Here’s How We Increased Average Donor Giving to Over $1,047…and Skyrocketed Alumni Participation

Are you sick of your donors not giving any money? Unhappy with the LACK of HBCU Alumni Giving?

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It doesn’t matter the size of your university, ask anyone and they’ll tell you that African Americans just are not giving. And if you’re a VP of Institutional Advancement or Executive Director …you’re likely feeling the squeeze.

And you’re not alone…

FACT: Only 7-9% of HBCU Alumni are giving back to their University

And this 9% figure isn’t something we made up…it isn’t even our own research.

This is straight from the horse’s mouth: http://thehbcufoundation.org/how-hbcus-can-increase-alumni-donation-rates/

That’s right…according to the HBCU foundation, on average only 9% of your alumni give back annually.

So let’s say you bust your hump to get 20% to give. That effort is largely wasted because (again, on average) the average donor gives less than $500…

African Americans just aren’t giving like their White counterparts?

And this is somewhat true!!  Generally speaking, African American per capita wealth is lower. But HBCU class participation is dismal. Especially compared to majority institutions like Harvard and Stanford.

Checkout Stanford’s participation last year:

They are averaging 39.6% participation. Crazy!

How have we traditionally combated this problem? Traditionally, we have created call centers, along with sending emails and postcards.

But, call centers are “a thing of the past.” Even Stanford, which set the standard for alumni giving, announced last year that they are getting rid of call centers. Here is a change of policy bulletin sent out in 2016.

Plus, call centers are going to cost you.

But don’t worry…as you’ll soon see it doesn’t cost very much to increase donations, and if you do it right you can actually generate more donations from your class reunions for a fraction of the cost.

So how do you get around these changes?

Is there a system or “hack” that will give your class campaigns the donations they deserve?

There is, and that’s exactly what this page is all about…

7 Strategies For Alumni Give Campaigns

I went to an HBCU myself. So, when I saw that the alumni participation rate was less than 9%, I knew I had to come up with a solution.

So rather than panic, our team got to work…

In addition to running 177 different campaigns, we also consulted with subject-matter experts to come up with the ideal strategies for maximizing our results with class participation campaigns. We found 4 reasons why HBCU alumni don’t give.

  1. They don’t know how or where to give.
    Even if it is on your site, if no one asks, they will not give. Plus, Universities often don’t have updated or correct alumni information.
  2. They don’t know what they are giving to.
    We live in a world of skepticism. People need to know what to give to.
  3. They want to feel important.
  4. They don’t know how much to give.

We went in the lab to solve these problems. After 7 months of grinding, we were left with 7 Core Strategies that incorporated all of our best practices.

Here is what we learned…

Lesson #1: People Give More When They See Other People Give

It is one thing to see other people giving… But, it is entirely a new thing to see your friends giving.

We found out that we can bump giving by showing classmates who have also given.

Something miraculous happened…donors were trying to match and even one up their friends. It created a spike in giving.

So, we decided to take this further. We decided to included a very subtle popup to see if the donor was willing to one-up the top donor during the payment process

The result? Another bump in giving.

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Lesson #2: How We Increased Average Per Donor Giving to Over $1,000

First, in our marketing collateral we suggested that they give $1,000 and over.

Then it hit me. I was at a restaurant and I thought why doesn’t the waiter ask me, “Can you give me 18% tip please?” It is because they are scared. Most of our clients are the same way—scared to make “The Big Ask.” So what did restaurant do to combat this problem? They suggest the give (tip) amount at the time of payment.

Why don’t universities suggest a give amount at the time of giving? We added suggested give amounts as buttons.

We found out that people are naturally lazy. They would rather click one of the buttons than input a custom amount.

Lesson #3: Ask People to Share With Classmates

We mentioned before that people give when they see their friends giving. But, people give even more when they are asked to give by their friends. We wanted to make it extremely easy to share donor pages by creating easy-to-remember shortened links.

This resulted in two things.

1. The university gets updated donor information. Let’s face it. The classmate who was in the same dorm or the frat brother who was on the same line knows how to reach an out of touch potential donor more quickly.

Friends can ask friends to give WITHOUT annoying the donor like the standard call center. This is probably why Stanford got rid of its call center last year. Plus, donors are ultra-responsive when friends ask them to take action.

The results?

2. Classmates started sharing the give links like crazy.

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Lesson #4: Give the Proper “Thank You”

The VP of Institutional Advancements sent a hand written letter.

We also wanted the person to feel good right after giving. Research done by Gardon at University of  Pennsylvania suggested that African Americans want to feel special. We all want to feel important. We accomplished this in two ways: acknowledging gifts on a leaderboard and the 1-second party:

1. Acknowledging gifts

2. One Second Party

Here is what the one second party looked like:

When a person donates, we put a one second celebration on the thank you page. It gives a unique feeling of joy. You want to reduce donor reluctance. This increases the amount on the second donation.

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Lesson #5: Know Where They Are Giving (or Where the Money is Going)

When asked, “Why don’t you give?” an overwhelming majority of alumni said, “Because, I don’t know where my money is going.” Let’s face it. With the Morris Brown scandal and online identity theft, the world of giving got a lot more skeptical.

We allowed donors to see where they are giving. They can see where they are giving to and how much money the campaign generated to date. If they wanted to give to a football team, they can.

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Lesson #6: Make It Extremely Easy To Give:

We didn’t want to make the give process like the class registrar process in 1999. We wanted to make giving as simple as possible. We started a text to give campaign. Simply text  “GIVE” to a designated number and class alumni was sent a link. This worked extreme well for galas and graduations.

Lesson #7: Create a way to create a campaign in less 5 minutes

Creating and managing campaigns cost money. Major institutions have a VP of Alumni Affairs, VP of Educational Advancement, Class Giving Officer, call centers, et cetera. But HBCUs simply do not have the infrastructure. Donor relationship employees are lucky if their budget for pencils gets approved, let alone a budget for more personnel. We wanted to make sure we can set up a campaign in minutes.

Personally, I wouldn’t attempt to do all these strategies alone. It would take thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, and like we said before, most HBCUs don’t have the infrastructure.

Don’t Run Another Class Give Campaign

Have you ever heard the expression: “Pioneers get scalped but settlers prosper?”

The same applies here!

We’ve already done all the hard work running 177 campaigns, made all the mistakes, and figured out what works (and what doesn’t). And believe me, we made some mistakes and “got scalped” a few times along the way…

…and we do this stuff for a living!!

That’s why we’re so careful to create a software with WHAT WORKS so you can duplicate these results across your alumni give campaigns.

In the past this software was for our clients, but now I’m making a select few available to the public. (You’ll see why in just a bit.)

So now you don’t have to go it alone!

Normally this software would sale for thousands of dollars per month, but for a very limited time I’ll let you have instant access to this software for no monthly subscription cost.

Yep…no monthly subscription cost.

We only get paid when you see results (4% each transaction):

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Literally, you can:

  • Increase your class participation rate;
  • Increase you amount raised per donor;
  • Become a hero at your university by being the guy (or gal) who FINALLY moves their university into the 21st century allowing their university to accept mobile gifts;
  • Save time (and money) by executing campaigns in minutes instead of days;
  • Go from single digit alumni participation to literally to double digit competing with the big boys like Stanford and Harvard; and,
  • Create viral class giving campaigns

The choice is yours…

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