How Union College Turned Facebook Likes into Real Dollars

Who

Union College, a private liberal arts college in New York with more than 2,200 undergraduates and nearly 19,000 alumni records.

Challenge

Identify an additional target group for a yearly campaign.

Why EverTrue

Use EverTrue’s powerful search and Facebook integration to segment and identify additional prospects who were highly engaged but would typically not be contacted during the campaign.

Results

With a simple EverTrue search, the team identified nearly 700 constituents who had “liked” 5+ posts on their Facebook page in the last year. By targeting 500 of that cohort who had 8+ Facebook likes, Union College raised an additional $5,900 in just one month.

The Full Story

Hear the story from Kathy McCann, Union College’s Director of Advancement Services, herself:

In a campaign planning meeting, I suggested that the team needed to try something more than the traditional targeting of LYBUNTS, SYBUNTS, and active donors. I wanted to surface a new group to run this campaign against.

I then asked, what percentage of this new group can I add by focusing on social media engagers? So I went into EverTrue and I set up three parameters just as a test: alumni with 5+ Facebook likes, alumni with 8+ likes, and 10+ likes in the past year. Instead of just focusing on people who have never given to us or have given in the last five to 10 years, let’s target the people that we believe like us enough that they’re engaging on Facebook.

givingtree union college

EverTrue presented an opportunity for us to try a different approach. We selected the cohort of people with 8+ Facebook likes in the last year (which was approximately 500 people!). We brought them into the appeal, and the appeal wasn’t just a letter—it was a campaign with a good marketing approach.

In tracking those 500 engaged targets, we saw that while they were engaged already  8+ times in the last year, their Facebook activity has gone up even more this year, and we have received somewhere in the neighborhood of an additional $5,900 in donations from that group in one month only.

So that is $5,900 raised from people who we were not going to write to for this campaign, who are trying to engage with us, and who now have even more engagement with us. The way I see this is that there are two wins and one potential opportunity:

Win #1: They are social media ambassadors for us on Facebook.

Win #2: We brought back some donors with our first attempt

And that (#2) is also our opportunity—this was just our first foray into using social media in the way we do business, the way we solicit gifts, the way we direct marketing, and the way we plan events.

Expanding on This Opportunity

The success of this campaign is a growth opportunity for us to take that as an example and ask, if we had planned it better, if we had taken our time, if we have invested a little more, what could we do? Now that same first attempt is being integrated into each of our marketing efforts in reaching our constituents so that we can make this as solid a platform as it needs to be. Just as every other item in your strategic plan is important—what your email marketing is, what your mail marketing is, and what your event marketing is—so too is your social media marketing. That’s the piece we are really focusing on now as a result of EverTrue.