|Bob's Latest Annual Giving Departures|
Thanks to the hard-working staff at DePaul University in Chicago for helping me to facililtate the annual FundList Direct Mail Exchange. More than 85 schools participated by sharing their best direct mail samples. Some of the best and brightest will be featured in my presentations this fall.
We're just on our way back from the CASE Europe conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we'll be making the rounds this fall with presentations at the Blackbaud's User Group in Charleston, the CASE 7 conference in San Francisco, the CASE 6 conference in St. Louis, and the CASE 8 conference in Vancouver, BC. Come on out and say hello.
We're very pleased to welcome several new clients, including Syracuse University, Northern Arizona University, Wabash College, and the London Business School.
Included this month is a mix of new media and old, some wisdom from FundList, and - love it or hate it - an update on the latest US News and World Report rankings.
It's a new school year - where did the summer go?
This month each year, US News and World Report releases its annual rankings of top colleges and universities in the U.S. Many campus leaders are openly critical of the magazine's ranking criteria, while many others send press releases and "good news" announcements to share the news of their favorable rankings.
Alumni giving plays a role in the process. A school's alumni giving percentage is weighed at 5% of the school's overall ranking. US News defines alumni giving as follows: "The average percent of undergraduate alumni of record who donated money to the college or university. Alumni of record are former full- or part- time students that received an undergraduate degree and for whom the college or university has a current address. Graduates who earned only a graduate degree are excluded. (Separate rankings are calculated for graduate schools.)
Undergraduate alumni donors are alumni with undergraduate degrees from an institution that made one or more gifts for either current operations or capital expenses during the specified academic year. The alumni giving rate is calculated by dividing the number of appropriate donors during a given academic year by the number of appropriate alumni of record for that year. These rates were averaged for the 2003 and 2004 academic years. The percent of alumni giving serves as a proxy for how satisfied students are with the school."
The top 3 schools by alumni giving rate, for a variety of school classifications, are as follows: (Incudes schools ranked among the top 100 overall in their classification group.)
National Universities - Private Schools:
National Universities - Public Schools:
Liberal Arts Colleges:
Master's Universities - North:
Master's Universities - South:
Master's Universities - Midwest:
Master's Universities - West:
Target Analysis Group has released its Index of University Fundraising Performance, summarizing observations from their FY04 analysis of more than 77 university alumni giving results representing more than one million donors and $470 million in gifts received.
Overall revenue increased by a median of 8% in 2004, resulting from a modest increase in donor counts combined with increased revenue per donor. Many institutions indicated that this was the first year during the last five year period that they experienced significant growth in revenue. Most attributed this to the recent change in the economic climate, while others felt it was in part due to refinements and enhancements to their program. High-end annual giving clubs and larger amount requests via telemarketing were cited as initiatives that significantly increased revenues.
Donor retention rates were essentially flat over the past two years with an overall median retention rate of 68% in 2004, based on rates of 71% for private universities and 63% for public universities.
Donor reactivation rates were also flat, with private universities showing a negligible median percent increase and public universities showing a slight decrease. The increase at private universities was a significant recovery from 2002 to 2003, where reactivation rates fell nearly 6%.
The Index of University Fundraising Performance findings for 2004 showed that overall revenue increased and that, for many institutions, this was the first year in the past five where significant growth occurred. Median revenue per donor also increased, an indicator that schools are becoming more aggressive in their ask strategies. While donor counts increased as well, the rate of growth was slower than that of revenue.
A favorite from the Direct Mail Exchange comes from Univeristy of British Columbia. While sifting through piles of appeal letters, it was exciting to see a good example of gift stewardship.
UBC's not shy about giving their donors an accounting of the value of their gifts. The university's 2002 Report of Giving has "What Difference Did It Make?" as its cover title, and includes a full list of ways that a donor can visit and see first-hand the benefits of their gift to the university.
Included in the lists of eleven opportunities: Take a guided tour of the campus; Visit the campus art gallery; Enjoy a swim in the campus aquatic centre; Cheer your favorite Thunderbird sports team; And wander through the UBC Botanical Garden.
Located farther away? That's no excuse -- donors are invited to sign up for the university's on-line community. When you consider that most (if not all) of the activities occur on campus anyway, the gesture is a cost-effective way for donors to feel welcomed and appreciated on campus.
We've seen lots of engraved bricks used as incentives in annual giving appeals, but here's a parental twist on that old strategy, compliments of Roger Williams University.
For parents hopeful that their children will spend enough time studying in the campus library, a chair engraved in their child's honor helps to provide a not-so-subtle reminder. The "Have A Seat" appeal is part of the RWU Parent Fund, inviting parents to become part of "this important chapter" in RWU history.
In appreciation for your gift to the RWU Parent Fund, an engraved plate with your child's name and your name will be put on a library chair. We're not sure if the engraved plate keeps the chair reserved for your student, but we suppose it's the thought that counts.
It's easy to understand why the schools directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina may struggle to conduct their annual giving appeals this fall. But what about the rest of us? Fundlists readers weigh in on the annual fund implications posed by Katrina:
"(Texas A&M) began running an inbound call center Thursday of last week in order to assist Aggies in connecting with other Aggies - for housing and other forms of help. Our Web Team created an online forum where former students can post their needs or ways that they can help. Some of our student callers volunteered in the Hurricane Katrina call center and I think it helped them to understand even better why we raise money for Texas A&M. They are seeing the Aggie Network at work right before their eyes." -- Gwen Lucas, Texas A&M University
"We've had many refugees take up temporary residence here in Pensacola, FL. Our area is also doing a lot of fundraising for them and those in others areas of the country. We plan to continue our fundraising efforts as normal, which includes a fall kick-off letter and calling in the fall to areas not directly affected by Katrina." --Sara Groh, University of West Florida
"Mills College has set up a specific designation that donors can give to. Because we took in 4 students displaced by the hurricane, we have set up a fund that will directly help those students." -- Danielle Brown, Mills College
"We are also pulling all of our alumni in those areas from our fall phone and mail solicitations. We also thought of sending them a letter or e-mail from our president, however, we don?t know if they would receive it due to the destruction and loss of communication systems. We did run the list for our president so she at least knows who we have in those areas." -- Marcell Mallette, St. Bonaventure University
FYI - the usps has put up a listing of directly affected zips at http://www.usps.com/communications/news/serviceupdates.htm?from=bannercommunications&page=katrina
"We at University of Louisville are not calling or mailing to anyone in the three states directly affected... we (will continue) calling and mailing to our contacts in other states. Our students and programs continue to need support as well." -- Peggy Grimes, University of Louisville
Lehigh University seniors have agreed on a new twist to the university's traditional senior class gift campaign. Class Gift Chair Elissa Cerruto, ?06 requested that each senior give $20.06 in honor of their graduation year to any cause that is meaningful to them on Lehigh?s campus.
?Give to something that has made your experience at Lehigh the best,? Cerruto said. Cerruto said the financial aid office helped make her Lehigh experience as enjoyable as it was. She would like to give back and make a contribution to that department, she said.
Cerruto said the financial aid office helped make her Lehigh experience as enjoyable as it was. She would like to give back and make a contribution to that department, she said.
Money can be pledged online at the class gift Web site. There will also be computers set up at various events throughout the year for seniors to pledge their donations.
The gift idea was decided by the class gift committee, the class officers and the administration. According to Cerruto, these committees did extensive research over the summer and found that the idea was extremely successful at various other schools. Brooke Schiavone, 2006 class gift advisor, said that this gift will be more well-liked by the class then in past years because the money is not going toward one specific cause, but instead toward a cause that is of meaning to that individual. This may also give incentive to more students to give money, she said.
Should the senior gift program work to encourage unrestricted gifts, or any philanthropic gifts? It seems like there's virtue to both. Remember, you create your own culture...
A large number of current and former students were present at the annual Annual Durban Institute of Technology (DIT) Alumni Sports Day held at Steve Biko Campus. The event, which was organised by the second year sports management students, the Student Recreation Committee and the Convocation Department, was over two days and comprised of five different items of sports played at the Sports Centre.
The overall winners in each category walked away with medals, Aquelle mineral water bottles and t- shirts. The second and third runner-ups received medals of participation. The HOD of the Department of Sports Management, Bobby Maharaj said, ?The days were eventful and spectacular with all the teams showing brilliant play on and off the field. I am very proud of my students as they showed great responsibility with the help of certain stakeholders.?
The next generation of arts donors isn't making million-dollar gifts -- at least not yet. But museum fund-raisers know young donors offer something Boston's best-known philanthropists can't always provide -- potential for the future. With cultural leaders looking to raise about $1 billion by 2012, they're going to need to find new money. And, fund- raisers say, that starts with small contributions now.
At the MFA, $500 turns a casual art lover into a member of the museum family. This sum (a regular membership ranges from $70 to $95) guarantees a place on the Museum Council, a group for supporters 45 and under that has grown since 1998 from 320 to almost 500 members. They are invited to travel to art fairs with museum buyers and are given private exhibition tours with curators.
''They feel like they're insiders, and they feel like they're in a community of likeminded people they want to associate with," says Timothy Seiler, director of the Fund Raising School at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
According to Indiana University's Center of Philanthropy, recent figures show that while 12 percent of the pre-World War II generation and 9 percent of baby boomers give to arts and cultural groups, just 4 percent of generation Xers (defined by the center as those born from 1965 to 1978) give. Knowing this, museum fund-raisers care more about getting some gift, any gift, than squeezing a young donor for everything he or she can afford. If they can do this, the thinking goes, getting larger gifts is just a matter of time.