It’s true. It’s’ me. I call during dinner, and you probably screen that call. Well, to be fair, our student call center are the ones calling, but it all comes out of the office I work in: Boston College University Advancement. I’ve shared some details with the class before, but this always feels like the skeleton in the closet. But to be fair, when is anyone home except at dinner time? And well, nowadays, who even has a house phone? It certainly speaks to why we as an industry have to start thinking differently about digital, because the dinner time phone call might not exist soon enough.
Boston College University Advancement is not breaking any technology grounds anytime soon. However, we have made some strides to utilize new digital products to try and change how we are interacting with our communities.
One product our Annual Giving Marketing and Participation team has implemented has been Social Toaster. The product allows BC ambassadors to share branded BC content with their followers across multiple social media platforms. For us at BCUA, we’ve entitled the program “Trending Eagles” and each engagement gives the user points. Top point earners receive prizes along with drawings to reward engaged users.
Users receive an email whenever we have content to distribute and with a click of a button, the content shares across whatever platforms where access has been granted.
It’s a very small amount of effort on the part of the user, but helps spread content into networks BC previously wasn’t reaching. The content ranges from campus updates, stories from students and alumni, and solicitation appeals.
Evertrue is another product being tested throughout our office. A big part of development and advancement at a university is research. Knowing who are donors are, where they are, and what they are giving is great. But knowing wealth markers makes a huge difference in the work we do, being able to appropriately navigate conversations around giving to the University know what they might be able to contribute. While we have plenty of wealth screeners that have access to any public data, there are a few aspects of social media we cannot infiltrate. That’s where Evertrue comes in.
There are two big areas we use Evertrue for: Facebook and LinkedIn. Often not appearing as “public data”, Evertrue helps compile Facebook engagement and LinkedIn career profiles when our other tools cannot. These two pieces help further assemble the puzzle that are the pieces of University Advancement. Knowing the career track of a prospect can help determine if they are on track to come into great wealth; knowing the Facebook engagement of a prospect can identify areas of the University they are passionate about.
My role doesn’t utilize Evertrue, so I don’t have access to give you as many fun screenshots. But with the increasing role LinkedIn plays in the job market, it has become a helpful tool in finding donors who have switched jobs, and therefore lost their email address, or identify future donors to engage with now as they are on a strong career track. As well, the Facebook engagement tool has helped us identify passionate alumni, who might be convinced to increase their philanthropic support.
One final tool we are implementing as I type, is Journey Builder. In short, is a product from Salesforce that allows our Marketing team to craft a “journey” of marketing touch points. It allows for different people to receive different messaging, similar messaging but in different order, and over to craft a specific path for each donor based on their profile and their response to each marketing touch point.
Recently implemented, we are using Journey Builder for a solicitation for donors we think can contribute at the $10,000 level, what we call the “Gasson Circle”. Those we have identified will be receiving a marketing pieces in the mail, highlighting the stories of some of our BC students attending on financial aid. From there, the recipients will receive emails over the next seven weeks to the tailored “journey”, emails being sent based on the actions the recipient takes – clicking on links, making a gift, and interacting with the website. This is allowing us to not only create a personal, tailored experience, but also to gain data on how our donors are interacting with our marketing pieces.
Overall, there are so many products and digital tools that can be used in the world of development and fundraising. But decision makers have to constantly weigh the ROI as budgets are carefully watched to make sure that we are moving ever dollar possible to funding the University priorities. So every time you receive that flyer in the mail or one of many emails from your University or another charity, you know now how much thought might have gone into you receiving it!