|Bob Burdenski's Latest Annual Giving Departures|
I'm off to Durham, England as a member of the faculty for the CASE Europe Spring Institute in Educational Fundraising this week. The conference, held on the campus of the University of Durham in northern England, is an intensive week-long orientation to development. It educated a group of 150 and had a waiting list of 100 more that had hoped to attend.
Each faculty member is assigned a tutorial group of attendees for the week. My group will include participants from all over Europe.
The CASE Europe Spring Institute is a moving experience for attendees and faculty alike. Along with its counterpart, the CASE Summer Institute held at Dartmouth each year, it's one of the pinnacles of CASE programming. The CASE Europe staff does a remarkable job of putting the whole thing on.
We're welcoming a number of new clients, including Bournemouth University (U.K.), the University of Rochester, Lewis and Clark College, Tufts University, and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Hope you'll join advancement services guru John Taylor and me for our 4th-annual Burdenski and Taylor Advancement Academy in San Diego in July. The agenda truly is the best-yet, and the sun, sand and Shamu will make it all even better.
Included this month is a mix of new media and old, and a free direct mail sharing opportunity from FundList.
Hamilton College seized upon the novelty of a leap year to conduct a special email-intensive appeal aimed at its youngest classes. Conducted over the 29 days in February with the college's 29 youngest classes, the acquisition-focused strategy sought to add 29 new donors per day from these youngest Hamilton alumni.
Charter trustee Jack Withiam '71 posed his Leap Year Challenge with confidence that Hamilton's 29 youngest classes would rise to the occasion -- and they did. They surpassed the goal of 841 commitments over 29 days, finishing at the end of the day on February 29 with 1,066 gifts and pledges.
Jon Hysell, the director of annual giving at Hamilton College, talked about the unique opportunities offered by an email-based appeal with a deadline attached to it. It's a strategy reminiscent of PBS television appeals that seek to secure a number of donors before the next program comes on at the top of the hour.
You can listen free to Jon discussing the Hamilton Leap Year Challenge, through a downloadable podcast. Jon discusses some of the mechanics behind the strategy, and the reasons why he thinks the appeal was a success.
Each summer since 1999, FundList has managed a direct mail samples exchange for those schools and organizations interested in seeing samples from their peers.
If you're not familiar with the Direct Mail Exchange, it's like one big direct mail sample gift box for you and your annual giving program. You send samples of your direct mail from this past year, wait by your mailbox, and you'll receive a box with samples from every other institution that participates in the exchange in return. There's no cost, except for your shipping costs.
Last year, a record 150 schools participated, and more than 120 are already signed up for this year. For many, it's a crucial component of their program planning for the coming year, as they review the messages and materials created by their peers over the previous year.
You can watch online powerpoint slideshows of five sample favorites from 2006 and 2007 here. Hope you'll make plans to join in the fun this year. The registration deadline is Tuesday, May 29th.
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 July 29-30-31, 2008. The conference will once again have track sessions for advancement services, management, phonathons and annual giving. The monumental annual giving agenda will include the following:
...An all-annual-giving-faculty panel on alumni participation -- If you're trying to grow your alumni participation rate, where are the smartest places to aim your resources? How is the Internet increasingly useful for acquisition and young alumni giving?
...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 2007 direct mail exchange.
...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? The who, when, where, why and how of personal visitation -- learn how to maximize your efforts while you're out of the office.
...A session on data mining and prospect segmentation; Non-donors are not created equal! What segments will be more beneficial to your acquisition efforts? How do we improve segmentation by learning from the donor segments we already have? Our appeals used to be limited by year and degree information -- what new opportunities are available to you today?
...Highlights From The 2008 Annual Giving Salary Survey -- In early 2008 Bob conducted a first-of-its-kind salary survey specific to the annual giving profession, with more than 700 participants. See Bob's first in-person presentation on the results of the survey.
...A special session on parent giving programs and volunteer engagement, hosted by Carleton College director of annual giving Chris Clark. "Helicopter" parents are hovering, how do we engage them successfully? Learn from one of the best reunion giving programs in the United States.
...Bob and John's wildly popular annual "Pardon The Interruption"-style wrap-up discussion about the most important current issues in annual giving and advancement services.
CASE's first-ever program in Hong Kong was - fittingly enough - a presentation on the importance of annual giving as a cornerstone to fundraising success.
The appreciative (and fun) Hong Kong crowd enjoyed Bob Burdenski's description of the "annual giving pyramid" of engagement and the strategies involved in deepening relationships with donors through the annual giving program.
For CASE president John Lippincott, the event marked his first visit to Hong Kong, and he eloquently welcomed the group and noted the historic nature of the event.
You can listen to John Lippincott's Hong Kong welcome, and Bob Burdenski's celebration of the "annual giving pyramid" as a free iTunes podcast, or via the link below.
Did you know that tuition covers only 57 percent of the cost of an Ohio Wesleyan education? Candace Ott, director of the annual fund, hopes the above fact will bring attention to just how important alumni giving and other donations are to the life of the University. "If people didn't give, Ohio Wesleyan would be in trouble," she says.
Enter Tuition Free Forward, an event started in 2006 by the Annual Fund office to educate students about alumni giving. This year's Tuition Free Forward event will be Friday, March 28. The day commemorates the symbolic point at which tuition dollars stop covering budget costs. The accounting and finance offices use a formula to calculate the exact date every year, which is normally at the end of March.
"Educating our current students about philanthropy is very important," Ott says. "They should know that alumni giving affects OWU's rankings in U.S. News & World Report, and foundations and corporations also look at our alumni giving before they provide grants."
Ryan Jordan `09 agrees with Ott that educating current students is critical. He formed the Student Development Council to help raise awareness among students. "Looking at the long term, of course the goal is to encourage students and young alumni to give back to Ohio Wesleyan," he says. "But first we must educate them about why it's important that they give back. If we can do that, then I think we've accomplished our goal."
One way the Student Development Council is reaching out to students is through a video they recently produced for YouTube. "YouTube is an important medium," says Pooja Dutt `09. "It's accessible and popular. We thought that students would watch the video out of curiosity if nothing else." Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqRrjQiJdwA
An Editorial by Doris Rubenstein from WebCPA:
Any accountant with a client who is a graduate of the University of Michigan knows that a year-end gift to our beloved alma mater is a matter of fact. The University of Michigan for years has led our nation's public educational institutions in the percentage of alumni who give. Other universities may raise more money, but those dollars tend to come from corporations and government grants. Wolverines love their school, whether or not the football team wins a national championship.
As an advisor to families of high-net-worth, it should not be surprising to you, then, to see that those contributions to the University of Michigan or other fine educational institutions increased dramatically last year. Will they continue to rise again in 2008?
Let's look first at a report issued earlier this year by Northern Trust, based in Chicago. Their survey "Wealth in America 2007: Findings from a Survey of Millionaire Households" showed that wealthy Americans increased their giving by 20 percent in 2006. Some of this may be residual giving for the Hurricane Katrina and Asian tsunami disasters that boosted giving at all income levels in 2005 and 2006. This variable aside, let's look at what that report can tell us about your clients.
For years, I've been giving a set amount to Michigan to benefit a scholarship fund that underwrote my entire four year undergraduate education. And for years, I've never received any information about how many students received the scholarship, or how much money each of them received, etc., despite my repeated requests for such information. I continued to give the same amount year after year out of a sense of duty and obligation. I asked time and time again for these data and told the University that I would not increase my gift unless and until I got it. The University didn't get back to me. They were flunking Stewardship 101 and losing money to help deserving students as a result.
Earlier this year, I got a call from a University of Michigan fundraiser, saying she'd be in the area and she'd like to visit me. I told her that I came out of a fundraising background and that her trip would be in vain if she didn't do her homework by looking in my file and bringing me the information I'd requested repeatedly for over a decade. When we finally met, she brought me a thick envelope filled with current information about my scholarship fund that answered every one of my questions. She promised I'd get the same package each year from now on.