HomeResourcesNYU Engages Donors With Remote Student Ambassadors, Receives $4.8M in Pledges Amidst a Pandemic

NYU Engages Donors With Remote Student Ambassadors, Receives $4.8M in Pledges Amidst a Pandemic

New York University One Day campaign
Since its founding in 1831, New York University (NYU) has been an innovator in higher education, reaching out to an emerging middle class, embracing an urban identity and professional focus, and promoting a global vision that informs its 19 schools and colleges. Today, that trailblazing spirit makes NYU one of the most prominent and respected research universities in the world, featuring top-ranked academic programs and accepting fewer than one in eight undergraduates.

NYU students come from nearly every state and 133 countries, and the university draws upon the diverse backgrounds of our faculty, staff, and students, ensuring its scholarship and teaching benefit from a wide range of perspectives. NYU takes seriously its role as an engine of social mobility, and stands out among the top U.S. universities in its representation of low-income and first-generation students within its community.

Staying close to donors, even when NYU students couldn’t be in the same place

Support for NYU alumni, supporters, and parents is crucial to the institution’s inclusive mission. When the global pandemic hit and NYU went remote, student engagement center operations were interrupted. RNL helped NYU implement remote engagement and management of this important effort. This included remote, secure acceptance of gifts via phone, and integrating key technologies like text and video messages.

The result was that while many institutions had to stop engagement, NYU emerged as a leader, kept students in their jobs, and had over 100,000 conversations through remote engagement. This provided the opportunity to maximize the ease and joy of giving for their diverse supporter base while also increasing the university’s ROI. With students able to be back together, results have continued to amplify.

Managing omnichannel outreach from an RNL Digital Engagement Center

The RNL Digital Engagement Center is an integrated, omnichannel solution that:

  • Combines personalized texting, calling, and video outreach to engage supporters with giving, event, and involvement opportunities.
  • Utilizes RNL Engage, our integrated and remote-capable platform to power these channels and transform students into engagement ambassadors.
  • Builds on RNL’s decades of expertise with the leadership of an Engagement Center Manager (ECM) to guide operations, mentor students, and meet KPIs crucial to your goals.
  • Delivers the best results possible within your budget.

RNL partnership keeps students safe and donor engagement on track

The past few years of donor engagement have required us to be nimble and make quick pivots. During the pandemic, RNL worked with NYU to navigate all the concerns of moving remote, and continuing flexibility for students in a city under high stress, and high need.

As the word spread, the center received a massive influx of student applications for engagement ambassador positions, which the RNL engagement center manager helped work through to hire a rock star team.

With a focus on results, monitoring the engagement data daily, RNL helped keep the center on track through numerous changes: to remote engagement, then a hybrid environment, and moving to a new physical center this year. The NYU program is back to in person, and results have skyrocketed.

Success with omnichannel strategy

Adding key omnichannel technology like texting has made a big difference for NYU. The team credits the addition of channels to the student engagement activity for keeping ROI high and reaching many more supporters per hour.

The NYU digital engagement center facilitates gifts of all sizes: a $15,000 pledge came in from an alumnus who was happy to talk with a student, and a $10,000 gift came in from a student text.

Added impact: Supporting a successful giving day

Phone outreach has been a key contributor to the success of a record-setting NYU One Day. In 2022. The center logged 172 total hours of engagement, contributing nearly $30,000 in pledges, with two-thirds of student ambassadors contributing.

FY 19-23 Overall Results

$6 million in commitments

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1.1 million text messages sent with 1.1% opt-out
150,466 conversations

FY23 Impact

8% increase in pledged dollars

Career services important to most students

29% increase in fulfilled dollars to date

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17% increase in pledges

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Let’s talk about how you can increase donor engagement and strengthen your donor pipeline. Ask for a free consultation with our experts.

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