Last month, Funderful teamed up with Dave Celone, renowned for running the most successful annual giving programme in the world, to host an interactive workshop for Oxford colleges on creating emotionally charged campaigns to engage alumni and boost participation. Together with the workshop guests, we discussed and analyzed some of the biggest challenges that campaign managers face today.
Having concluded two recent Oxford-based digital campaigns – one for The Rhodes Trust another for Wolfson College, the campaign managers at both institutions also shared their experiences with the attendees.
The Rhodes Trust’s David Mungall outlined how, for the second year in a row, “People respond to the transparency [of a Funderful campaign] – they take ownership of the campaign”, while Wolfson College’s Elliot Falvert-Martin explained that for their campaign, Funderful and Wolfson came up with a non-standard approach that proved to be highly successful. “We did not push alumni to donate – we put equal weights on two options – leaving a memory and leaving a mark. Alumni loved looking at the memories submitted, loved to submit their favorite; many who gave a memory also donated.”
The workshop was a vibrant event, aimed at identifying key challenges of engaging new donors and discussing ideas how to address them. The main challenges identified were:
- Donor campaign burnout
- Building a new idea pipeline
- Managing regular giving volunteers / reps
Here are some of the most memorable discussion takeaways:
- Alumni are hungry for a digital connection –
fundraisers need to address the fact that alumni are at the forefront in the digital era, and they crave to experience something exciting;
- A creative, quirky approach engages the alumni and will create a desire to give back even in a community without a tradition of giving back;
- UK colleges and universities don’t need to mimic the US approach; they can leapfrog the US results by using best global annual giving practices combined with emotionally charged digital campaigns;
- Creating and managing a regular giving volunteer / rep programme no longer requires expanding the team – technology can help easily scale the programmes.*
After the workshop, Dave Celone, fundraising consultant and former director of Tuck Annual Giving at Dartmouth College in Hanover NH (achieving a 72% world-record annual alumni participation rate), commented that “The future of fundraising is today with Funderful. Digital and global best practices, and a wealth of regular/annual campaign giving tools are finally available to all development shops, large and small, with Funderful’s latest online tools. Digital campaigns are now easy to use and manage, without having to hire more staff. I’m impressed!”
We sincerely thank all the workshop participants for their contribution – you guys made this workshop both exciting and meaningful. Here’s to many more workshops to come!
*Funderful’s Orchestra volunteer management software is built help establish a world class class/country/company agent programme at the fraction of the typical resource requirement.