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Bob Burdenski's Latest Annual Giving Departures )
An Update on New and Creative Annual Giving Fundraising Strategies April, 2010
The Latest Departures
  • One-Day Annual Giving Workshops Coming to Hamilton, Boston, Chicago, New York and St. Louis
  • Share Email, Web and Direct Mail Samples in Bob's 2010 Annual Appeal Exchange
  • Bob in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
    Don't Blame Economy if You Lack Smart Strategies
  • Don't Stop Here -
    Browse Seven Years of Bob's Email Newsletters
  • I've never failed to arrive at a conference because of a volcano, but that's what happened to me last week for the CASE Spring Institute in Educational Fundraising in England. And I wasn't alone -- my fellow faculty members Lorna Somers of McMaster University, Fritz Schroeder of Johns Hopkins University, and Mark Curtis of Oriel College at Oxford (stranded while traveling in New York) were all in the same pickle.

    As a result, I wound up giving my first 3 a.m. plenary speech ever -- Skyped in live over the Internet to present with my pal Miles Stevenson of the University of Sheffield at 9 a.m. in England. (Note the clever use of discretion - projecting a 10-year-old photo of me on the wall rather than a live shot of me in my pajamas!) The crowd seemed to be paying attention just fine, and we ended just as the sun was coming up in Chicago.

    I'm quoted below in a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article about institutions that are sustaining their annual giving in the midst of the recession. It's a reminder that you need to keep thinking creatively and not just console yourself that you're not any "more worse" than anybody else.

    In between consulting assignments I've scheduled five one-day workshops in the months ahead. Hope you can join me for some peer sharing, best practice examples, and "onsite innovations" in annual giving. See all the details below.

    In July, I'm pleased to be moderating the first Art Schools Annual Giving Conference, hosted by Sandra Jaggi at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And in September I will be traveling back to Australia to conduct several sessions at the biennial conference of ADAPE Australasia in Adelaide (mate).

    Lastly, the 2010 Annual Giving Sample Exchange is now underway. 200 institutions participated in 2009 -- please consider joining in again. Details are below.

    The fundraising times are challenging, but the work of your institution is as important as ever. Best wishes for ongoing annual giving success.


    One-Day Annual Giving Workshops Coming to Hamilton, Boston, Chicago, New York and St. Louis

    Bob Burdenski is bringing the most innovative new annual giving strategies to you in a series of regional one-day workshops in 2009. It's an important time to re-calibrate your annual giving goals and priorities in light of the downturn in the economy. How do we achieve continued success, and how do we maximize the value of our annual giving efforts?

    Give your program a recession tune-up and collect a day's worth of new ideas and innovations for annual giving success. Bob's programs are famous for featuring many examples from other institutions. Bob sees the best new ideas in annual giving --come and see the latest he has to share.

    The one-day workshop agenda includes:

    • Annual Giving in A Down Economy - How does the recession impact annual giving goals and strategies? Where are the opportunities, and what should you be focusing on in turbulent times?
    • Online Innovations in Annual Giving - Web giving strategies are changing fast. What are the latest new ideas in new media for annual giving? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others - how do we use them to raise money?
    • Writing for the Annual Fund - What's the difference between charitable support and philanthropic support? How do we craft the messages that resonate with our prospect audiences?
    • Forty Favorites From FundList - Bob has moderated the annual giving listserv FundList for ten years. Learn about his forty favorite sample strategies shared over that time.

    The schedule of one-day workshops includes:

    • Hamilton, Ontario (May 6th at McMaster University)
    • Boston (May 27th at Boston University)
    • Chicago (July 14th at DePaul University)
    • New York (August 2nd at Barnard College)
    • St. Louis (August 12th at St. Louis University)

    Share Email, Web and Direct Mail Samples in Bob's 2010 Annual Appeal Exchange

    Bob annually organizes an annual giving samples exchange for those schools and organizations interested in seeing appeal samples from their peers. Signup is now underway for the 2010 exchange.

    Last year, 200 schools participated. 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 sample favorites from prior years here. Hope you'll make plans to join in the fun this year. The registration deadline is Tuesday, May 25th.

    Bob in the Chronicle of Higher Education:
    Don't Blame Economy if You Lack Smart Strategies

    When the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, president of the College of the Holy Cross, travels to meet alumni and donors, he often adds a stop for young alumni. While they might not have much to give, the gatherings allow him to make a face-to-face appeal to recent graduates and help them develop a habit of giving.

    Thanks to efforts like that, more than half of Holy Cross's 32,000 alumni give to the college. That figure far exceeds the national average alumni-participation rate of 10 percent, and is one of the highest rates of alumni giving for colleges that report the figures. Regularly reaching out to young alumni-and asking them to reach out to 10 of their classmates-is just one tactic the college uses to keep its annual-fund numbers high.

    Even in good times, sustaining or increasing the percentage of alumni who give has been a challenge for many colleges. The annual Voluntary Support of Education survey has shown a decline over the last several years in alumni participation, and last year the survey recorded the lowest alumni-giving rate in its history.

    Robert A. Burdenski, an annual-giving consultant, says some colleges feel they can't do much to reverse the downward trend of alumni participation. Yes, the economy is bad, he says, but "we have some responsibility if we haven't gotten creative."

    Colleges should be looking for ways to use Facebook and other social media to both solicit and thank alumni, Mr. Burdenski says. When he gives seminars in other countries where colleges are just starting to develop fund-raising programs, people are questioning the effectiveness of the traditional American giving appeals-direct-mail solicitations and phone-athons-over e-mail and other new methods that are less expensive and can have a greater impact.

    While colleges shouldn't discard their traditional fund-raising methods, he says, they should be looking for ways to use technology to reach those who aren't responding to a letter in the mail or a call to a home phone. "You can't just presume that's the best starting point for younger alumni and the next generation," Mr. Burdenski says.

    Five schools, and the strategies they use to increase alumni participation, are featured in the full text of the article.

    Don't Stop Here -
    Browse Seven Years of Bob's Email Newsletters

    All of Bob's previous (although now, not-so "Latest") Latest Annual Giving Departures email newsletters are available for reading free at

    Browse more than 7 years of newsletters - you can track the beginnings of data mining, recurring giving, and YouTube as annual giving strategies during that time. Thumbnail summaries of each newsletter tell you what's included in each one.

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