Who Gives a Ship? Social Donor Management by the U.S. Naval Academy

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Alumni associations and foundations of institutions big and small have been operating in high gear in the midst of many of the biggest college football rivalry games: Auburn vs Alabama. Harvard vs. Yale. Lafayette vs. Lehigh. Williams vs. Amherst. And on December 13th, Army and Navy will face off for the 115th time since the inaugural battle in 1890.

You might think after beating Army 12 years in a row, Navy would tone down the pre-game rhetoric. But if you thought that, you’d be wrong.

The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation has thrown down the gauntlet yet again in advance of this year’s game by sharing a variety of YouTube-hosted Spirit Spots on Facebook and other social channels.

We’ve previously reviewed the principles of producing effective videos to achieve advancement goals with our friends at Wistia; the Navy campaign is an excellent example of these principles in action. Of the entire series, our favorite video is titled “Who Gives a Ship”:

Video campaigns like Navy’s can benefit the broader advancement organization in three ways:
  1. Major gifts – What mobile-savvy MGO could resist playing the above video in meetings with current and potential major donors?! Will this video make or break a solicitation proposal? Not likely. Might it evoke pride and competitiveness among major supporters? Very likely. I hope Navy’s frontline fundraisers share this in the field in the coming weeks.
  2. New donor acquisition – By connecting the dots between internal constituent data and external social data, it’s possible to identify engaged non-donors. The 137 likes and 154 shares “Who Gives a Ship” garnered on Navy’s Alumni Facebook page present a clear opportunity for the annual fund to grow its efforts (not to mention the likes and shares on its other Spirit Spots).
  3. Stewardship – For existing supporters, these campaigns serve as an entertaining reminder of the passion and enthusiasm of Naval Academy graduates and its servicemen and women around the world.

After building a social audience, it’s critical to understand that audience in relation to your existing donor database. While the initial success metrics of videos like these might be limited to views, likes, or shares, a much larger ROI potential awaits via social donor management software.

So to the entire team at the Navy Alumni Association and Foundation: thanks for giving a ship!

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