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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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 »

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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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 »

5 Ways to Boost Fundraising Results in the Second Half of Your Fiscal Year

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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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jan1_calendarJanuary is often a time for development offices to reflect on their calendar year-end push as well as the current results at (for many) the halfway point of their fiscal year. Whether your numbers are up, down, or flat, here are five ways you can do to boost fundraising results during the winter months:

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3 Key Trends and Tips for Appealing to Millennials as 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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millennials_tnNot too long ago, marketing to the Millennial generation (born after 1979) was looked upon as niche more than mainstream. That has changed. With ever-increasing class sizes, an institution’s alumni base from the Millennial generation will soon surpass alumni from Generation X.

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Your Fiscal Year Just Ended. Time to Start Looking at Calendar Year-End?

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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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calendar-dateFor many organizations, the calendar moving from June 30 to July 1 marks the end of one fiscal year and the beginning of another.  At the same time, it marks a time when organizations should begin focusing on calendar year-end giving strategies…and not just for the month of December.  Collectively, the months of November and December mark the strongest consecutive months for charitable giving in the United States.

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I am a Fundraising Analytics Nightmare: A Case for Fundraising Fusion

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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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ggeeksmallEvery year, I get a call from a great student at my alma mater. I always pledge, and request a pledge card because I want to see what they’re sending out. They also send me an email. I pay all my bills online once a month, so the email gets deleted, the pledge card goes on the pile. At the end of the month, I just type in my school’s website address and click the “give now” button. My alma mater has no idea that this gift was inspired by the phone call.

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