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What's New, and News from SupportingAdvancement.com
By admin on 3/31/2006
What are your organization’s gaps between what is currently done, and what will be done in online giving? Because of online experiences, constituents are starting to expect much more than just a brochure when it comes to their online giving experience. Disaster relief and disaster related fundraising groups were able to demonstrate that online giving is one of the most effective ways of brokering transactions. It is obviously easier to leverage the online experience, and giving is not exception. However, giving really needs to be completely integrated to overall constituent and customer relationship management systems, and these in turn coupled to the online presence. How can you approach this most effectively? • Start with a real plan considered as an overall encompassing customer relationship management approach. • Maximize your email house file and collect emails wherever possible by a variety of methods. When harvesting through your web site, make the registration process as “painless” as possible...
By admin on 3/31/2006
(In response to a recent listserv posting on Intern programs for Advancement/Development.) At the University of Toronto we have been running an internship program for five years. The Fellowship in Advancement at the University of Toronto is an internship program that prepares recent graduates of the University for careers in educational advancement. Our experience demonstrates that the introduction of bright, dynamic, and highly motivated Fellows into the Advancement environment has a tremendously positive effect on the Advancement operation. The quality of the work carried out by the Fellows is superb and has made a real contribution to the attainment of our goals. Our program is one year long and includes both internal and external professional development along with a stipend of $2,500.00 per month. The Fellowship began as a joint venture between the University of Toronto and McGill University and is now in its fifth year of existence. We at the University of Toronto have experienced first-hand...
By admin on 3/31/2006
John Lippincott, CASE president did the keynote address at the Senior Advancement Professionals conference in Baltimore. His address centered around five major trends: 1. The rise of Advancement Services Advancement Services has become a significant profession in its own right. The analogy of the three legged advancement stool has changed. The stool now has four legs, due to the essential role Advancement Services plays in all aspects of the profession. Salaries of Advancement Services professionals have risen in accordance with the increases in responsibility and complexity. Salaries reflect a change from “opinion based” to database decision making, and Advancement Services professionals are at the forefront of understanding and implementing this way of making decisions. 2 More is Not Enough There is more competition in fundraising for dollars, attention...
By admin on 3/31/2006
I often stay with a particular motel chain because of the ease of Internet connections within the rooms, but tonight, I'm sitting in the lobby with keyboard and mouse and laptop, because of a "proximity" connection that just wasn't, and isn't, and never will be. Over an hour with tech support, wireless routers, bridges, resetting connections, and when I carried the laptop to the front desk, where there was a closer access point. "Miracles", and connection to the net. Nirvana. Lesson learned. What do wireless ports cost, and why not just have more of them? There's obviously tradoffs between the cost of access points, and accessing tech support, but in the spirit of guest relations, just put more points in. They don't cost much. In fact, over a month, probably less by far than the unconsumed milk and cereal in the breakfast buffet. Both Internet access and the buffet are "features" but I'd rather be only consuming one in the lobby and the other in my room. I'll certainly fill out the survey, praising the...
By admin on 3/31/2006

Whether you're looking to recruit students, serve alumni, or raise money, it can pay off for you to focus on optimizing your website for search.

This is called search engine marketing--and it allows you to introduce your institution to people who have either not heard of it or have not considered it for some reason.

Learn more about basic SEM concepts here http://www.mstonerblog.com/comments.php?id=P109_0_1_0.

By admin on 3/31/2006
Never too late to visit a few of the following sites to update and revisit your security procedures and practices: While some might argue that Microsoft is the source of all problems, you will also find many solutions here: http://www.microsoft.com/security/default.mspx. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology site includes detailed information on securing multiple operating systems, security checklists and documentation on well-known security issues: http://csrc.nist.gov/itsec/. The Computer Emergency Readiness Team coordination centre, operated by Carnegie Mellon University is a great resource for IT security matters of all kinds. It caters to expertise that goes well beyond the desktop. http://www.cert.org. Anti-virus software reviews and ratings, to help you make decisions regarding what products to buy and install in your own organization:...
By admin on 3/31/2006
Under disability laws in many jurisdictions, we may need to consider whether our flash e-solicitations are properly captioned. i.e. 1194.22 Web-based intranet and internet information and applications. (b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation. This corresponds to the WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 1.4: For any time-based multimedia presentation (e.g., a movie or animation), synchronize equivalent alternatives (e.g., captions or auditory descriptions of the visual track) with the presentation. Ways to solve this: 1. Provide a link to an e-mail address where folks can request a transcript. Example: http://www.uaf.edu/news/featured/04/vilda/collecting.html 2. Actually have the text as part of the video. 3. There are also some software programs that provide this capability. Another example of how the Internet continues to evolve legally and technically.

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By admin on 2/28/2006
Traveling is always interesting, particularly that to another country where you often assume in advance that something as basic as Internet access will be readily available. While the basics are always in place, the costs can vary dramatically from what we’re used to. For example, when booking most hotels in North America, it is fairly standard to either assume that Internet access is included, or that it will be available for reasonable fee. One can also assume that this will be a high speed wireless connection, direct connection into the hotel network or some variation on DSL. Not so in some countries where you would think access would as ubiquitous as what we are used to. Many of the telecommunication companies will have arrangements with coffee houses and other enterprises, but this may not be obvious in advance and you really need to do the research before you leave to find out where you can get connected. Rural areas can be almost impossible, so plan well in advance if you are going to require...
By admin on 2/28/2006
I recently attended the Annual General Meeting for Alumni and Development Professionals in Melbourne, and was interested to find out about some direct mail fundraising statistics that seemed be fairly remarkable. The speaker was from a private grammar school and through a combination of personal connection, volunteer involvement and direct mail, was raising a substantial amount of annual fund dollars with a direct mail participation rate of 12%. 12% seems to be fairly high compared to most direct mail campaigns, and in most shops would be a challenge. How are they doing this? According to an Australian survey on giving most people prefer to receive solicitations via direct mail over any other methods, and most prospects respond to direct mail pieces positively. Telemarketing on the other hand, was viewed as being very intrusive, although the survey did not appear to have weighted this. Still anecdotal discussions at the conference did indicate that many schools had attempted telemarketing, but that...
By admin on 2/28/2006
The “Annual Giving” model is pretty engrained in higher ed., as opposed to some sort of “continuous giving” model. All in all, I think that’s not a bad thing, although it might be worth looking at. My experience is that it’s a significant enough challenge to get alumni to think about giving annually, every year. And the reason that donors don’t give every year is not, I would argue, that we don’t ask enough – donors who haven’t renewed support are exactly the ones that we keep asking! So I think that there’s a good chance that the annual giving orientation tends in the direction of more giving. I think that, ideally, we’d all like to find that strong ask that would result in a significant, “stretch” gift for the year, whatever that gift would be for a given donor. Annual Giving officers are always looking for that strong ask, whether it’s around a reunion, around a significant event on campus that the alum would find meaningful, a personal ask from a classmate, etc. And then, recognizing that the donor has made such a gift, and that we haven’t “left money on the table,” the focus should be on cultivating the donor to continue such annual giving, and not, in essence, say to the donor “you’ve really stepped up, but we’re not going to respect that, and just keep asking for more anyway.” Think about how we solicit board members, for example. We don’t get a generous annual gift, commensurate with the board member’s resources, and then go back next month and say: “More.” And the next month: “More.” And the next month. And the next....
By admin on 2/28/2006
I’ve had occasion lately to reflect on how we record gifts that are made jointly by a couple. If both spouses have database records, where do you record the legal credit? On the record of the spouse who signed the check? On the record of the spouse who is an alum rather that the record of the spouse who isn’t? Split between the two? Looking at the big picture, it seems to me that there are really several separate/separable questions here: the “facts” of the gift the “facts” of your relationship with the couple the way that the gift is entered in the database the way that the data is used by receipts/reports/processes On the “facts” level related to the gift, my experience is that in the overwhelming majority of cases, gifts from couples are made from jointly-owned assets (the couple may even be located in a community property state, and the couple is very likely filing a joint tax return anyway!). And that’s true whether the couple is made up of two alumni, an alum and a (non-alum) parent, an alum...
By admin on 2/28/2006
A recent brief survey was conducted regarding long distance costs within the university call center environment. Over 75 programs responded noting number of calling stations, number of annual long distance minutes, cost per minute, and telecommunications provider. As one can imagine, the statistics submitted ran the gambit: Calling stations: 8 – 48 Annual minutes: 2,000 – 459,000 Cost per minute: .02 - .29 Providers: 10 plus In the majority of budgets, long distance costs are second only to wages in a line item comparison. Money saved in this area can be reallocated to programming or wages within your calling operation. Have you shopped your long distance business? Surprisingly, many programs haven’t evaluated their long distance carrier as they inherited the carrier and have focused on more obvious areas. There are two primary areas on which to focus. The first is obvious, cost per minute. This has been the standard barometer for years. You shop for residential rates and should do so for business....
By admin on 2/28/2006
By Terry Burton Dig In Research Inc. http://diginresearch.biz Stewardship. Often overlooked, frequently misunderstood, yet one of the underlying and most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to retention of donors. In some organizations stewardship activities are treated like closely guarded secrets, known only by a select few. Others talk about stewardship as special attention reserved only for donors at the top of proverbial giving pyramid. Why is that? What about the direct mail response to the Annual Giving fund, or the couple who designates a portion of their estate with a Planned Gift? The majority of non-profit organizations have a Thank You Letter process with an internal escalating function based on the dollar value of the donation. The larger the gift, the higher up the ladder the Thank You Letter goes for the send out signature. In many cases, mailing the Thank You Letter is where the stewardship process comes to a screeching halt....
By admin on 2/28/2006
As the world changes, you may wish to review your online information update form. With the advent of new privacy legislation and the simultaneous need for us to collect more to manage our prospect and donor profiles, we are at the boundary layer for people’s willingness to self report. We’re also in an age where many of our younger constituents will never write a check, have a home phone number and may only want to be contacted by email. Many of our conventional methods of tracing will vanish, and this ability will be lost sooner than later. As part of our ongoing attempt to manage donor relations on the web, we really have to come up with new and creative strategies to collect information. Here are a few practical and a few “pie in the sky” considerations. • Is there a “case for support” for collecting information. We do this for gifts, but are not always as succinct in our messaging for information acquisition. You might be able to market this with a flash video or a Podcasts. Make a compelling case...
By admin on 2/28/2006
Our primary goal as annual giving professionals is to enhance habits within our alumni base. This requires us to be consistent in our habits. Gift card formatting is an important consideration within your direct mail program. While the gift card is the “working” piece of a direct mail package (as opposed to the “marketing” piece of letterhead/letter), its’ formatting can do far more than serve as a tool to complete the transaction. Consistency The rule of thumb here is to keep it simple. Review past gift cards within your office. How consistent are they in format? The format should be the exact same for the majority of your gift cards. The design elements around the format, however, can change depending upon the requirements of the effort. Your alumni will see your format items in the same locations each time they are solicited. Size Size matters for many reasons. Too big, as in a full 8.5” X 11”, and there will invariably be too much white space that is wasted and excess paper within the package. A full page gift card competes with a full page appeal. The ideal size is one-third of a full 8.5” X 11”. It fits easily into a #9 return envelope and makes the direct mail package more compact. Costs will be one-third less by printing 3-up. ...
By admin on 2/28/2006
Recently we embarked on our annual data cleansing batch processing program and the results were quite interesting and seem to reflect the new way consumers manage their mail. Some background; once a year we send our entire living alumni population (regardless of what address status we have for them on our database) to a service bureau for a three part data cleansing process. The list is first run through Address Standardization or Address Accuracy as it is more commonly known, the next step is NCOA and finally telephone append to the new address. On average the last few years have yielded a 2-3% response rate on the new addresses through the NCOA program. This year, we sent close to eighty thousand more addresses (new grads, new acquisitions) and yielded a dismal 1.13%. I was perplexed. I thought of calling my service provider to complain but just as I was about to pick up the phone, I vented to my colleague and we broke it down to this: As we all know by now, in this fast electronic world of internet,...
By admin on 2/28/2006
Blogging for Students By Michael Stoner President, mStoner I've written about blogs for CASE Currents and for the Chronicle of Higher Education and interviewed student bloggers and admissions staff for both articles. We've also asked prospective students in focus groups about blogs at colleges and universities. I can say that all of our clients who are using students as bloggers are having good success with the blogs--and prospective students (and their parents) LOVE them. They recognize a difference between what student bloggers write and what administrators or faculty write in "official" web copy. Institutions with a history of student-written blogs--such as Furman University http://www.engagefurman.com/Home.asp--know that they work and that student bloggers develop a kind of celebrity. Student bloggers seem to do it more for ego gratification or this celebrity than for money or other remuneration like a digital camera. I've heard stories of bloggers...
By admin on 1/31/2006

You’ve heard the hype: print is dead, long live the Internet. But not so fast—don't believe the hype.

We see plenty of evidence that key audiences, including prospective students welcome print. And sales of alumni directories are still strong—in fact, you can guess that someone who buys a directory is strongly affiliated with your institution.

The moral: don’t give up on print yet! More comments in It's the Network Age—But Don't Give Up on Print Yet! here http://www.mstonerblog.com/weblog.php

Michael Stoner

By admin on 1/31/2006
Here is a great exercise to complete with members of your development team. Ask your staff to take out a piece of water and request that, from memory, they write down all your institution’s giving society names and qualifying amounts. Chances are that there will be some difficulty. The larger question, however, is if the societies/levels have no meaning for your staff, how can they do so with your alumni? Perhaps the biggest issue with many giving societies/levels lies simply in their naming. These societies/levels are a marketing tool and should be better leveraged to reflect the tradition and history of the institution. What do the following common names of societies/levels say about an institution? • Century (based upon dollar amount, sending clear message on what is valued) • Gold (good for Olympics, not giving) • Silver (same, plus sends message that money rules) • Bronze (same and third place at that) • Dean’s Club (too generic, and club implies benefits) • President’s Circle (too generic, 1,000’s...
By admin on 1/31/2006
As more and more people start to have a cell phone as their only number, it makes sense to call them just as you would with any other number. With most plans it doesn’t cost much for incoming calls and most people purchase plans where they’re less likely to go over. The timeframe for calling will be similar, i.e. Evenings, so as far as the bad call, scripts should have a line in about whether it is a good time to call so you can have the option of getting back to them. As a profession, we should become more vigilant about collecting cell phone numbers separately with our information update forms and other vehicles and also monitoring our performance in acquiring them since this will become more critical for our future telefund efforts. We have a generation coming up who may never write a check, never have a land line, never purchase music in a store, never give us their home address etc, and we need to adapt our strategies to capitalize on these trends at the onset.

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