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How Do I Engage Alumni to Donate?

By LeanStream Engagement on May, 25 2022

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Alumni members are your school's greatest asset. They are the heartbeat that keeps your school ticking. They represent the pinnacle of the school's success, but they are also brand ambassadors, networking partners, and a valuable source of information for the current students. 

Perhaps more importantly, they are vital partners for your school's fundraising drives. Because of their deep feelings for their former institution, they are more than eager to step in to help their alma mater's causes. 

However, all this depends on the school's relationship actively cultivating with the alumni. 

While having fond memories of their school can play a part in convincing them to contribute, it is creating meaningful engagements with alumni that ultimately matter. It establishes the goodwill required to persuade them to contribute to your school's cause.

Engaging with the alumni members ensures their connection with the school doesn't fade over time. This provides your school with the support you require at your hour of need. 

If you have asked yourself, 'how do I engage alumni to donate' read on as we give you practical strategies to cultivate fruitful relationships with your alumni. 

Maintain the Connection with Your Alumni

Many alumni members are reluctant to contribute to your fundraisers because they feel undervalued, left out, and are not communicated to often enough. 

This is why you should stay connected with your alumni long after leaving your institution. Your alumni members prefer to communicate to maintain connections and know-how (email, SMS, etc.). Additionally, they frequently choose to receive messages (weekly, monthly, or yearly). 

This makes them feel valued and respected. As a result, they will happily give back to your school by contributing to your causes.

Appeal to Them with Engaging Content

Crafting messages to your alumni is one thing. However, creating meaningful, impactful, and inspiring messages is different. This is what your school should aim for. Your messages of engagement should have the right tone. Remember you are trying to convince them to contribute to your cause. 

Show them the importance of the cause and how it would help your institution. If need be, craft different messages depending on how the alumni members respond so you can appeal to them on a personal level. 

Give Them a Meaningful Cause

As mentioned, alumni members are emotionally attached to your institution and are likely to heed your call for assistance. However, this is only possible if they find the cause meaningful. 

To gain their trust, you must offer them details about your upcoming fundraiser. For example, when appealing to alumni athletes, you might say something like: "The funds raised will greatly help upcoming athletes by buying them equipment to be successful, just like you. Your donation is an investment to their future."

Even before the alumni members request it, revealing the truth will help you gain their trust. It will make them feel the genuineness of your cause. This will motivate them to contribute. 

Make It Easy For Them to Donate

Traditional fundraising methods are a great way of raising funds for your school. However, if you want to keep your alumni members engaged, digital is the way to go.

Having a digital fundraising platform is an excellent way of cultivating a relationship with your alumni because it transcends geographical boundaries. 

It may be difficult to engage with your alumni in-person, so having online payment processors and allowing alumni to contribute directly on your website makes it convenient for them to follow up. This will keep them engaged and directly involved in your cause, and in return, they will be more likely to contribute to future fundraisers. 

Online donations forms, mobile giving, and on-site giving are a must-have for your school to keep alumni members engaged. 

Be Mindful Of Their Giving Capacity 

One thing that makes younger alumni shy away from contributing to your fundraising drive(s) is their giving capacity or lack thereof. After all, they have not been professionals for long and are probably yet to pay off their student loans. This affects how much they can contribute. They may therefore shy away from giving their modest contributions. 

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that younger alumni cannot be counted upon to chip in. Some ways to keep them engaged are; requesting smaller donations, adopting flexible recurring donation strategies, and laying the foundations for future contributions. 

Allowing younger alumni to skip donations for months, asking them to contribute to the best of their ability, and building a positive relationship with them will keep your alumni engaged and support them.

Leverage the Power of Social Media 

Social media is a powerful tool. Social media should be on top of your list when deciding how to connect better with your alumni, especially with fresher grads.

This includes using your social media to popularize your upcoming drives. Additionally, you should be able to allow contributions through your social media pages. This is especially helpful for alumni who may not necessarily be in contact with your main site.

You can also use social media to research your alumni supporters. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others, can be effectively used to learn about a specific alumnus, making it easy for you to send them personalized (and engaging) messages. 

Encourage Younger Alumni to Reach Out On Your Behalf

Younger alumni may not have the capacity to make significant contributions. This point has been discussed above. 

However, having recently graduated, they have a stronger and fresher connection to the school.

You can therefore request them to solicit funds from their friends and family. They can also volunteer as peer-to-peer fundraisers for your school.

This will keep them involved, making it easier to reach out to them when they have finally developed the capacity to produce more significant contributions.

Final Word

When looking for potential donors, don't overlook the power of engaged alumni. It is best to maintain a line of communication. Implementing the above strategies will go a long way to keeping your alumni engaged and hopefully help you achieve your fundraising objectives.

All the best from everyone at Lean Stream

Fund raising for the entire education family

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