4 Donor Engagement Strategies to Consider in 2016

Your university depends on donations from businesses, alumni, and other sources to continue providing high-end education to your students. If you want to engage more donors for your university in 2016, there are several strategies that can help you accomplish that goal.

1. Use Online Marketing to Create Offline Engagement

Donors Meeting Event

Offline events are excellent tools for soliciting donations, but it starts with your school website and marketing campaign.

Whether you’re organizing a luncheon or a meet-up at a school sporting event, it’s essential to let your contributors and potential donors know about it via an online marketing campaign. You can use email marketing as well as blog posts and social media to make donors aware of upcoming events and to generate excitement about them.

It’s best to start early with this type of campaign. Let people know about the event several months in advance, then send regular reminders to the people on your donor list. The more you spread the word about an offline event, the more engagement you’ll have at the event itself.

2. Target Donors in Blog Posts

Blogging is one of the best strategies for donor retention. However, you can use your blog to attract new donors, as well.

Many universities use their blogs exclusively for boosting enrollment and enticing potential students. However, blogs are excellent resources for engaging new donors. Profile past donors through interviews or donor spotlights, for instance, or write posts that explain how donation money is used.

3. Turn to Social Media

Did you know that nearly 90 percent of Millennials use Facebook to learn about current events? This age group spends an inordinate amount of time on social media, so that’s where you can make connections with them. The people who graduated from your school can easily become donors if you make them feel welcome, appreciated, and included.

Use your social media presence to remind Millennials of your contributions to their success. Find out how they’re doing in their working lives, ask them for testimonials, and express interest in their futures. You’d be surprised how many will respond with a donation — whether one time or on a recurring basis.

4. Make a Personal Connection

One of the best ways to boost donor retention is to make donors feel special after they make a gift. Consider sending a handwritten thank-you note or a thank-you packet with free swag inside. The goal is to make each donation feel less like a transaction and more like a personal gift to a friend.

Personalizing your correspondence and expressing gratitude are key approaches that are often lost through online marketing. Injecting a personal element into your campaign can make a tremendous difference in the number of donations you receive.

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