Need to unravel the mysteries of alumni fundraising? Just look to charities

Ellie Adamo By Ellie Adamo

Here at Consider, we help good people do great things. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 16 years working with both the charity and education sectors, it’s that the lessons from one sector can often apply to the other.

It’s particularly relevant when it comes to fundraising. Charities have turned it into a fine art – it’s no surprise, since it’s been a central part of their model from day one.

But to be totally frank, it seems like a lot of educational institutions seem to be lagging a little bit behind.

Take alumni fundraising: it seems to be one of the great undeveloped income sources for universities – a chance to tap into the tremendous reserves of warmth people have for the places that taught them the skills that set them up for life.

And at a time when a squeeze on funding is forcing universities to explore new, sustainable sources of income, it’s an opportunity they can’t afford to turn down.

We’ve made our name delivering outstanding fundraising campaigns for some of the biggest names in charity. And now we’re giving alumni fundraisers the chance to tap into our wealth of expertise.

Here are three reasons why we feel alumni fundraisers need to tap into the lessons of charity fundraising:

You’re talking to people…

…and, in our experience, people respond best to stories.

Stories bring causes to life. So, if your alumni programme gives young people from tough backgrounds the chance to go to university, don’t just say “your donation could help fund students from deprived backgrounds,” tell their stories.

Give your donors the chance to get to know the people they could be helping. Give them a platform, and let them explain – in their own words – the impact it’s made on their life.

For over 16 years, we’ve shown the charity sector how stories = income. And we’d love to do the same for you.

You’re building relationships…

… and the deeper the relationship, the more likely people are to invest in it.

We’re helping the charities we work with move away from simply asking for donations – and develop stewardship journeys that give supporters content they actually want to see and encourage two-way conversation.

They’re starting to see how richer journeys make supporters feel more valued. And because supporters are engaging more, the organisation understands them better. That, in turn,  helps tailor even more compelling journeys.

If you want to take your alumni on a journey they love, get in touch today to find out how we can help.

You’re navigating institutions…

…and if you can get people inside your institution to invest in your ideas, you can achieve great things.

We know that alumni fundraising can sometimes be a difficult subject to broach – especially when many members of the public assume that universities are sustained entirely by government and corporate funding. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get more people talking about it.

We’ve loved working with organisations like the BHF over the past year to get more people in the organisation talking about gifts in wills. And we’ve learnt that if you can bridge the information gap, those difficult conversations become much easier. We’d love to help you take those lessons and apply them to alumni fundraising.

Ellie Adamo

Ellie Adamo

Account Director

Ellie embodies that covetable combination of razor-sharp strategic skill and an instinctive ability to connect and engage with people. She cut her teeth in commercial advertising, but moved to fundraising agencies when she found charities ignited her passion in a way that banks never would. We’re delighted to benefit from her considerable experience, read more about Ellie here.