Best Practices

4 Social Media Strategies to Maximize Alumni Giving

4 Social Media Strategies to Maximize Alumni Giving




January 17, 2023

Last modified: 

January 17, 2023

Social media is an effective tool for engaging with alumni to keep your university in the front of their minds. You know the importance of making alumni feel like they’re still a part of your community after they leave campus, and social media is the perfect place to do so.  

When you extend social media engagement tactics to strategically promote your fundraising efforts, you can maximize donations from your alumni, as well. Many universities have seen firsthand how effective social media fundraising can be for short-term campaigns like Giving Tuesday. You can use these same principles to drive even more donations for your school by integrating social media into your overarching fundraising strategy.

Use these four tips to engage alumni on social media and encourage them to donate:

  1. Prioritize young alumni.
  2. Promote text-to-give.
  3. Show donors your appreciation.
  4. Launch a matching gifts campaign.

Before we begin, take stock of your current overall fundraising goals and how successful social media marketing has been for your university in the past. Keep these factors in mind as we explore these tips. 

1. Prioritize young alumni.

You may think that young alumni have nothing to offer in terms of fundraising because they’re still establishing their careers, but they’re more important than you might expect. University fundraisers need to engage young alumni to build strong relationships now, so that they’ll be more likely to donate in the future. 

Younger generations are also the most active social media users, so they’ll be the ones seeing your posts most often. Create all of your social media content with young alumni in mind to generate funds now and set you up for future fundraising success. 

Try these tactics to intentionally engage young alumni on social media:

  • Show them what your school can still offer them: Promote networking opportunities, social events, or advice about postgraduate success. By showing young alumni you can still help them thrive, you’ll make them feel more connected to your school and more willing to give.
  • Create content they’ll want to share with friends: Most young alumni keep up with some of their college friends and peers, especially recent graduates. Create content that inspires sharing, such as high quality graphics with useful information for young alumni. When they share the post, they’ll inspire their friends to be more involved with your university, too.
  • Use interactive story stickers to encourage engagement: Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok all include story features for sharing content quickly and easily. Take advantage of story stickers that encourage direct interaction with your followers, such as questions, polls, and quizzes. Keep the conversation going at every opportunity!

While you may not generate extra funds immediately, investing in your younger alumni now is well worth the effort. Remember that your Gen Z alumni don’t spend much time on Facebook. Post content targeted towards younger alumni on Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, instead. 

2. Promote text-to-give.

One of the simplest ways to increase your fundraising potential now using social media is to raise awareness of mobile giving methods. 

Alumni are less likely to donate if they have to jump through multiple hoops to find your donation page. Text-to-give makes it easy to donate just by texting a keyword to a designated phone number. Alumni will then receive a text back with a direct link to your donation page. If your online donation platform includes text-to-give functionality, make sure your supporters are aware of this opportunity to give more easily. 

To promote a mobile giving initiative on social media, consider these three ideas:

  1. Create branded reusable graphics that include your text-to-give phone number and keyword.
  2. Create a hashtag and challenge alumni to share when they make a mobile donation and tag their friends.
  3. Make mobile giving a major part of your Giving Tuesday campaign.

For more tips on how to run an effective mobile giving awareness campaign, get inspired by successful examples. Snowball’s analysis of top mobile fundraising campaigns suggests asking notable supporters or alumni to advocate on your behalf. Consider recruiting select alumni with large social media followings, then ask if they’ll help you spread the word about your text-to-give initiative.

3. Show donors your appreciation.

Thanking your donors and volunteers is an important part of any donor retention strategy. Your donors need to feel appreciated and valued for them to consider donating again in the future. When you thank donors publicly via social media, you’ll encourage alumni to donate again and inspire others to give at the same time.

Prioritize donor appreciation on social media by sharing campaign progress updates that emphasize the impact of alumni donations. Recognize contributions made by specific class years or colleges, and celebrate donation milestones as they happen. For example, create a shout out post on Instagram when the class of 2002 reaches $50,000 raised. Include a photo from their graduation to remind them of the fond memories they shared with your school. Social media can also be a great way to promote your virtual donor wall, highlighting large contributions to your organization. 

Showing appreciation on social media can inspire increased donations, but don’t forget to thank your donors often and in a variety of ways. Social media marketing works best when you supplement it with other communication methods, such as email and direct mail. 

4. Launch a matching gifts campaign.

Lastly, matching gift campaigns are one of the easiest ways to maximize donations for your university. 

Many of your alumni may be unaware that they work for companies that provide corporate matching gift programs. Let your followers know how to find out if their employers will match contributions they make to your school and how much they’ll match (such as a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio). 

Once you make alumni aware of this opportunity, your university can receive additional donations without asking for any more money from your supporters. Market matching gifts for your university using theses social media content ideas:

  • Share statistics and information about matching gifts so alumni become more familiar with the benefits.
  • Create graphics and videos that explain the submission process and make it easy for alumni to understand how to find out if they’re match-eligible. 
  • Feature information about the matching gift programs of companies that employ a large amount of your alumni.

Get creative with matching gift content, and remember to emphasize your alumni’s role in these communications. Your alumni want to improve their alma mater for other students, and matching gifts are an easy way they can double their impact.

With an intentional social media fundraising strategy, you can increase alumni engagement and donations at the same time. Don’t forget to pay attention to your social media engagement metrics, including likes, shares, views, and follows. Use this data to improve your marketing strategy by creating content you know your followers prefer to engage with.

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