Fireside Chat With Purdue University [Podcast]

Ever since Purdue University partnered with EverTrue this year, they’ve been off to an incredible start with GivingTree. As their customer success manager, it’s been a pleasure to work with such a fun and forward-thinking advancement team.

In this “Fireside Chat,” I spoke to the Purdue Research Foundation’s Amber Turner (director of donor relations) and Greg Kapp (assistant vice president for development operations) to highlight early successes, why they got on board with EverTrue, how they’ve been using GivingTree across the organization, and what lies ahead.

Click the play button above to listen to our full conversation, and check out some highlights below:

On why they chose EverTrue:

[Amber at 6:14] “I served as a project manager for our giving day the last two years, and we were looking at ways to maximize the peer-to-peer fundraising model and tap into some big data. So how do you harness the social media side of things, and how do you blend that in with LinkedIn and get up-to-date information on people? In doing so, we researched and stumbled upon this tool [GivingTree]. It’s definitely an internal tool, but we’re trying to see how we can make it outward-facing. My primary function is to utilize this tool to see if we can turn some of our major donors into fundraisers and how we can tap into new target audiences that we might not have been able to get involved with before.”

[Greg at 11:14] “I think that was the driver for us, to get involved with your product… a need to find a unique new way to fill [our pipeline]. It was actually a suggestion by one of the cabinet members—to get volunteer fundraisers so we could generate some new blood. Then when you look at the traditional research side, I think we’ve seen [GivingTree] bring some real value in terms of prioritizing contacts. You can add engagement to a list of major gift donors, and now you know who to pick up the phone and call this afternoon because they’ve just hit the mechanical engineering Facebook page 16 times in the last week. It’s a game-changer when it comes to that kind of proactive outreach that our research team can do back out in the field with the major gift officers.”

On using GivingTree across the giving pyramid:

[Amber at 24:07] “I think it’s a great tool to grow a foundation and to grow a pipeline, and to get [prospects] moving through the pipeline faster to get them to a major gift point. But I also think that it’s a really good tool in terms of learning more about your major gift prospects. You might not necessarily have known that they’re interested in a particular thing, but because of their [social media] engagement, you can find that out a little more easily and know them before you walk into the situation.”

On the value of LinkedIn data:

[Greg at 30:30] “One really interesting thing that has come up is around company data because the LinkedIn data is so much more up-to-date and accurate than the employment data we’ve been maintaining in Advance. We have a small engineering firm in Minneapolis that’s being run by one of our civil engineering alums, with 103 [alumni] employees. We didn’t have all those people working there in Advance, but LinkedIn discovered [them]. Out of the 103 there, we realized that 80% had given sometime, 56% had given in the last five years, but only 30% gave last year. So we were able to give that to our corporate foundation and relations folks to reach out to this alum who has had events at his company in the past. We’re gonna see if we can re-start that effort. And our annual giving folks can target those lapsed folks, maybe with a message around civil engineering topics, or maybe we can even get the retired CEO to sign a letter.”

On harnessing Facebook data to make targeted asks:

[Amber at 31:50] “Instead of just going to our report writers on the research team, [the annual fund] is using the tool to pull out people who have engaged with our [Facebook] posts in the last week, and then doing an ask centered around that engagement because we know they’ve been following along with what’s going on… so they can put that into a ‘Week in Review’ and turn that into ‘You can help the future of Purdue’ with an ask.”

Learn how Brown University is using GivingTree to gain deeper insights on their constituents:

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