Study reveals trends in annual giving programs for colleges and universities
May 21, 2018—Ruffalo Noel Levitz, leading provider of higher education fundraising, student success, and enrollment services, released results from a study of college and university fundraisers. Key findings indicate an increased focus on parent fundraising and leadership giving, wide adoption of time-sensitive tactics like crowdfunding and giving days, and an interest in using data better to personalize communications.
The study draws from an online survey administered in April 2018 to 251 fundraising professionals and includes additional data sources and interview responses to uncover current practices and growth opportunities in higher education annual giving programs.
Analysis of survey results revealed five key trends as reported by higher education advancement professionals:
- Parent fundraising has doubled in the past decade.
- 85 percent of institutions have leadership giving societies for annual donors, and look to this group to meet annual dollar goals and also as a source of future major givers.
- 75 percent of fundraisers have adopted a highly engaging digital tactic such as crowdfunding, targeted digital advertising, or an online giving day.
- Raising more money from fewer alumni donors is a common scenario.
- Integrating multichannel communications is a top priority for fundraisers, and many say they do not receive enough resources right now.
“Fundraisers have adopted digital tactics to reach donors but feel that they need to do a better job integrating these communications with traditional channels like mail and phone,” says Brian Gawor, CFRE and vice president for research at Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “This requires a data-driven approach and increased personalization of donor communications. Key donor groups such as parents and leadership givers are a top priority for institutions, and they’ll be putting more resources into parent fundraising and leadership giving in the coming years.”
Campuswide challenges such as stagnant enrollment growth and rising student financial aid needs, coupled with shifting donor preferences have created even more pressure on institutions to reach growing fundraising goals.
“Annual giving programs are being challenged to raise more immediate funds while changing their engagement strategies to match new donor preferences,” says Caryn D. Stein, vice president of marketing for Ruffalo Noel Levitz. “The most successful institutions will be those that can focus their resources more intelligently, to reach the right donors at the right time through the right channels. Ruffalo Noel Levitz is able to help fundraisers scale to meet increased demand and better connect with donors through actionable insights we’ve gained from the millions of alumni we reach to create meaningful impact for colleges and universities around the world.”
Advancement Leaders Speak: Annual Giving Multichannel Best Practices is available at RuffaloNL.com/ALSAnnual2018.
For more information about Ruffalo Noel Levitz, visit https://www.ruffalonl.com.
About Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Ruffalo Noel Levitz is the leading provider of higher education enrollment, student success, and fundraising solutions. More than 1,900 colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations rely on RNL for advanced analytics, personalized engagement, and industry-leading insights to achieve their missions. The firm is focused on the entire lifecycle of enrollment and fundraising, assuring students find the right college or university, graduate on time, secure their first job in their chosen field, and give back to support the next generation. Ruffalo Noel Levitz conferences, research reports, papers, and articles help clients stay on top of current trends.