Breaking into the Fundraising Market

Posted on by Christine DeLooze | No Comments »

PODi will take an in-depth look at selling fundraising solutions over the next year including webinars, blog articles and AppForum sessions. Through this series PODi will be gathering best practices and building a library of effective sales stories that PODi members can review and practice in the Zenarate online training platform.

AlumniParticipationOur first webinar in this series focused on providing a solution to help development offices in higher education raise money from alumni. According to the Voluntary Support of Education Survey from the Council for Aid to Education, alumni gave $7.7 billion to universities and colleges in 2012. This level of giving is only exceeded by foundations which gave $9.2 billion. So it’s very important for universities to stay connected with and engage their alumni. However alumni participation in giving has been dipping. According to the 2013 donorCentricsTM Annual Report from Blackbaud, overall alumni participation in fundraising campaigns is less than 10%.

Kim Gross, Director of Sales & Marketing for Pacesetter Enterprises, has had extensive experience working with the higher education market. In fact her ongoing relationship with Rosemont College and the outstanding alumni solicitation campaigns they have built over several years earned them the 2014 PODi Leadership Award.

In the webinar, Kim shared some of the key pain points universities are facing as they try to engage alumni.

  • Generational attitudes towards giving are leading to low engagement, especially with millennials. While older generations were instilled with the need to give back to their alma mater, young alumni don’t feel this obligation and will require different messaging about how their gift will be used
  • Total alumni giving is up over the last decade, but participation is down
  • Substantial college debt is impacting alumni’s ability to give
  • Difficulty integrating new fundraising approaches. Development offices know they need to do something different, but don’t know how to get there or don’t have the internal resources. Having a partner who can guide them through solicitation planning and campaign execution is extremely valuable.

Touching on the key pain point of alumni participation, Kim Gross shared talk tracks for getting an appointment with a director of institutional advancement and conducting a needs analysis that will lead to a solution presentation with decision makers. Keeping these conversations relevant and also concise are important for success. PODi members can view recordings of these talk tracks and practice their own versions on Zenarate.

In addition to these sales stories Kim shared information on:

  • Services that providers can offer to be a true marketing partner
  • How to structure an annual marketing contract that will meet the expectations of university marketers while also ensuring that the service provider does not get overburdened with or lose money on unplanned work
  • Campaign planning and architecture strategies
  • Best practices for creative development
  • Call center training

PODi members can view the whole webinar recording, plus Kim Gross’ two talk track stories, on Zenarate. If you are a PODi member and have not yet activated your access to Zenarate, please complete the Zenarate Contact Us form.

Non-members can learn about the benefits of joining, including sales training, case studies and workflow product briefings, at

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