Looking back and looking forward

We look back at an unprecedented year to see what trends dominated the industry, the insights we drew, and the beliefs we hold on to for 2021

The programs with the most engagement all had two things in common -- They were on-demand and they were accessible to anyone.
For those at the advancement office -- the ability to quickly create and deliver small, focused, programs to cater to changing demands made the difference. 
For constituents -- the programs that could be accessed anywhere, anytime — on any device, without the hassle of a password were the clear winners.

With the shift online, organizations with databases and measurement systems that talked to each other had a clear edge.
For the office -- this meant having a holistic picture of how a constituent engages across different channels, and then being able to target them with specific, relevant programs that were useful. At a time when everything shifted online, staying relevant was vital.

The difference between the truly elite programs and the average ones was in how they set goals and went about measuring progress towards their outcomes. There is an age-old consensus that there is a dotted line between engagement and philanthropy. But today we’re at that stage where it’s no longer sufficient to leave it vague. It is necessary to quantify engagement, analyze what works, and iterate better programs.

With the rise in on-demand programs, constituents would connect with schools infrequently, usually when they needed something. This meant, we needed to provide the services that they need with minimum hassle when they did come to us -- or make it easy for them to find and access the resources they need.

Quick-Pay links
Generate a link for your donor with their details pre-filled, making it easier for them to pay in one click.
Peer Influence driven fundraising platform
Use a combination of tributes, gamification, and social reach to drive gifts and shares without needing any login.
Several improvements for virtual events
Integration with Zoom and RENXT, Live streaming, Private events, Guest kit etc. that allow you to build different kinds of virtual events from webinars to reunions to happy hours.
Integrations - Salesforce, RENXT
Push contact data seamlessly to Salesforce. We also added an integration with RENXT to push event attendance data directly to your database without any spreadsheets/batching.
Revamped Forms
Ask conditional questions to be more relevant, use rich text or video to allow members to submit long form content like stories, use validated fields like location to avoid cleaning up junk data later. Forms had some major changes this year and it will play a vital role going forward.
Nicholls State University
Ran a crowdsourced campaign to collect webcams for students that didn’t have equipment at home
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Ran a series of webinars to help prep young alumni to deal with their finances
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Germanna Community College
Ran their first-ever Give Day thta helped support students’ critical needs amidst COVID-19. They successfully raised $503,855 in 24 hours.
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We believe a system that can measure engagement without requiring signups is key to building good online communities. Platforms that hinge on a signup or a big launch will not sustain. We say this, having built such platforms ourselves in the past.

Knowing this now, we are building a system of lego blocks that you can piece together to craft a unique program that suits your community. Here’s a look at a few such pieces that you should see in 2021

Password-free Verification
Put valuable resources behind a gate -- but still be able to grant access to the right people without needing them to login or password.
Embeddable Programs
Whether it’s a business directory, a feed of stories, a job board, mentors -- you can build flexible programs on Almabase -- and embed them into your own website. Don’t worry about maintaining two sites. We’ll silently measure the engagement on these programs even if they are on your page.
Measurement Dashboard
Tie together activities across all these programs regardless of where they happen. Don’t just measure for the sake of it, but tie the activities to the outcomes that you want to achieve and measure your progress towards these outcomes.
Data Mobility
Connect event registrations, form submissions, gifts – to the right person on your database. Collect new contact data through different channels and push these updates easily into your source database. Automate repeatable tasks with rules and focus on meaningful work.