2020 University Advancement Priority list: Employment Data to Gifts to Crowdfunding - what is most important?
We’ve spent countless hours in 2019, listening to university priorities, challenges and objectives. Ranging from advancement, development, prospect research, alumni relations and annual fund teams, it is clear that there are key topics that are growing in importance.
Using these conversations, we’ve compiled top trends in 2020 that you will see within the higher education space.
Here’s what to watch out for in the year ahead…
- Current Employment Data
- Business Email Addresses
- Monthly/quarterly/bi-annual updates
- “Years in position” or “Years at current company”
- Seniority: Director, VP, and CXOs
- Corporate Gift Matching (Targeting alumni at specific companies that offer gift matching)
- Matching Record IDs: Exact Vs Grouped
1. Real-time and accurate employment data
This tends to always be the most important to universities. Many strategies, be it fundraising or event planning, start with having an accurate picture of where your alumni are working. Without a clear and accurate picture of this, it is highly probable that a large % of your alumni are not being considered correctly.
Everything starts with employment data. In fact, one of the most “in-demand” requests we receive are the updating of “net-new” job changes that happen within a 12-month cycle. It’s clear that more and more universities want accurate employment data.
This data isn’t just a “nice to have”, it’s a “must-have”. With this data, universities can effectively equip their teams to help track alumni job movement, research career and industry growth and changes in location.
2. Business Email Addresses
Business email addresses are closely tied to accurate employment data since it is impossible to have a valid business email address if you do not know the current employer of your alumni.
A big trend we’ve noticed was the shift in engagement of alumni in their personal email inboxes to their professional inboxes. This is especially true when discussing important donation opportunities or events that can overlap with their current employer. Many employers offer matching gifts and participate in school run career drives.
Business emails also typically have a higher response rate as the average person checks their work email nearly 10x per day!
3. Monthly/quarterly/bi-annual updates - Data Maintenance
Maintaining alumni data by receiving monthly, quarterly or annual updates is one of the top requests we’ve seen to date. The reason being that most universities may not need a full data append and would rather focus on the upcoming job changes.
Universities have been saving a lot of precious $$$ by maintaining specific Alumni segments and only paying to update records they know for a fact are stale in their database.
Let us know if you want an easy way to track, enrich, and match alumni employment data we know for certain are out of date.
4. “Years in position” or “years in company”
This one is huge... We now have the ability to segment by:
- Years in current position/role
- Years at current company
This is a perfect fit for universities that want to only focus on job changes that occurred in the last 1-year, 2-year, 5-year etc VS having to append the entire database.
Universities that have spent a lot of money and resources on an append two years ago, can now update only the data they need.
5. Seniority: Director, VP, and CXOs
Would updating your Director, Vice President, and CXO alumni be impactful? Often times universities and their fundraising teams focus on engaging with high-net-worth alumni. Directors, VPs, and CXOs at large corporations oftentimes fit this description.
What’s more is, if you haven’t done a data append for these senior-level roles, you may be missing out on hundreds of qualified prospects that your team are not actively building relationships with.
6. Corporate Gift Matching
Who doesn’t like free money? Well, this is essentially what corporate gift matching is. By helping universities understand which companies their alumni are working at, they are able to strategically target the companies that will match any donation that is made.
Without much additional work, you can double the donations made to your school!
7. Matching Record IDs: Exact Vs Grouped
Matching to your unique record ID is a top priority. We’ve heard this request in nearly 100% of our conversations, “how do you match”, “what is your match rate?”.
Data is only as good as your ability to internalize it in your current systems, tools, and processes. One of the best ways to do this is by matching current “new data” to your “old data” using your record’s IDs.
However, this is much trickier than it sounds. As many matching algorithms require multiple advanced data points to provide a 100% match rate. So, instead of forgetting the records that can’t be matched with 100% certainty (which typically is around 30%) we group these records to their most likely match, making it very easy for a team to validate the data.
Many donors have expressed a desire to truly understand where their money is going and the impact they are having. So, a major trend for the upcoming year within development teams is making sure your donors understand what their money will be impacting.
The best way to do this is to understand your alumni’s interests, career, volunteer roles so your development team can tailor their ask.
Personalization is not only important in B2B sales, it is now as important as ever in university outreach.
How do you personalize your outreach?
Are you interested in learning more about how AlumniFOX can help you with your 2020 fundraising and development strategies?
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