USM Foundation

Fundraising Talks – November 2020

on December 1, 2020 by Micaela Cameron
Reflecting pool on campus

News and updates from the USM Office of Advancement Research

Letter from the Director

The month of November means we’re getting closer to yet another holiday season. There is a lot going on in November, including the 2020 Presidential election and National Philanthropy Day. There’s no better time to cultivate giving and gratitude and to strategize ways to celebrate our donors. This month, our team attended an APRA-MD virtual conference, where the keynote speaker, Mr. Frank Blake, the former CEO of Home Depot, spoke about the importance of celebrating donors. What ways can your team steward our donors during this Thanksgiving season?

On a different note, a recent report from Anthology, an education technology company, on Adjusting Alumni Engagement Strategies During COVID-19, should not be overlooked as we continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic. A national survey, which included more than 17,360 graduates of four-year colleges, indicated that a quarter of college alumni made a gift to their institution this year. Fundraising has faced many drastic changes during 2020 and there has been many adjustments made in alumni engagement at higher education institutions.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Email has become the dominant mode of communication. Alumni are interested in receiving updates about students and the evolving situations on campuses, networking opportunities, and alumni virtual events.
  • The majority (78 percent) of respondents indicated that they are unlikely to attend an event in-person during 2020, while virtual events are acceptable and preferred more now than in pre-pandemic days.
  • Seven percent of alumni are interested in connecting with current students, especially to share career -related information.
  • One-quarter of respondents indicated that they had made a gift to their institution, while 29 percent never made a gift.
  • Almost one-quarter of respondents said they had been furloughed or laid off since March.

The results from the survey on alumni engagement are especially useful to us as we continue to adapt and find new ways to reach out to our alumni. It is quite impressive to see how higher education institutions have diverted to virtual engagement over the past months. The results of the survey are very likely to come into play even after this year. Meaningful engagement strategies with alumni provide positive yields as we continue to cultivate them for future involvement. I hope institutions can use these insights to adjust and improve alumni engagement strategies as needed.

As always, please feel free to reach out us with questions, comments or any assistance with prospect research!

Read more in this issue of Fundraising Talks>>

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