|Bob Burdenski's Latest Annual Giving Departures|
It was an honor to present the annual giving session at the CASE Asia/Pacific Conference in Singapore this past March. It was one of the very first CASE get-togethers in the region and the conference's success has led to the establishment of CASE's first Asia office.
Look for us on the agenda this Fall and Winter at the CASE 8 conference in Boise, ID, the CASE NAIS independent schools conference in Philadelphia, and the CASE Europe Development Institute in Durham, England.
We've launched a new Web-based annual giving roundtable series. If you can't get out of the office to attend a conference in person, we'll bring the conference to you! More information about all of the upcoming topics and dates is featured below.
We're also very pleased to welcome several new or returning clients, including the National University of Singapore, the University of Illinois Foundation, Union College, the Columbia Business School and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.
Included this month is a mix of new media and old, some wisdom from FundList. Best wishes for success in the new fundraising fiscal year.
When Knox College in western Illinois got rid of its nickname 13 years ago, the school heard from plenty of angry alumni vowing never to donate to the school again.
But in the years since, the school said, donations have increased steadily, and even some of the angriest alumni have come back to strongly support the school.
"For most people, it's a thing of the past," Knox president Roger Taylor said. University of Illinois sources have told the Chicago Sun-Times that this is likely to be Chief Illiniwek's last year dancing officially at school sporting events. At the same time, the school is planning to launch a major fund-raising campaign with a goal in excess of $1 billion. While it is unknown whether alumni will close their wallets if the school drops Chief Illiniwek as its symbol, the experience at Knox is similar to what other area schools have seen after changing nicknames or mascots.
In general, school officials and fund-raising experts said, while there might be a short-term dip, initial anger subsides. Over the long haul, in most cases, alumni reflect upon their overall experience at the school as a motivation to continue to give money. "It will bounce back," said Rae Goldsmith, spokeswoman for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in Washington, D.C. "Generally when you see cases where people withhold giving, it's usually a temporary statement."
Officials at Ripon College in central Wisconsin and Bradley University in Peoria also said they have seen no noticeable long-term repercussions -- at least financially -- from dropping their nicknames or mascots. "It really had no impact," said Larry Malchow, director of development at Ripon, which changed its nickname to the Red Hawks in 1994 after 60 years as the Redmen.
For the past three years, Bob Burdenski has co-hosted the FundList Direct Mail Exchange, an annual sharing of mail samples between schools and other not-for-profit institutions. Each year, he's up to his armpits in samples, packing the boxes that provide annual giving staffs with a treasure trove of creative direct mail ideas. In July, 2006, a record 130 institutions participated in the 8th-Annual Direct Mail Exchange.
Join Bob on Monday, October 9th for a rundown of his favorite samples from this year's FundList direct mail deluge. Along with lots of samples, we'll have lots of discussion about the best approaches to organizing your direct mail calendar, production and process.
If you can't join Bob, or you'd like a sneak preview of some of his favorites, you can watch a 10-minute narrated slideshow with 5 of Bob's favorite samples.
Other upcoming programs include: High-Speed Annual Giving: Online Strategies For Success (November 13th) Writing For The Annual Fund (January 8th) and Leadership Annual Gift Solicitation (February 12th).
In general, there are more proposed faculty and staff annual giving appeals each year than there are actual faculty and staff annual giving appeals. This is often due to some campus frustrations-of-the-moment: Raises were too small (or non-existent), benefits got cut, the president made a decision we didn't like -- or wait a few minutes and there will be a new issue that has everyone up-in-arms.
We see too many faculty and staff appeals positioned as heirarchical appeals, with "commanding-sounding" messages from the president or vice president. You're handing your faculty and staff a gift-wrapped opportunity to express any campus frustrations they may have with the leadership of the institution.
In our opinion, faculty and staff giving should be an endorsement of the institution's good work, rather than an implied directive from the head of the institution.
We particularly love this letter from Whitworth College, written by the campus delivery man, that underscores the point that faculty and staff give because of their love for the institution, and often in spite of the day-to-day things that can frustrate everyone.
Join FundList & FundSvcs listserv moderators Bob Burdenski & John Taylor, and a top-notch faculty and agenda for the third-annual Burdenski & Taylor Advancement Academy at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., July 24-26, 2007. The conference will once again have track sessions for advancement services, management, phonathons and annual giving. The all- you-can-eat annual giving buffet will include the following:
...A second-annual LIVE web cam interview with annual giving directors from Egypt, the U.K., France and Australia. What lessons can U.S. and Canadian programs learn from their counterparts overseas?
...An annual giving "copy and steal showcase" of Bob Burdenski's favorite collected annual giving fundraising samples for the year, including his favorites from FundList.
...An entire track devoted to phonathons!
...An overview of the latest new initiatives in online fundraising, including email, flash, Web content and cross-media marketing. How are these new technologies continuing to integrate themselves into advancement?
...A special session on the development of leadership annual giving programs, including prospect identification, personal solicitation strategies, tracking systems and reports, materials and stewardship.
...A book-signing toast to celebrate Bob's new CASE book, More Innovations in Annual Giving: Ten New Departures That Worked.
...Bob and John?s wildly popular annual "Pardon The Interruption"-style wrap-up discussion about the most important current trends and developments in annual giving and advancement services.
When she gets home from school, 14-year-old Jennica Paho of San Jose switches on the computer and goes to MySpace.com. ``It's very exciting to get new pictures, comments and new friend requests'' on the social networking site, she said. What she doesn't do is check or send e-mail.
For those of you who have just figured out how to zap spam or manage your inbox, prepare for the bad news: E-mail is, like, so yesterday. New statistics show that, for the first time, teen e-mail use is dropping -- apparently in favor of more ``instant'' alternatives.
`It's too complicated to send e-mail,'' Jennica said. ``I have to go in and type it, and send it, then wait for a reply.'' Ah. No wonder adults like Cindy Nelson of Palo Alto are frustrated. Nelson organizes a high school dance team, whose members all have e-mail. But ``it really doesn't work for communicating with the kids,'' she said. To relay urgent information like changes in performance times, she calls a parent -- because teens like Jennica are too busy instant-messaging or commenting on MySpace. Or, if they're like 60 percent of American teens, they have a cell phone and are calling or text-messaging on the mobile.
Like instant messages, text messages pop up immediately, and with a few deft strokes the receiver can reply right away. ``E-mail is more like snail mail. You don't know when they're going to get it,'' said Alex Stikeleather, 17, of Palo Alto. Since February, teen e-mail use nationwide has been dropping compared with a year earlier. In April, it was down 8 percent -- 11.8 million users compared with 12.8 million users in April 2005, according to comScore Media Metrix. Even though the average time spent online by teens increased 11.6 percent from April 2005, to 22.5 hours a month, time on Web mail declined 9 percent.
It's the new phonathon season, and FundList readers are already in full stride trying to add a little pizzazz to the phone room. Here are some recently-shared themes from this year's phonathons:
"This year at Wheaton College, we're doing a "Phonathon Goes Hollywood" theme. We're going to set up a "Wall of Fame" with each of the callers getting their own star with their name on it (just like the Hollywood Blvd Walk of Fame). Our Phonathon newsletter is going to be renamed the "Phonathon Inquirer" for the year, and we'll include some fun, tabloid-like articles that feature the callers in the newsletter. We're also going to try to make a giant mountain made out of construction paper that says PHONATHON (instead of HOLLYWOOD). I think the whole theme will culminate with our Spring Party, which we'll kinda be like the Oscars. We'll hand out awards like "Best Phonathon Performance in the Category of Total Dollars Raised," and so on." --Michael Adzovic, Wheaton College
"We have a different theme every week of the semester. In the past, we incorporated an overarching theme for an entire school year, but people felt it got old. My supervisors choose a theme the typically corresponds with current events, seasons, holidays, etc. Each week two supervisors and two callers help plan games and activities and also set a weekly goal for us to shoot for. It?s important to involve the callers?it gives them ownership and breaks up monotony. Some themes we will be doing this year include: International, Lord of the Rings, Getting to Know You, BYU Athletic, BYU Nostalgia (Homecoming week), Elementary School Days, Harry Potter, Chocolate, Adventure, Thanksgiving, and Past Week (covering a decade a day)." -- David Smith, Brigham Young University
"Our theme this year is Pirates of the Telefund. We decorated the call center with a large pirate flag, and paper chains with skeletons hanging from the ceiling. I?m looking forward to using ?Arrgghh? at the start of each sentence!! Also Sept. 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day (I?m not kidding?Google it if you don?t believe me!!) It should be a fun semester!!" -- BethAnn Lubert, SUNY Binghamton
"Our theme is Passport to Success with a world travel theme. I?m using the National Geographic Geo-bee game board as a term-long competition. Complementing the theme are: World Class Callers, teams divided by continent (Antarctic Penguins, African Lions, South American Llamas), and themed ?passport to? weeks to ?travel? to the beach, Alps (winter wonderland before the holidays), Monte Carlo (casino), etc." -- Courtney Griffin Taylor, Mississippi University for Women
Contributions to colleges and universities in the United States grew by 4.9 percent in 2005, reaching $25.6 billion, according to the annual Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey released by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE). The increase was driven in part by gifts from alumni. Also, giving from foundations and other supporting organizations increased strongly. On the other hand, corporate charitable support of higher education institutions did not increase in 2005; it remains to be seen if this is a trend.
Nearly half the $25.6 billion raised in 2005 came directly from individuals. Alumni giving? the traditional base of higher education giving?grew by 6 percent in 2005. Individuals other than alumni drove personal giving up 21.5 percent in 2004, but in 2005 their support declined by 3.8 percent. Over the past decade, annual changes in nonalumni giving have been highly variable.
While the total amount of alumni giving increased, the percentage of alumni making gifts declined to 12.4 percent, according to the survey results. The rate has declined each year since 2001, when it stood at 13.8 percent. Even when two-year institutions, which have much lower participation rates than do four-year institutions, are eliminated from the calculations, there is still a decline in participation. Total giving by alumni increased in 2004 and 2005 because of a rise in the value of the average gift, not because more alumni gave to their alma maters.