Our thoughts are filled with the global pandemic that we are all facing. During this time, we have shifted to remote working and we want to assure you that we have access to research resources and tools that enable us to work efficiently to perform prospect research tasks remotely. We hope you are also finding this time to adapt and powerfully engage with your constituents by creating meaningful moments and memorable experiences.
As our community encounters new challenges, there are many resources out there to help fundraising and advancement professionals. This might be a good time for us to turn our attention to a report by EAB – Advancement Forum COVID-19 Survey Report . This report is a result of an EAB survey of higher education institutions to find out how advancement operations are responding to coronavirus. The survey report provides some meaningful information on what other institutions in the higher education industry are considering and doing during the COVID-19 crisis. Many in higher education are thinking about topics like events, fundraising activities, metrics and other policies and procedures related to advancement operations.
Based on precautionary restrictions that emerged from COVID-19, many institutions are leaning towards cancelling or postponing events such as commencement, reunion and giving day. Development professionals are seeking new ways to conduct fundraising activities and crafting new strategies to adapt to the current situation. Institutions are focusing on meeting the current and future needs of students and many are in the process of creating student emergency assistance funds, if they do not have one in existence already. Fundraising goals and metrics are also being revised to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on fundraising activities.
At this time, development professionals may focus on their most loyal donors and continue to engage them in ways that could yield mutual benefits. Loyal donors could be more receptive to change and may adjust easily to a new fundraising strategy. This may be the time to re-evaluate and qualify your top tier of prospects or donors who can be engaged in different ways under these circumstances. It may be valuable to use existing studies on different demographics and generational groups to identify effective methods or channels to communicate with donors or prospective donors. Some may be more approachable by phone calls, while others may be quicker to respond to emails or social media. It might be even helpful to understand the preferred types of social media networks that can be used for communication with your constituents.
Now is the time to try out existing and new technological tools to create strategic changes that sustain and grow our donor and prospect relationships. We are always here to assist you with your prospect research needs. As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team
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