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Harness the potential of your alumni by using the right tools

With results from the latest ROSS CASE survey showing philanthropic giving to UK universities reaching record levels, the benefits to be gained by maximising the potential of this donor base are clear.

But, despite the figures highlighting a landmark donation figure of £1.06 billion in 2015 – 2016, this was mainly due to a significant proportion of new funds being secured from large gifts and pledges.

Interestingly, there is a far higher proportion of alumni donations than non-alumni, suggesting that university students continue to enjoy an affinity with their place of study after achieving their qualifications.

Ross Caswwe Survey Report 2017 infographic

Engaging students early

There’s no doubting that the process of achieving an academic degree is a transformative experience, and it can impact on many aspects of an individual’s life. It is important to harness enthusiasm among students and alumni, to establish a sense of belonging, and to nurture a lifelong relationship.

Engaging students early when they arrive on campus and throughout their years at university, has the potential to lead to loyalty and continued support after they’ve moved on.

With this is mind, it’s crucial that universities and colleges ensure that they’re making it as easy and as relatable as possible for this young demographic to develop a connection with them.

Making it easy for alumni donors

Key to this is embracing the reliance on internet-enabled devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

Even in 2014, smart phone adoption amongst students was over 90% at the University of Northampton and the latest figures from the Rapidata Charity Direct Debit Tracking Report 2017 show a strong trend towards the growing popularity of setting up online Direct Debits.

Our figures show online Direct Debit sign-ups are increasing by 7% year-on-year, with a 14% increase in mobile sign-ups for each of the first quarters of 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The gap between desktop and mobile sign-ups is closing, highlighting the importance of having mobile-optimised donation pages, with a simple, fast and easy set up process for today’s mobile users who are constantly browsing while on the move.

Using a simple online Direct Debit giving webpage that is optimised for mobile devices and home-branded (so it can easily sit within your institution’s own website with the same look, feel and language) can provide an additional and cost effective revenue stream.

Maintaining alumni relationships

Importantly, it can also enable the cultivation of a giving relationship with students that has the potential to continue well into their alumni years.

It is at this point of sign up that you have the opportunity to connect with your donors and secure their necessary consent for further communications; for vital touch points that will build your relationship, whether that is future appeals or regular newsletters, volunteer requests, event invites and so on.

The format and flexibility of online Direct Debit enables institutions to highlight to alumni donors what they intend to do with their gift, whether it be for a specific project or ongoing research, to maximise their donations.

More about Rapidata

We work with many educational institutions and we’re always happy to talk about how online Direct Debit can remove the barriers to online giving and make it easy for potential donors to set up their regular giving.

Contact us today on 01293 601 111 or visit us at the CASE conference on Stand 11, to see how we can help you grow donations from new students and alumni.

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