The next generation of planned giving donors

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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Too often in fundraising, planned giving gets associated solely with targeting retirees or donors who are in their twilight years. In today’s environment, however, planned giving has a much broader potential audience.

planned giving white paper

Download this new white paper on how to engage planned giving donors in their 30’s and 40’s.

Society is now going through what is commonly referred to as “the great wealth transfer.” This is an unprecedented opportunity for your planned giving program to capture donor passion and transform your organization.

Which segment of your donor and prospect database is the best target for planned giving discussions? It may surprise a lot of fundraisers and nonprofit organizations to learn that research indicates the answer to that question is Generation X.

Our new Ruffalo Noel Levitz fundraising white paper, The Next Generation of Planned Giving, addresses Continue Reading »

5 ways to leverage college reunion weekends for alumni giving

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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fivewaysthumbOctober is a common month for educational institutions of all sizes and types to hold reunion and homecoming weekends. In fact, this October I attended my own 20th year class reunion weekend at Northwestern University.

Most institutions have reunion giving programs, some more formalized than others.  A lot of the activity takes place prior to the reunion weekend (often in order to make a big-splash announcement with a ceremonial check). But what are you doing afterwards to secure more gifts from alumni who attended the various reunion weekend activities?

Here are five things you can do to leverage reunion weekend attendance into more annual gifts:

  1. Upload and utilize attendance and registration information
  2. Segment attendees into short-term CYE pools
  3. At least one significant cultivation activity in November
  4. Send follow-up thank you notes from specific sessions
  5. Surveys

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6 Stages for Motivating Student Phonathon Callers

Elaine Ezrapour

Elaine Ezrapour

Program Center Manager at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Elaine Ezrapour was a caller, supervisor and apprentice manager at Binghamton University and then became program center manager at the University of Rochester in 2013.
Elaine Ezrapour

motivationcroppedsmallAs a phonathon manager, student motivation is one of the most important aspects for me to consider in gearing up for a successful year of calling. When my student employees are satisfied in the workplace, their calls are more enthusiastic and personable. Motivated callers also mean less turnover, higher productivity, better calling expertise, and greater buy-in to the value of annual giving. Combined, these elements translate into better performance for the entire phone program.

Simply put, happy callers = results.

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Five Ways To Improve Your Case For Giving

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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5waysHughesAFP defines the case for giving as “the reasons why an organization both needs and merits philanthropic support.”  It is the core of every nonprofit organization, yet how much time have you spent lately thinking about improving and evolving your organization’s case to meet the interests of today’s donors?

Putting quality thought into evaluating your current case could position your organization for improved retention, acquisition and reacquisition in the coming months and year.  Here are five things you can do to enhance your case for giving:

  1. Focus on what makes your cause unique
  2. Build and brag upon your library of successes
  3. Don’t incorporate a one size fits all approach
  4. Create separation in the marketplace
  5. Ask your donors’ and prospects’ opinions

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Five Ways To Cultivate Your Newest Alumni

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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5waysHughesJuly brings forth many things, but in the world of higher education annual giving, it often means a new crop of recent alumni have been added to the database.  Some of these individuals may have given during their spring graduating class gift campaign, but this will mark the first year they have been asked to give as alumni.

Don’t begin your new alumni relationship by immediately asking for money.  Instead, utilize this summer and fall as the perfect time to establish a strong emotional tie for alumni giving.  Here are five things you can do in order to specifically cultivate these new alumni:

  1. Establish annual giving as a brand
  2. Social media signups
  3. Create exclusive, online events
  4. Showcase recent impacts of grassroots giving
  5. Confirm contact information

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How Can You Reach the 98% of High Net Worth Households That Donate Annually?

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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5waysHughesThe Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy reveals a lot of opportunities and trends that you can use to generate annual gifts from wealthy donors.

The great news is that 98.4% of households with incomes above $200,000 and/or a net worth of more than $1 million made charitable gifts in 2013.  Here are a few takeaways and recommendations based on the study that can help drive strategic decisions as you cultivate, steward and solicit these donors for gifts: Continue Reading »

The Value of A Robust Phonathon

Cutler Andrews

Cutler Andrews

Executive Vice President and Senior Consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Cutler Andrews joined RuffaloCODY in December 2010, bringing with him years of advancement experience at a variety of organizations.
Cutler Andrews

Latest posts by Cutler Andrews (see all)

 

handset_in_hand_phonathon_small

In the age of big money, it’s easy to focus on immediate rewards. Almost all institutions have increased their leadership, major and planned giving staff. Call it the “great wealth transfer” or whatever you want, we’re likely to see some big gift totals in the coming years. Donors are being very generous.

Are you losing donors faster than you are gaining them? Continue Reading »

5 Ways to Maximize Your Year End Budget

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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5waysHughes

Every person who has ever managed a budget at one time or another has found themselves with leftover funds at the end of a fiscal year. For annual giving offices, the question becomes how to use those leftover funds to achieve success not just this fiscal year, but the upcoming fiscal year and beyond.

Here are five things you can do in order to maximize your annual giving program’s end of budget year leftovers:

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Alumni Passion Matters

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Brian Gawor

Vice President for Research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Brian Gawor, CFRE, is a former annual fund and major gift professional who now focuses on research and benchmarking to drive fundraising strategy. He is also a doctoral student studying higher education giving.
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ggeeksmallThe stats are rough.

When I tell my friends that only about 8% of alumni nationally contribute to their college or university each year, they think that us fundraisers are really fighting an uphill battle.

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Earth Day Green Practice: Coupon Codes to Enhance Online Giving

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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go_green_smallToday is the 45th Anniversary of the first “Earth Day.” This is a day when significant attention is paid to ways to improve the global environment. In the fundraising world, one of the “greenest” practices is to enhance your online giving program. One way to do that is to consider using coupon codes. Continue Reading »

Five Ways That Social Media Can Enhance Annual Giving

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Chris Hughes

Director of Fundraising Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Chris Hughes is a former Director of Annual Giving who has more than two decades of experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and organizational success in higher education and nonprofit fundraising.
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social media icons shutterstockHow to best utilize social media in order to impact your fundraising program is an important discussion for every organization. In today’s society, incorporating social media into your multichannel mix is a must in order to engage your donors year-round.

With a growing number of options for the social media channel, here are five things you can do in order to maximize the effectiveness of social media for your annual giving program:

  1. Continue Reading »

Fundraising Voices: Cole Swanson, Writer

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Brian Gawor

Vice President for Research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Brian Gawor, CFRE, is a former annual fund and major gift professional who now focuses on research and benchmarking to drive fundraising strategy. He is also a doctoral student studying higher education giving.
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ColeswansonYour message to donors is important and preparing the wording of the perfect mail, email or call is crucial. The Ruffalo Noel Levitz fundraising writing team serves hundreds of institutions and charities worldwide.

I sat down with Cole Swanson, a member of the writing team to ask about the writing process and specifically, his tips for using phone fundraising scripts.

How long have you been with
the writing team?
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