Infographic: Digital Engagement

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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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How are you engaging donors digitally? Interested in how your young alumni/young donor program compares? Check out our recently released survey report. It includes information about how many of your peers are using emerging tactics like crowdfunding, giving days, and targeted digital advertising to engage all of their donors.

Here are some highlights:

The survey tells us that digital engagement is highly valued by fundraisers for engaging new donors in particular–but we haven’t yet tapped its full potential.

Download the full report now to find out more.

We’re out to reinvent fundraising here at RNL, and if you would like to take your digital engagement to the next level with a platform of highly personalized engagement tools, drop us a line.

Friday update: Got Millennials?

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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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The Friday Fundraising Update collects fundraising industry insights and success stories and delivers them to you each Friday from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

This week, some great articles about using fundraising data to engage Millennial donors and raise more money.

From around the web:

Spotlight: Join us in Denver and get Millennial

Fundraising data: The Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference will feature sessions on online giving and Millennial donors.

It’s your last chance to register for our Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement conference in Denver. We’ll be showcasing great strategies for engaging Millennial donors as well as your whole donor population.

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Insights from our Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference

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Josh Robertson

Vice President of Product Strategy at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Josh has over 17 years of experience in the industry, oversees fundraising strategy, analytics and product development and has worked with over 100+ institutions.
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More than100 giving and engagement professionals joined us in Atlanta for #RuffaloCON16, a summit on digital fundraising strategies and tactics to engage Millennials and use emerging digital solutions. We had a blast, and here are few things we learned:

The Millennials are rising

This important group will soon make up half of most higher education institution alumni bases, and institutions want to increase engagement with this influential and passionate group of young donors. It’s a hot topic that we received a lot of questions from all types of attendees at the conference, from vice presidents of advancement, to directors of annual giving, to direct digital appeal professionals and leaders of non-profit organizations.

The time for digital is now

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Don’t be a zombie about digital fundraising

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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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It’s that time of year when our streets will be filled with vampires, scary clowns, and Pokemon Trainers. Unfortunately, our fundraising offices might also be filling up with zombies.

Digital fundraising strategies add life to fundraising managament

Don’t be afraid of digital fundraising, it helps you reach donors in channels they use every day.

What do I mean? When we hit the road to talk with fundraisers about emerging digital fundraising strategies, we heard this:

“Yeah, I know that I need to get on that digital thing, but I’ll work on it next year.”

“My VP went to a conference and says I need to ‘go digital’, but I don’t know enough. I’m paralyzed.”

“We’re afraid to change our strategy, even though our appeal results are declining.”

Out of tradition, fear, or lack of knowledge, many fundraisers are just repeating their traditional strategies like zombies. Continue Reading »

Millennial Impact Founder Talks Cause Engagement

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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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Derrick Feldmann is the president of Achieve and founder of The Millennial Impact Report

Hear Derrick Feldmann discuss Millennial engagement in this episode of Fundraising Voices.

Derrick Feldmann is the president of Achieve and founder of The Millennial Impact Report, which has given us some of the best research we have on how young people engage causes, make donations, and express passion for social change. He’ll be the opening keynote at our upcoming Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference in Atlanta, and I got him on the phone to talk about his research and give a preview of what he’ll tell us at the event.

As Derrick describes it, how your organization leverages people, relevancy, and creativity makes a big difference to gaining a group of people who are willing to “belong.” With the right tools and resources, our job is to take those people from simply belonging to “owning” a cause.

There are some of the key point’s from Derrick’s new book: Social Movements for Good. This book is really good. It is an incredible resource for fundraisers or cause professionals to learn about how to engage any generation of supporters.

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If you join us at the conference in October, you’ll get a copy of Derrick’s book, hear more great insights, and further your engagement of all your supporters online. You will also hear strategies to engage Millennials, who can really give your cause a boost. Check out the agenda and speaker list. Podcast listeners can receive a 20% discount, using code DIGITAL20.

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New Fundraising Voices Podcast: Millennial Engagement

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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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Katherine Lisciani

Katherine Lisciani has been named a Top Millennial in Marketing by LinkedIn and will be a keynote speaker at the Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference.

Katherine Lisciani is a millennial, and over at Millennovation.com she has been named a top millennial marketer by LinkedIn. She’s helped organize powerful campaigns to engage and energize young supports for causes.

In advance of Katherine’s appearance as a keynote at our upcoming Digital Philanthropy and Millennial Engagement Conference (Oct. 13-14 in Atlanta), I got Katherine on the line to talk about best practices for marketing to a generation that has increasing influence over our results. For many causes, and particularly higher education institutions, young people are the largest part of our constituent base, but we’re engaging them with the same old tactics that we’ve used on their parents and grandparents.

Listen to the podcast to hear a taste of what Katherine will talk about in October.

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One thing we talk about in the podcast is the Global Citizen Festival, Continue Reading »

4 strategies for engaging Gen X and Millennial donors

Brandon Trissler

Brandon Trissler

Director of Communications at Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Brandon Trissler has more than two decades of experience in marketing and communications, and has produced papers and reports on fundraising and enrollment management for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. Beginning his career at Oxford University Press, he has worked at RNL since 2001.
Brandon Trissler

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Making connections with Millennial donors

How can you connect and cultivate relationships with Millennial donors who have different behaviors and expectations about giving?

Generation X and Millennial donors present a unique challenge and opportunity for engagement. These segments are philanthropic, but with two disparate donor behaviors. On the one hand, we see increased engagement in micro-giving to many causes (via crowdfunding and other mechanisms). On the other, we see a tendency to focus large donations to fewer recipients. These donor segments also demonstrate a strong focus on “causes” (rather than institutions), and a tendency to combine volunteerism with their primary charitable giving. Consider one recent report in which 47 percent of Millennial alumni reported making a donation to their alma mater, while 75 percent noted they would donate to other organizations before their alma mater. Continue Reading »

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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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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