Hot Topics at the Aligning Experts Conference

Sarah KleebergerSenior Vice President, Fundraising ConsultingJuly 29, 2014

aligning_experts_tnWe just returned from the Aligning Experts Conference in Chicago, which we co-hosted with our friends at Stamats and Scannell & Kurz. The conference was a great opportunity for over 300 leaders in fundraising, enrollment, and marketing to share ideas and solutions about how we can better engage our students, alumni and supporters.

Hot topics included:

  • Data integrity drives success in annual giving programs, and many institutions are investing in data enrichment. Andrew Means, the founder of Data Analysts for Social Good challenged us to make evidence-based decisions and be data-driven in our fundraising investments.
  • How do we compare? As we come further out of the recession, many programs are seeing increases in dollars, and are investing more in their fundraising programs. However, attracting new and reactivating long-lapsed donors to grow the loyal base continues to be a struggle.
  • Fundraising Fusion. Contacting donors through multiple channels requires significant coordination and investment. Integrated, multichannel fundraising is about engagement, and you may not be able to evaluate your efforts through traditional metrics. In many respects, it takes an army to break through the background noise and really engage/ connect with constituents.
  • Building a culture of giving is at the heart of student philanthropy programs. Sharon White shared how Duke students are leading the charge with philanthropy education. Chad Warren from Ohio State challenged us to leverage an integrated marketing plan to build a culture of philanthropy at our institutions.
  • Crowdfunding is gaining traction and many institutions are investing in engaging the next generation of donors with social technology. Since we’re all using smartphones and social media, this investment also has an impact with more mature donors / spans generations.

If you attended the Aligning Experts Conference, what common themes or new trends did you pick up? Let us know with a comment.

Check out some of the top tweets from the conference here.

P.S. About 100 of us also went to historic Wrigley Field, and the Cubs won 6-0.…proving, once again, that fundraisers can influence miracles.

About the Author

Sarah Kleeberger

Sarah Kleeberger began her tenure with RNL in 2006 and during her time with the firm has worked with hundreds of institutions and organizations across the country to maximize constituent engagement and fundraising results. She...

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