USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – July 2021

on July 21, 2021 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

A “new normal” in higher education comes with many adjustments, but also fresh perspectives in the philanthropy and fundraising world. While restrictions on COVID-19 are lifted, institutions and nonprofits are enacting their return-to-office plans. In the fundraising world, we are analyzing giving data from the first half of 2021 to see if we can garner any insights about philanthropy as we move toward a new, post-pandemic world.

An article titled “Knocking on The Right Door” from CASE’s Currents magazine talks about how data assists in identifying the right donors. The article highlights the importance of quantitative and qualitative data and research for advancement. Quantitative data can be measured or counted, such as dollar amounts or the number of donors. Qualitative data is non-numerical data, such as details from a meeting or an event and can be found through contact reports, event reports, and surveys. However, the article reminds us that qualitative data needs to be organized in a way that allows you to analyze it. Many fundraisers and prospect research professionals know the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative data to identify and gather meaningful insights and get a better picture of prospective donors. Institutions that analyze data can best understand the characteristics of donors, how much they give, and the reason for their support.

According to the key findings in the 2021 First Quarter Fundraising Report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, there has been an increase in the number of donors and dollars in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021. There was a 13.6 percent increase in new donor retention, as 2020 donors continued to contribute to the same organizations. However, the data shows that giving to the human services sector increased while donations decreased for all other types of charities. Take a look at the FEP report’s dashboard to read more insights from the report. In order to continue the momentum of increasing support to higher education institutions, donors should be communicated with regularly about the impact of their gifts. When communicating, use personalized messaging to strengthen engagement. Mining data on existing donors can help craft custom messages to specific audiences, thus enhancing your fundraising strategies.

As we all know, when audiences and supporters feel connected to the mission of an organization and know the impact they can make with their support, they will be more willing to make generous contributions. We wish you a safe summer as we navigate through the second half of the calendar year. As always, feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!

Best Regards,
Sapna and USM Advancement Research Team

Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

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