Exploring and Encouraging Young Alumni Giving: Tim Ponisciak and Carol Phillips


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Presentation given at the CASE V conference in Chicago in December of 2011.

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  • I am a higher ed professional who has focused on young alumni fundraising and graduate business alumni relations. For inquiries, please email Tim Ponisciak at tponisci@gmail.com.
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Exploring and Encouraging Young Alumni Giving: Tim Ponisciak and Carol Phillips

  1. 1. Exploring and Encouraging Young Alumni Giving Development Track sponsored by Aria
  2. 2. CASE VExploring and Encouraging YoungAlumni GivingA.K.A.Asking More of Our Young AlumniTim Ponisciak, University of Notre DameCarol Phillips, Brand Amplitude
  3. 3. Q1• What percent of millennials gave to nonprofit organizations in 2010?• Answer: 93%*Source: Millennial Donors Report 2011: Achieve/JGA
  4. 4. Q2• How many millennial donors gave to 3 or more nonprofit organizations in 2010?• Answer: 61%*Source: Millennial Donors Report 2011: Achieve/JGA
  5. 5. Q3• How many millennial donors gave at least $150 to at least one organization?• Answer: 42% (almost 20% gave $500 or more, in total)*Source: Millennial Donors Report 2011: Achieve/JGA
  6. 6. What does this mean?• We may be asking too little of our young donors Young Alumni Participation Rate FY2011 * * *Insidehighered.com, July 12, 2011
  7. 7. Notre Dame Young Alumni• 20,000 Young Alumni (0-10 years out)• 32% of young alumni give annually• Collectively donate $3,000,000 each year
  8. 8. Notre Dame Young Alumni• Strong Feelings! – ND is a cherished experience – It is an experience that is regarded as unique, a privilege
  9. 9. Notre Dame Young Alumni I like to call it the happiest place on earth – Disneyland’s got nothing! I found friends of a lifetime, discovered my passions, and fine-tuned my intellectual capacities. When you meet another ND grad, you know they understand the ND experience, and how it shaped your life. It’s different than how others described their University experience.
  10. 10. Notre Dame Young Alumni• Consider Notre Dame their home.• They are a member of the Notre Dame family For which activities have you been back to campus since graduation?
  11. 11. Notre Dame Young Alumni
  12. 12. Young Alumni Giving Challenge1. Increase current giving participation rate of 32%, to align with general alumni rate of 42%2. Migrate existing donors to higher giving levels
  13. 13. Key Questions• What’s the right amount to ask? – Don’t want to ask too little or too much• What do we offer in return? – What do they want from us? “Just Right”• What’s the right way to ask? – Key messages that appeal to young alums – What vehicles to present message
  14. 14. Research Approach• Survey of young alumni donors – Compared responses from donors who gave under $100 to higher level donors – Assessed interest in a young alumni recognition society• Four online focus groups – Explored message and benefit options among interested alumni donors
  15. 15. Key Findings• High levels of interest among high ($100+) and low(<$100) donor segments
  16. 16. Key Findings• A recognition society gives them a target to reach for I think itd be nice to give young alums a target… I know a lot of friends just give the minimum because they dont see a reason to give more• They particularly liked the idea of being recognized, along with their peers Like being defined as young alumni. Makes me feel proud and involved.
  17. 17. Key Findings• Right amount: $500 – Big enough to be meaningful to a school, but not out of reach for a young alum $500, its high enough above the minimum to make you feel like youre doing something extra, but not unrealistic for a lot people. $500 seems pretty good.
  18. 18. Key Findings• Modest Benefit Expectations + + Personal Acknowledgement Regional EventsFootball Benefits
  19. 19. Other Findings• General mailings • Mailings that make a not memorable connection to student life are more impactful • Ideally, young alumni want to direct their giving
  20. 20. Other Findings Prefer Email Online Donations 4Quarterly Fundraising
  21. 21. Introducing… the Corby Society Committee of 25 young alumni advisors Launched in September 2010 Introduced via email, print, e-newsletters and Minimum donation: $500 social media Most recent class year: $250
  22. 22. Introducing… the Corby Society• Main Benefit: Tickets and Parking Passes
  23. 23. Initial Invitation
  24. 24. Member Engagement
  25. 25. Results of the Big Leap• 470 members in Year One. (approximately 2% of young alumni)• $224,000 raised, half of which was incremental• Increase of 100% for donor group
  26. 26. Questions? Contact Us!Tim PonisciakAssistant Director, Notre Dame Annual Giving574-631-1323tponisci@nd.eduCarol PhillipsPresident, Brand Amplitude269-429-6526Carol@BrandAmplitude.comwww.BrandAmplitude.comTwitter: @carol_phillips
  27. 27. Session handouts are available at www.casefive.org/conference/presentations/ Username: CASEV_attendee | Password: CASE_FIVEFollow the 2011 CASE V Conference on Twitter@CASE_DistrictV. Use the #CASEV hashtag when you tweet!