintain meaningful prospect profiles for your alumni.
  2. Clean your alumni prospect profiles regularly.
  3. Leverage your alumni engagement survey to improve prospect research.
  4. Use alumni prospect research to plan more impactful fundraising events.
Are you ready to revamp how your college connects with key alumni prospects? Let’s dive into these data-driven engagement strategies to get started!

1. Maintain meaningful prospect profiles for your alumni.

When an organization conducts prospect research, they gather all kinds of data in order to better understand their constituency. Whether you’re leveraging it to the fullest or not, it’s likely that your school already keeps alumni data in a CRM. =&1=& There are three core kinds of prospect data your university should collect for each of your alumni: =&2=&

By donorsearch

Top 10 Salesforce Apps and Integrations for Universities

  For many universities, Salesforce is the go-to CRM for managing student, alumni, and donor data. While Salesforce has plenty of standard constituent relationship management features to keep your university running smoothly, chances are, you’ll need to expand your CRM’s core functionality to truly encompass all of your operational, fundraising, and stewardship needs. That’s where the right apps and integrations come into play!  Not sure where to start when searching through the extensive Saleforce AppExchange? Never fear! In this post, we’ll run through our all-time favorite Salesforce solutions that can push your university to new levels.   Let’s take a look at each software in more detail to see how these platforms can boost your university fundraising potential, as well as other vital aspects of your institution.  

1. DonorSearch: Top Salesforce Integration for University Prospect Research

Salesforce Integration Overview

Prospect research is key to strategic university fundraising. Through prospect research, your development offices can identify vital information about your alumni and use that data to power more effective outreach and engagement tactics. With DonorSearch, you can conduct thorough prospect research and wealth screening to discover valuable insight into your alumni base. Using DonorSearch’s suite of tools, you’ll be able to identify:
  • Alumni’s giving history to your university as well as other philanthropic causes.
  • Alumni’s past political contributions.
  • Alumni’s real estate ownership.
  • Alumni’s business affiliations (as well as their spouses’).
With DonorSearch’s Salesforce integration, all of the information you glean from prospect research will flow into your Salesforce CRM for easy access. That means you’ll spend less time manually inputting data and more time actually using that data to inform your fundraising strategies—read on to learn how!

How to Use This Salesforce Integration at Your University

You can use your prospect data to segment your alumni into groups based on any number of metrics. Then, outline a communications and engagement plan that matches each segment. For example, alumni who have demonstrated major donor potential should receive donation solicitation letters that reflect their likelihood to give big. You’ll want to follow up with these alumni intentionally and personally, so consider giving them a call on the phone rather than sending weekly emails. A low- or mid-level donor, on the other hand, might be better off receiving more frequent solicitation letters that don’t ask for such a sizable contribution, but instead promote how easy it is to give on your online donation form. You might also prioritize sending them invitations to volunteer or attend fundraising events with moderate ticket prices.

2. Fonteva Events: Top Salesforce App for University Event Management

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By donorsearch

Fundraising Strategy: The Gift Range Chart [With Templates!]

The success of your fundraising campaign relies on whether or not your nonprofit has put in the time to develop a comprehensive, data-driven fundraising strategy. With the right fundraising plan in place, the more likely you’ll be able to extend the right asks to reach likely donors and achieve your fundraising goals. The secret to an excellent fundraising strategy? Consider making the most of a gift range chart. Commonly used during the feasibility study phase of capital campaigns, gift range charts are useful tools for fundraising campaigns of any size. With this simple tool, you’ll learn exactly what it will take to successfully reach your fundraising goals.  Even better? Your gift range chart can show your nonprofit where you need to improve in your fundraising strategy, whether or not your fundraising goal is too ambitious, and where to focus your fundraising strategy. Before your campaign begins, you’ll be able determine the optimal size of your asks, the breakdown of your ideal prospects, and which donors you should be engaging. In this post, we’ll help you get the most out of your gift range chart by discussing:
  1. Why you should use a gift range chart.
  2. How to structure your gift range chart.
  3. DonorSearch’s gift range chart template.
Are you ready to learn how to use gift range charts to bring your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy to the next level? Let’s get started!

1. Why you should use a gift range chart.

Without question, gift range charts should be a part of your fundraising strategy arsenal (if they aren’t already). Despite their deceptively simple design, gift range charts can tell you a lot about your fundraising strategy, especially if your nonprofit is looking to embark on a capital campaign. (Looking to sharpen your fundraising strategy? Consider working with a fundraising consulting firm to revamp the way your nonprofit raises money for your cause.) Specifically, gift range charts can let your nonprofit know: =&0=& =&1=&