|Bob Burdenski's Latest Annual Giving Departures|
I'm looking out the window in Chicago at 8 inches of new snow - and the Windy City is at its windiest. But there's still a lot of time for you to heat up your annual giving program, and make it a record year for you and your donors. I'm sharing some of my favorite and interesting new ideas observed in my travels this month.
Our monthly Web-based annual giving roundtable series is drawing a virtual crowd. 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 via the link at the bottom of this newsletter.
Look for us on the program session agenda this Winter and Spring at the CASE Schools Conference in Dublin, Ireland, the Northeast Annual Giving Conference at Union College, and the annual Meeting of the Minds conference in sunny Southern California in April. In addition, I'm thrilled to again be a member of the faculty at the CASE Europe Spring Institute in Educational Fundraising at Durham University in England. I'll be co-hosting the annual giving track along with Miles Stevenson from the University of Sheffield.
Included this month is a mix of new media and old, and some wisdom from FundList. Hope you enjoy the Super Bowl and hope you enjoy fund raising success in this still-new year.
Join FundList & FundSvcs listserv moderators Bob Burdenski & John Taylor, and a top-notch faculty and agenda for the fourth-annual Burdenski & Taylor Advancement Academy at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina in San Diego, CA., July 29-31, 2008. The conference will once again have track sessions for advancement services, management, phonathons and annual giving. The annual giving track will include the following:
...A session on effective parent fundaising program strategies. How do we quickly engage, cultivate and solicit this "helicopter" prospect audience?
...Get out of the office! A session on effective personal solicitation in leadership annual giving programs. How does the annual giving program strenghen its role as a major gift pipeline?
..A session on data mining and prospect segmentation; How do we improve segmentation by learning from the donor segments we already have?
..A panel discussion on best strategies for maximizing alumni giving participation rates; Your president and your board pay attention to U.S. News and World Report rankings. What can your annual giving program do to help?
...A special brand-new review of the best direct mail samples from the 2008 direct mail exchange. More than 150 schools participated last year -- see the very best of the new batch from the 2008 direct mail exchange
...An overview of the latest new initiatives in online fundraising, including wiki, text messages, Facebook, email, flash, Web content and cross-media marketing. How are these new technologies continuing to integrate themselves into advancement?
...A panel discussion on the most important annual giving trends for 2008. Cell phones, Facebook.com, caller ID, spam e-mail legislation, MySpace.com, recurring giving, text messaging, Web payments, unlisted phone numbers, distance learning and non- traditional students all threaten to wreak havoc with your all-too-traditional annual giving program. Bob Burdenski convenes a special panel of annual giving veterans, vendors and opinion-makers to explore what's coming over the hill in annual giving -- and what's already here! Learn what you need to know in your program planning for FY09... and beyond.
...Bob and John's wildly popular annual "Pardon The Interruption"-style annual giving and advancement services wrap-up discussion and faculty firing line.
"It started out as a simple football cheer," begins the announcer of a 30-second TV spot, familiar to this season's football fans in the Shoe as well as at home. "Today, it has become more. Much more. It stands for loyalty, tradition, pride." And that, in a nutshell, is quite possibly the best way to explain why, when a Buckeye fan or student shouts "O-H," they are always returned with a hearty "I-O."
During the fall football season, this 30-second spot, aired during timeouts, became an instant hit with students, fans, and alumni alike. The reason? They were the ones who made up the commercial. Of course, not every Scarlet and Grey enthusiast was included in the public service announcement, but seeing the simple formation of four little letters, O-H-I-O spelled out by children, students, and alumni ranging anywhere from The Oval to the other side of the planet, can make many a person swell with Buckeye pride.
The original spot concluded by telling viewers to share their pride at the university's website - and the floodgates opened. The user-submitted site went from a respectable 200+ photos of people giving off their own O-H-I-Os to, as of this writing, more than a thousand. Not too shabby for a 30-second reminder once a week. For its part, the university has created an impressive website for Buckeyes to share their pride. The features include an RSS feed, a Facebook integration application, and, probably coolest of all, a Google Maps version where you can see where many of the photographs were taken via a pin marker - click it and the photo pops right up.
In fact, the website, and the original Ohio State PSA, proved to be so popular that the university created another one to air during basketball games and last week's National Championship game. "I know where I'm going to college," says a young child at the beginning of the new version. "All my friends, too," says another. "It's where we want to be / Even when it's someplace unexpected / It's an honor / And a dream.
Carleton College is perennially ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S., and its alumni giving participation rate is in the same lofty range -- well in excess of 50% each year.
Reunion giving is a cornerstone of Carleton's alumni giving program. In Bob's latest Annual Giving Interview, Executive Director of Alumni Annual Fund and Parent Funds Chris Clark provides an overview of why reunion giving is a success at Carleton, and why other types of institutions should consider it as well.
Bob's annual giving interviews are the first-ever annual giving content available on iTunes and feature excerpts of interviews from Bob's monthly Annual Giving Roundtable Web seminar series, conference programs and other conversations. Each month, Bob will add a new interview available for free access.
If you are already an iTunes user, you can access Bob's interviews via the iTunes Store at this Web address: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=268639739
If you're not an iTunes user, you can still listen to all of Bob's interviews via the archive on Bob's Web site (just use the link below).
It's an offer the University of Colorado couldn't flush away: A Boulder venture capitalist paid $25,000 for the naming rights to a bathroom in the Boulder campus' ATLAS building.
And so it is that the second-floor men's bathroom in the high-tech hub now has Brad Feld's name on it and a plaque with some words of wisdom from the donor: "The best ideas often come at inconvenient times. Don't ever close your mind to them."
Feld -- managing director at Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital, both based in Boulder -- said he tried to make a similar offer a few years ago to his alma matter, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the school, after considering whether a donor could have naming rights to a bathroom, rejected his offer.
"I just wanted a plaque outside of the men's room to inspire people as they walk in to do their business," Feld said.
So he mentioned his failed attempt to John Bennett, director of ATLAS, or Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society. As CU's Boulder campus goes through a construction boom, opening up new and renovated buildings,it has increasingly used naming opportunities to help fund the projects.
"I named a price and told him the quote had to be tasteful," Bennett said.
Faculty and staff giving has been a frequently-discussed topic on FundList. (There are annually more faculty and staff appeals that are discussed, than actually occur). But don't let the lack of a faculty and staff giving culture get you down! Here are some words of advice from FundList members:
We've had some great success with our
faculty/staff kickoffs. Here are some of the
themes we've used:
Give us a Piece of Your Payday (employee's
were sent a solicitation with a Payday candy
We need S'more (Smore candy bar attached)
Give a Little, Get a Latte (free coffee with
each donation) These were great at getting
people excited about the campaign.
At the kickoff we had coffee, doughnuts, and
fruit. We held early bird raffles, and even
played some games (Walsh Trivia contest, and
find the Shamrock - it was near St. Patrick's
Day - Anyone who found a Shamrock hidden in
the campus center won a basket of goodies.)
People really got into it. With these fun
themes, employee participation went from 7%
just 6 years ago to 65% last year. They
sound corny, I know, but it helps to build
awareness of the annual fund and the
importance of giving.
A strategy that has worked was setting up
small campaigns for retiring faculty. I
typically go to whoever chairs the department
and offer to put together a lead letter if
s/he provides a list of prospects and is
willing to handle any event planning.
Typically these funds are not endowed, do not
generate interest and are distributed to
students seeking funds for research during
the subsequent fiscal year. We received
gifts from 11 non-donors this year by using
this strategy and added an additional $15k to
our coffers. Of course, the money isn't such
a big deal, but the donors enabled me to
surpass my faculty participation goal with
three months to spare. One less thing to
1.) Get a faculty member (who's an alum, if
possible) to serve as chair of your campus
giving effort, to sign the special,
inter-office direct mail appeal.
2.) If your school has a United Way campaign,
and you have a United Way agency name and ID,
3.) Either way, promote the daylights out of
I have had success with faculty and staff
programs that are based on teams of liaisons
(whose programming input, participation and
connections with colleagues are actively
developed), an annual kickoff event,
encouragement of payroll deduction, a modest
incentive program for staff, and a
multi-level thank-you program including an
annual thank-you event.