At the outset of Capture Higher Ed’s recent university advancement webinar, Developing Alumni Relationships that Drive Participation, Kevin Bauman, Capture’s director of philanthropic initiatives, established why alumni choose an online relationship with their alma maters.
There are four main reasons:
- Convenience: “Everyone is busy!” Bauman says. “Mailers and phone calls happen on the institution’s calendar not the donor’s calendar.”
- Necessity: “40% of visitors to the website live out of state,” he says. “A university’s website becomes the primary source for those who live hundreds of miles away.”
- Enjoyment: “50% of alumni visiting their alma mater’s website graduated before 1985,” says Bauman, pointing to a statistic that is often surprising. Yes, older alumni are active on a university’s website. “They are nearing retirement and have more leisure time.”
- And the biggest reason why alumni choose an online relationship, Bauman says. “They have been trained that way. When they register for an event, they go online. When they want to know if the volleyball team won, they go online. When they click a link in the e-newsletter, it takes them to the website.”
Right Message, Real Time
Not only are a university’s digital channels updated in real time, institutions also drive their e-communications to landing pages on its website. They update news stories, sports scores and student interest articles.
For alumni, all digital roads lead to the university’s website, Bauman says.
But what is the appropriate message to them? The right time is often not a solicitation, Bauman says.
“Alumni want to feel like more than a checkbook, but the high costs of scaling traditional channels means most pieces include a solicitation. That may be why 41% of wealthy donors say they stop giving because they are solicited too frequently.”
The goal: You want to build relationships using digital channels that make all other forms of solicitation more successful.
In Developing Alumni Relationships that Drive Participation, Bauman outlines how marketing automation strategies can build such relationships, make alumni more likely to give, increase average gifts, and drive lifetime giving without breaking your advancement budget.
Go here to check out a recording of the webinar.
By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed