Liberal Arts Colleges: 5 Fundraising Tips for Your Fall Giving Day

Liberal Arts Colleges: 5 Fundraising Tips for Your Fall Giving Day




September 16, 2020

Last modified: 

September 16, 2020

2020 has been a rough year, particularly for Liberal Arts Colleges. The resulting disruption has caused advancement teams across the country to rethink their programming and find unique ways to engage alumni and donors. With the fall spirit of Giving upon us, now's the right time to start thinking about ways to boost donations at your fall Giving Day 2020.

Giving Day is a powerful online fundraising campaign conducted for 24 hours with the purpose of raising money and finding new donors. Giving Days provide alumni with the ideal opportunity to serve their alma mater by helping the institution in a time of need. 

As the pandemic continues to unfold, it's evident that Giving Day 2020 will be unlike any of the previous Giving Days. With Liberal Arts Colleges like yours shifting their focus to raising money online at their fall Giving Day and upcoming Giving Tuesday, here are 5 innovative strategies to help you get started. 

1. Build up to the day 

It's always a best practice to start promoting your Giving Day as early as possible and build-up to the day of the event. While you can't invite your alumni to campus to let them know about your fall Giving Day, countdown posts on social media are a great way to spread the word.

Instead of merely creating posters or event notifications at intervals like, say, 15, 10, and 5 days before the Giving Day, think of ways to incentivize donors to participate. For instance, along with every countdown post, you can also share testimonials of past donors on social media. Seeing a friend believe in your institution’s cause can be a strong motivator for more alumni to donate.

Including photos and videos of how your institution has utilized funds raised at past fundraising events is another great way to motivate potential donors.

How Piedmont College set an alumni donor participation record amidst COVID-19

2. Connect With Your Donors at a Personal Level

As the pandemic forces us to be confined to our homes, now more than ever, is the perfect time for your institution to invest greatly in building and growing an online community that your constituents can benefit from. 

While an online community is great for driving engagement, not all potential donors will react the same way to your fundraising asks. For instance, an alum who's been working for 10 years might be more receptive to your fundraising ask this Giving Day than a young alum who's just graduated college and is still reeling under the pressure of repaying his student loan. 

Personalizing your fundraising asks, therefore, plays a crucial role in building a unique connection with each constituent and paving the way for lasting relationships. Use dynamic segmentation to segregate your constituents based on class year, location, donation history, interests, etc. and personalize your emails right from the first message to the final thank you. Almabase can help you boost your fundraising with dynamic alumni groups and personalized email outreach. Talk to a fundraising expert today.

3. Host Virtual Events 

While promoting your Giving Day via in-person events does not look likely this fall, an increasing number of Liberal Arts Colleges are contemplating virtual events

2020 has seen a ton of successful virtual events being implemented by Liberal Arts Colleges, big and small. Many have seen a steady rise in participation at virtual events because they're easily accessible irrespective of location or time. Virtual events, therefore, can help you tap into a wider network of donors and be a valuable addition to your marketing plan for Giving Day 2020. 

As an added tip, you can use virtual event management software to engage alumni and drive participation at your fall Giving Day 2020.

How Antioch College, a private liberals arts college in Ohio, hosted a Virtual Dance Party amidst COVID-19 and successfully got 400+ RSVPs in 11 days

4. Make Every Channel Count 

As online engagement becomes pivotal for a successful Giving Day campaign in 2020, it is equally important to make the best use of the channels at your disposal. 

Social media is the ideal place to meet and connect with new people, with platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook enabling you to explore potential donors. While you may already be connected with some of your donors on shared groups, use the network of your existing supporters to influence new donors. In addition to social media, emails and personal one-on-one calls are popular channels employed by most Liberal Arts Colleges for fundraising asks. If you are worried that alumni might ignore your email requests, here are some tips for you. 

While driving more donors online may be your priority, also ensure that the online giving experience is smooth and flexible. 

5. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Crowdfunding  

Now that you have done your bit to promote the campaign, how can you leverage your supporters to maximize the impact? Your donors are the ones who can carry your fundraising campaign forward by spreading the word through their networks. 

You can find ways to make social sharing easy for donors and create more incentives for them to influence others in their network. For example, encourage your supporters to broadcast and share their contributions on social media. Offer them a customized template and prompt them to share this message on social media right after they've completed a gift. 

You can also create a filter for Instagram or Facebook that donors can apply to their profile photos. Seeing their peers support their alma mater's cause can act as a strong driving factor for other constituents to contribute to the same cause.

Gamification techniques like leaderboards, challenges, and tributes are some additional great ways for invoking a healthy sense of competition amongst various constituent groups and amplifying the impact of gifts at your Giving Day this fall. William Peace University, a nationally ranked private liberal arts college in North Carolina, leveraged various gamification techniques at its Founder's Day of Giving 2020 and successfully surpassed its fundraising goal by 230%. Head over to the campaign page.

William Peace University's campaign saw incredible success via a peer-to-peer approach, $2800 being the highest number of gifts influenced by a single supporter

Planning a Giving Day has never been an easy task, but, with the pandemic leaving a majority of institutions around the world with a severe financial crisis, Giving Day 2020 is a big opportunity.

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