Planning a Giving Day this spring semester? Looking for new ways to engage with alumni, and connect with your current students during the event?
At Mongoose, we love helping our clients develop creative and unique ways to hit their fundraising goals on Giving Day. Having a strategic texting plan can not only get the word out, but generate excitement and allow your team to connect directly with your community.
1. Follow Opt-In Best Practices
With increased carrier sensitivity to high opt-out rates and spam complaints, the last thing you want is to turn your giving day into a negative experience. By following industry-wide best practices you will safeguard your ability to deliver text messages and ensure you have an engaged, attentive audience.
It's recommended that you:
- Obtain Consent- Before you start texting, ask your contacts if they would like to receive text messages.
- Establish a Collection Process- Use a checkbox within application submissions, contact forms, and website portals to easily obtain consent.
- Store Texting Preferences- Cadence allows you to keep a record of the opt-in by team/department.
2. Prime your audience
No matter what channel of communication, whether you're using email, phone, or texting, make sure your audience knows what to expect from you (e.g. sports updates, upcoming events, fundraisers, etc.).
Warm-up your email database with a re-engagement campaign if you haven't communicated with them in a while. If texting, send a preliminary text asking what kind of information they'd like from your institution. Doing so will decrease the number of unsubscribed and opt-outs you receive and makes sure your database is up to date.
Update contact records based on their responses so you can personalize future communications and target effectively for your giving day campaign.
3. Segment your audience for personalized messages
We cannot stress this point enough! Now that you’ve primed your audience and you know what they’re interested in hearing about, use this feedback to segment your alums into groups.
If using a texting platform, you can easily create segments based on data points you import into the platform from your CRM. Segmentation allows you to deploy different strategies, with more effective messaging, to different alumni groups based on interest or demographics. so alumni that want to hear about upcoming networking events are separated from those that want football team updates
4. Invite distinguished alumni to do a takeover
A message has more impact when people recognize the voice. Invite prestigious alumni to text from your account and share why they choose to give back to their university. If using a texting platform, consider including an image or short video in the text message to show authenticity and create a genuine connection with the recipient. Other ideas include social media takeovers, a personally signed email to your alumni database, or a virtual event hosted by your distinguished alumni.
5. Encourage participation through a contest
I know it’s hard to believe, but people love taking and posting pictures of themselves. This can be a great way to generate excitement and increase gifts. Invite donors to post a photo on social media sharing why they are proud to give. Or consider a “Throwback Thursday” kind of approach, where alumni share a photo of themselves back in their college days with a favorite memory. Tie any of these ideas to a specific hashtag so you can track participation and host a giveaway for game tickets, collegiate apparel, or other items.
6. Give deadlines to inspire action
This is a proven method on Giving Day - creating urgency for matching or challenging gifts so that anyone with intent to give is more apt to do so.
Set deadlines based on a segment’s interests. For those passionate about athletics or an academic department, start a competition between different groups to see who can get more donations by a specific time. Or establish a matching program for any gifts that come in by a particular deadline - anything that will encourage someone to make a donation right then and there instead of putting it off (and potentially forgetting to do so) is key.
7. Be vocal about the impact of a gift
Donors want to know how their gift is making a positive impact; it not only makes them feel valued, but encourages them to give again in the future. Consider utilizing current students on campus to text donors and share how a gift has positively impacted their college experience. Or send a photo of the building or program that a donation supported.
It’s easier to ask for renewed support when you have proof of what this support can accomplish!
8. Thank, then thank again!
You can’t thank your donors too much - ALWAYS send a thank you. Schools that skip post giving day thank you's risk seeming dismissive of their door gifts. Make sure you have a thank you email on deck and at least one text message planned, thanking everyone that gave and sharing the outcomes of the Giving Day campaign. Be sure to close with a call to action to keep them engaged in the future.
From cleaning up your data to segmentation, personalized messaging, and gamification, having a plan in place is key to a successful giving day.
Texting has proven to be an essential strategy for schools looking to maximize their fundraising efforts, and it's not too late to get started.
Adopting a new texting platform can take as little as two weeks if you move quickly, and you may want to get going fast if you want to raise an additional 20% in funds this year.
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