USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – June 2021

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

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

Dear Colleagues,
Higher education institutions are wrapping up summer commencement amidst the end of FY21. While advancement shops celebrate and count generous contributions from donors, they also bid farewell to recent graduates and begin to build relationships with these new alumni. As we know, relationship-building is the key to success for all fundraising programs. A strong relationship with an institution begins when a student chooses to attend an institution.

An article from Educause, Relationship Building: The Key to Alumni Engagement, notes that institutional leaders should utilize technology before students begin their life on campus, from the recruitment and admissions process, to enhancing student experiences while on campus, and engaging individuals after graduation through alumni relations. Institutions should use a centralized platform to analyze data about prospective students in order to deliver timely personalized messages during the recruitment and admissions process. Technology can also enhance student experiences. King’s College London used data to understand student success and ultimately deliver better services to improve the student experience. After graduation, smart technologies help nurture new alumni. Existing data on students and graduates can help create custom strategies to engage new alumni. By creating positive, personalized experiences for prospective students, current students, and alumni, institutions will foster meaningful and mutually beneficial lifelong partnerships.

On a different note, the 2021 Giving Report from Fidelity Charitable shares findings from a study on the extraordinary circumstances that inspired generosity in 2020. In 2020, Fidelity Charitable made two million donor-recommended grants, totaling $9.1 billion. The grants supported more than 170,000 unique nonprofits. The report indicates that the number of donors increased from 88,672 in 2011 to 254,655 in 2020. Education is among the top three sectors in percentage of grant volumes, receiving 23 percent of grant dollars in 2020. Despite an unprecedented year, the report proves that donor support has more than doubled in the past ten years. Interestingly, only 4 percent of DAF donors were anonymous, while 83 percent of donors included their names and addresses, meaning advancement offices can identify these donors and steward them by tracking their information in donor databases. Most grants were made to organizations that donors’ have supported in the past, and 27 percent were new grants. Contributions of non-publicly traded assets (such as private stock, limited partnership interest, or cryptocurrency) surpassed $1.6 billion in 2020. Cryptocurrency contributions went from $13 million in 2019 to $28 million in 2020. Accepting cryptocurrencies as donations may need to be considered by nonprofits.

I hope you are able to use these valuable findings to implement new strategies. 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

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