Colleges across the country are organizing to help students affected by COVID-19
Nonprofits are answering the call to join the movement and be a part of Giving Tuesday. It’s a global effort emergency response to the overwhelming need caused by COVID-19 and an opportunity for alumni to help students from their alma mater who have been affected by the pandemic.
This is a time when fundraising messaging is everywhere. It's important that the efforts of your team stand out.
Build coalitions of stakeholders
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 people donate based on the stories told by your institution. Work with departments, teams, students, and your alumni network to discuss outcomes and visions that will captivate your audience. This also helps the institution prioritize your 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, it will help you focus your efforts where they matter most.
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
We are all wired to promote and protect those who share our similar interests and identities. Use that instinct to gamify donations. 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 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. Telling a story is more powerful than asking for help.
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 isolated 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 has 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.
Additional Giving Tuesday resources
While colleges and universities line up to participate in Giving Tuesday, there are plenty of resources available from schools sharing their success stories. Check out the Giving Tuesday resource page for higher education. It’s filled with toolkits and case studies to guide your Advancement team. There is also a page dedicated to the different ways in which people can participate in Giving Tuesday.
Giving Tuesday channels a universal desire to help. Use this event as a way to direct people's desire to help and amplify your message.