3 Marketing Strategies University Fundraisers Need to Know

3 Marketing Strategies University Fundraisers Need to Know




May 12, 2020

Last modified: 

May 12, 2020

As a member of the higher education sector, your school likely depends heavily on peer-to-peer fundraising and crowdfunding. If it doesn’t, it may be time to start considering it.

While you may choose a social campaign for its simplicity and wide reach, there’s actually a substantial amount of work that goes into these fundraisers. In fact, social campaigns are dependent on effective promotion, so make sure your team is aware of the best marketing practices.

When planning your outreach strategy, consider these effective marketing practices for both universities and their volunteer fundraisers:

1. Actively promote matching gifts

2. Maintain an open line of communication

3. Create shareable content

If your university is ready to enhance its marketing strategy for social campaigns, let’s dive in!

Matching Gifts

Actively promote matching gifts

To encourage involvement, make sure volunteer fundraisers are aware of all revenue opportunities. This doesn’t just mean sharing your fundraising posts as much as possible. Rather, it means looking into corporate giving. 

Corporate giving, which is part of the social responsibility phenomenon, represents a major revenue opportunity for universities. Specifically, matching gifts can rake in a substantial amount of additional revenue. Through a matching gift program, a company offers to match its employees’ donations to nonprofits.

For peer-to-peer campaigning, some companies even match the donations their employees raise from others!

To kick off your research, look into your existing donor base. Specifically, take a look at your alumni and major donors who represent your largest match opportunities. From there, reach out to match-eligible individuals.

Marketing matching gifts can be tricky, so you’ll want to:

a. Provide educational resources to your donors

b. Create a matching gift page on your website

c. Use a matching gift database that conducts outreach

Both universities and donors should stay on top of employers’ match guidelines. That way, you won’t miss out on matching gift revenue.

To learn more, visit Double the Donation’s guide to corporate matching gift programs.

Effective Communication

Maintain an open line of communication

Online fundraising is a great way to engage donors, including alumni. For successful online campaigning, start with effective communication. Communication is the foundation of a successful campaign. 

While some approaches are more effective than others, the best results come from incorporating multiple communication channels. This is especially true for larger donor bases.

Consider a mix of the following communication channels to 

1. Email marketing: Use email marketing to encourage individuals to donate to your campaign. Then, analyze your email engagement data to evolve your marketing.

2. Social media campaigning: This is where the highest number of people will interact with your campaign. Make it count.

3. Direct mail marketing: While it’s no longer the preferred means of contact, some individuals respond more positively to traditional direct mail.

4. Surveying: This should be the final step in the campaign process. Invite your volunteer fundraisers to answer a few questions about their experiences. That way, you’ll make your next campaign even better.

Remember, communication is a two-way street. Ensure that your volunteer fundraisers feel free to voice any feedback or concerns.

To learn more, visit Salsa’s guide on marketing practices for different communication platforms.

Shareable Content

Create shareable content

Effective communication is about more than just an open line of communication. It’s about powerful storytelling, too. The best way to share these stories is online because online communication encourages alumni to form stronger connections with your university.

As part of your marketing approach, encourage your volunteer fundraisers to implement these best social media practices:

a. Use powerful imagery. To help, your university should provide a photo gallery.

b. Tell your story to express your personal connection.

c. State campaign goals and claim how a small contribution can go a long way.

Shareable content means that it is easily accessible and re-postable, as well. Storytelling and powerful imagery are what compel users to share content with their networks. However, this approach is useless if no one can find or access your fundraising page.

To ensure shareability, use an effective social campaigning platform and the right social media platforms.  For universities, social campaigning (learn more here!) generates a substantial amount of revenue. Now that you know the best marketing practices, share this information with your fundraising team, and plan your best social campaign yet!

About the author

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of tools to nonprofits to help them raise more money from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email or on LinkedIn.

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