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Annual giving

University Development Offices: Here’s How to Increase Annual Giving


As Stanford University’s Stanford Social Innovation Review states: “development has become one of the most under-appreciated functions in the nonprofit world”. And yet this task is essential, since it not only supports success, but in the long-run it ensures survival.

In light of this truth, university development offices use a variety of marketing tactics to reach out to their annual giving base (i.e. alumni, parents and other potential donors) by running special alumni events, or through direct mail, email, telethons and more.

Declining Donations Put Universities at Risk

However, despite their very best efforts to increase revenue year to year – many university development offices are finding that their annual giving revenue has started to plateau; or may already be in decline. This means that their annual giving base has become, or is on the way to becoming, an underperforming asset (yet, this asset that has so much untapped revenue potential).

In response to this, many university development offices have embraced more creative fundraising approaches, such as those that involve social media and are meant to engage Millennials – who, as noted by Georgia’s largest college newspaper The Red & Black, donate significantly less to alma maters than previous generations.

Finding innovative and more creative ways to raise funds is a wise move, and one that university development offices should be applauded and encouraged for taking. But, keep in mind, there are two main actions that university development offices are trying to influence - how many times an individual donates per year and HOW MUCH they donate. So, right now we're going to focus on the latter - something we all call "ask amounts". University development offices should start focusing on making a strategic adjustment when it comes to how much they ask, because unless and until they do, they will continue leaving vast sums of donor revenue “on the table”. And that is where ExactAsk enters the picture.

Predictive Analytics & Maximizing Donor Revenue

ExactAsk is a patented predictive analytics platform, which enables university development offices to predict precisely how much they should ask from each member in their alumni giving database.

The key aspect that fundamentally distinguishes ExactAsk from traditional fundraising software is that the latter analyzes donor net worth and wealth, and as such, focuses on CAPACITY as the only predictor. This is an important predictor, but it is only one part of the puzzle.

The other part – which only ExactAsk delivers – is analyzing each donor’s online behavior and profile, and combining it with other contextual data (i.e. from the Census Bureau), in order to predict how much each donor is WILLING to give.

It is ExactAsk’s unique and unprecedented ability to combine CAPACITY + WILLINGNESS that gives university development offices the information they need to determine which donors are likely willing to give more – and how much more.

In addition, ExactAsk enables university development offices with the ability to “scout” potential major donors early in their giving history – which is critical for identifying the next generation financial supporters, and nurturing them up the value chain as quickly as possible.

The Bottom Line

ExactAsk empowers university development offices with the actionable intelligence they need to maximize revenue across all of their annual giving campaigns – targeted annual giving and ongoing mass-audience appeals -- and leave as little “money on the table” as possible. To get more information on ExactAsk, please click here - we'd love to hear from you!