USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – May 2021

on May 20, 2021 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

This year, commencement season is even more special as we celebrate the success and resilience of the Class of 2021. As fundraising professionals, we should rethink existing strategies and create new strategies to cultivate and engage a new class of alumni who are more diverse than ever. Furthermore, as COVID-related restrictions start to roll back, fundraisers should start thinking about the future of philanthropy, post-pandemic.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s article, Spring Forward: 5 Ways to Advance Your Fundraising Now, provides valuable tips for fundraising in a post-pandemic world. They suggest that fundraisers should:

  • Schedule face-to-face meetings with donors and prospective donors, in-person if possible. Though some supporters may still want to engage virtually, there are definitely those who are open to communicating in-person. These meetings may lead to an opportunity to discuss changes in philanthropy and may generate discussions about your donor’s continued role in philanthropy.
  • Plan hybrid events. Many future events will have a virtual and live option for attendees. Institutions should plan events that allow individuals to interact with each other socially, while providing them with an option at their comfort level. As we head into warmer days, outdoor events may be more appealing to some supporters as they may be eager for a chance to socialize with others.
  • Take advantage of greater giving by lower-level donors. Online giving can be utilized to increase lower-level and mid-level giving. Select a digital platform that works best with your existing database and processes gifts seamlessly. In addition to creating specific financial goals and inspiring messages for your institution, digital platforms can allow supporters to share the university’s message with their own peers.
  • Convert pandemic donors to annual donors. Identify donors who supported your institution during the pandemic and transform them to annual or recurring donors. Segment donors of different giving levels and personalize stewardship to show appreciation and build stronger relationships.
  • Prepare for capital campaigns. Recent reports on philanthropy indicate that capital campaigns were not a priority at many organizations during the last year. This might be a good time to plan and prepare for future capital campaigns.

After implementing these tips, fundraisers should segment their donor database to identify first-time donors who gave during the pandemic, recurring donors, major gift donors, attendees and supporters of virtual events, and individuals who did not support last year.

We hope everyone has wonderful plans for the summer. 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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