Colleges across the country are preparing for Giving Day but there are plenty of other important headlines.
Fundraising messaging is everywhere, meaning your institution might not be front-and-center in the minds of your alumni. That doesn't mean the advancement efforts of your team aren't important. Here are some ways you can use 2-way texting to reach your goals.
Build coalitions of stakeholders
You need an audience of engaged listeners. Giving Tuesday and giving days are more than an opportunity to raise money. They present the chance to re-engage lapsed donors and bring new donors into your community. Dollars come from people, and stories play a large part in whether or not people donate to your institution. Work with departments, teams, students, and your alumni network to discuss outcomes and visions that will captivate your audience.
Using texting to share stories of how past fundraising dollars have helped current students - and incorporate those students into your campaigns, when possible!
Those are the kinds of stories that elicit emotion. This planning process also helps the institution prioritize its efforts when you have other champions positioned throughout your community.
Import useful data
To get the most out of texting, make sure you import relevant, timely, and accurate data. Not only will this important step help you avoid the headache of texting someone about a cause they don’t care about, but it will also help you focus your efforts where they matter most. You'll spend less time trying to connect with outdated contacts. Plus, updated information helps you make your texts as personal as possible.
Utilize Shared Inboxes for ambassadors
There are many enthusiastic alumni and students who would love to help solicit gifts by reaching out to appropriate audiences. For example, members of your student government could reach out to student government alumni. These ambassadors are more apt to engage their personal networks on their personal devices, but they’re likely nervous about their personal mobile number going out to dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of alumni. To prevent this apprehension, take advantage of unlimited individual user options and assign them to shared inboxes.
Gamify to create a friendly push
There's a reason 'The Price Is Right' has been on TV for decades - people love to win. We are all wired to promote and protect those who share similar interests and identities. Use that instinct to gamify donations. Friendly rivalries are a great start. If you notice that you have no donors in Ohio, text your alumni in Ohio and let them know how many more gifts or pledges have come in from Michigan. If the basketball team has raised a lot of money for your department of athletics, let the other sports teams know. You can use the same idea for affinity groups and graduation years.
Craft your messages now
Perhaps the most important part of any fundraising effort is the message received by your alumni. Prepare messages that are conversational and engaging, not overly formal.
Instead of a general “help” message, see if your team can find specific stories of students in need (without naming names) that alumni can relate to. If students in a department are in need of resources, shape your story to talk about the eventual results those resources will help provide. People will rally around a cause when the finish line is clear.
Templates save time
Crafting a message on the spot can be stressful and problematic. Once you’ve formed a plan, use texting templates to ensure your team is on the same page and on message.
Digital event invitation
Two-way texting improves results
Given the current hybrid climate, schools that embrace digital fundraising channels will be more effective. And, when it comes to financially supporting a cause, people are naturally going to have questions.
It’s not enough to simply send out a text to your alumni contacts with a message and link to give support. A two-way texting platform allows you to answer important questions and engage with your audience.
Two-way text messages have been a game-changer for our university because we’re able to have a 1-on-1 connection to our alumni and our donors. It allows us to have a VIP-type service and provide any information that they’re looking for.
- Emily Porter - Assistant Director, Student & Young Alumni Giving
Successful and well-respected alumni can make a powerful impact. Involve your key alumni influencers to send texts on your advancement department’s behalf. A text-takeover is an effective way to establish relationships, increase gifts, and reach fundraising goals.
Giving Day channels a universal desire to help. Use this event as a way to direct people's desire to help and amplify your message.