|Bob's Latest Annual Giving Departures|
It's already the one-year anniversary of Robert Burdenski Annual Giving! Thanks for your interest, your support and your ongoing love of the old annual fund. Without the creative things you do, there would be nothing to talk about!
We're just concluding a busy summer of conferences, speaking engagements and client projects, and there's more to come this fall. We're packing our bags for the CASE Europe conference in London in September, the Blackbaud (Raiser's Edge) Users Group Conference in October, and a new CASE Online Speakers Series program (featuring, appropriately, online annual giving) in November.
As institutions pass the mid-year annual giving fundraising mark, I see many that are enjoying a bounce-back after a couple of years of economy- driven declines. For some, that means more dollars coming from fewer donors. Others are still enjoying participation growth, with some colleges even finding success in increasing their young alumni participation rates.
We've included some news items and some annual giving samples related to the Internet this month. If you're getting frustrated with bad phone numbers, call blocking, and young alumni who don't have home phones (and maybe never will), start thinking now about the online annual fund of tomorrow.
See you online and on the road. Enjoy the rest of the summer!
The University of Hertfordshire, near London, will be the site of the CASE Europe Annual Conference, and the site of an international "Innovations in Annual Giving" roundtable on Wednesday, September 8, 2004.
Bob Burdenski will be facilitating the discussion, which is expected to include all annual giving professionals in attendance at the CASE Europe annual conference.
Bob's talk will feature examples from the first Innovations in Annual Giving book, and will invite comment on issues and trends impacting annual giving programs outside the U.S. Bob is in the final stages of his next book, More Innovations in Annual Giving, which will feature annual giving program case histories from ten schools outside the U.S.
Fund-raising leaders at the College of William and Mary's School of Education were in the middle of a brainstorming session -- thinking of ways to increase their reach to potential donors -- when Elizabeth W. Delk ('71) thought of two special educators from her past.
One person was her seventh-grade English teacher, Mrs. Ferneyhough, whose infectious love of poetry was transferred to Delk and many other students over the years. Delk also thought of one of her former professors at William and Mary, John Lavach, who continued to serve as an important advisor in the years following her graduation.
Wouldn't it be great, Delk thought, if people could honor past educators who impacted their lives - and at the same time raise needed money for the School of Education. "They are two educators who stood out for me," Delk said. "Everybody else started thinking about educators in their lives. We all have someone we would like to thank."
Out of that meeting last year of the William and Mary School of Education Development Board, "Honor an Educator" was born. The program allows people to donate money to the school, and also say thank you to educators who positively impacted their lives.
With four different levels of giving - ranging from $100 to $4,999 - the concept of honoring educators has become a popular fund-raising tool for the school. Dean Virginia McLaughlin sent a letter last fall introducing the program to friends and alumni. Since then, 123 people have joined the program, donating more than $12,000. The gifts go toward the school's Fund for Excellence, which includes unrestricted gifts that help pay for anything from student scholarships to faculty research.
Over half of online US households are using broadband to access the internet, according to new research.
A study conducted by Nielsen//NetRatings found that the number of US domestic broadband connections crossed the 50 per cent mark during July 2004. The research found that 51 per cent of US households now have broadband, as compared to only 38 per cent in July 2003.
"Despite a plateau in the growth of US internet access, we've seen continued high double-digit growth in users' broadband access," said Marc Ryan, senior director and analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, in a statement. "We expect to see this aggressive growth rate continue through next year, when the majority of internet users will be accessing the internet via a broadband connection."
The 18 to 20 age group possessed the highest proportion of broadband surfers, at 59 per cent, followed by children at 58 per cent, 25 to 34 year olds at 55 per cent, and teens and 21 to 24-year- olds both at 53 per cent.
In May, Steve Cowen received a master's degree in public administration from the University of Missouri- Columbia. On Wednesday evening in a dimly lit bar on the south side of Columbia, he enjoyed some fruits of that education. Cowen attended his first event as a member of the MU Alumni Association - a mixer at the new Martini Bar. MU Alumni Association chapters hold dozens of gatherings every year, but this was designed for recent graduates like Cowen.
Alumni associations at universities across the country are making similar efforts to attract younger members, said Loren Taylor, the alumni association president at the University of Illinois and president of the Council of Alumni Association Executives.
Many alumni associations experienced 10 years of little or no membership growth, Taylor said, and are launching a youth movement as a way of bolstering their ranks. Besides staging specially designed social events, some alumni associations seek to appeal to younger members by producing more up-to-date alumni magazines and communicating with members often through e-mail and other newer technologies.
Video appeals, email solicitations, online lists of donors, and annual giving Web pages. They're all here, and you'd better be aware of what they are and how they're revolutionizing annual giving programs. Building a Web site and being online doesn't necessarily persuade alumni to give.You need a thoughtful marketing plan that uses a variety of techniques, both online and off.
Joining Bob Burdenski will be a trophy, tech- savvy panel that will review the best and the brightest online ideas for annual giving and talk about the supporting structures necessary to online annual fund success: Shawn Dailey, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs, Kenyon College; Barbara Daines, Associate Director of Alumni Online Services, Stanford Business School Alumni Association; and Lorna Lodholz Director, The North Carolina State University Annual Fund.
The online conference will happen on Thursday, November 18th from 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Make plans now to join us!
When I feature samples of flash email appeals in speeches, this Johns Hopkins appeal always generates the most "oohs and aahs." Great picture images and even a few orchestral strings help to teach Johns Hopkins University prospects that at Hopkins, it is about rocket science, and about all the other great things that go on at JHU.
Bob's article on alumni relations is the cover story of this month's Fundraising Well, a monthly newsletter published by Blackbaud.
In it, Bob identifies a number of elements that can be tracked in order to evaluate alumni program performance, including: Alumni Association membership status, giving history, giving interests (designations), volunteer involvements, event attendance, reunion attendance, email address and email newsletter readership habits, class notes submitted, phonathon call information and others.
It's a problem worth solving. Too many alumni directors measure their success in terms of doing more, when working smarter may actually result in connecting with more. As our databases become capable of storing more types of data - and more versatile in communicating with each other - new opportunities are emerging for a clearer understanding of what our alumni are involved with, and how they prefer to fit us into their lives.
Make plans to visit us on your next trip to the Windy City. Robert Burdenski Annual Giving 649 West Deming Place Chicago, IL 60614