9 Ways to Break Annual Fund Records This Fiscal Year

It’s almost April and there are just a couple more months until the end the 2016-17 fiscal year. This is a critical—and stressful!—time. You have some big goals and we’re here to do whatever we can to help you hit those targets and set new giving and participation records.

Here are nine ways to crush the annual fund stretch run. If you’re already an EverTrue customer, click the links below to start executing these ideas. And if you’re not yet partnered with us, that’s okay! You can still implement most of these concepts, it just might require some more legwork.


1. Start with a list of all your LYBUNTS who have engaged with you on Facebook in the last three months.

Talk about low-hanging fruit—these are your donors with recent giving history who are also actively interacting with your institution online. Pull the report (we set it up for you) and use it to send them an email or give them a call.

Engaged LYBUNTs - EverTrue


2. Help last year’s June donors give earlier.

In seconds, you can pull a list of all donors who gave last June, but haven’t yet given this year. This is a great way to look at everyone who was late to the party last year and try to convert them earlier. That way you can spend June focusing on adding other people to the donor list.

Last Gift Date - EverTrue


3. Look at reunion, homecoming, and event attendees who haven’t given.

Your alumni and parent relations team is doing a great job engaging your constituents. Maximize their work!

You can copy and paste constituent IDs or email addresses of event attendees to create a list in EverTrue, then look to see who in that list is still a non-donor. Talk to those alumni and parents ASAP and ask for an annual fund contribution.

4. Think about end-of-year segmentation as soon as possible.

How are you going to segment your appeals to speak to alumni and parent interests? If you have our online giving platform, you can create custom-made, mobile-friendly giving pages that resonate with donors and make giving a snap. EverTrue gift pages outperform traditional giving forms by more than 30 percent and also allow you to see who’s visited the page but didn’t make a gift.

But if your school isn’t yet using EverTrue for its giving forms, you can still segment lists of non-donors to speak directly to what they most care about. Try customizing ask amounts by giving capacity or past giving. Use beloved faculty members from different eras to talk about how the annual fund supports professors. Showcase student stories that relate to the recipients’ major or industry. The possibilities are endless.

(If this idea strikes a chord, you should also check out our whitepaper on annual giving segmentation.)

5. Run through gift officer portfolios to see who isn’t a current FY donor.

While this exercise helps the annual fund, it’s also a good opportunity for stewardship and cultivation. If someone in your portfolio has given, make sure you’ve thanked them personally. And if they haven’t yet made a gift to the annual fund, this is an opportunity for a conversation or to touch base before the end of the fiscal year.

6. Raise participation by prioritizing outreach to engaged SYBUNTs and non-donors.

If you’re tracking alumni engagement, this is pretty easy—look who’s engaged, but who hasn’t given and start talking to those people.

But if you don’t have metrics in place for that, you still have options. Pull a list of SYBUNTs who have liked a post on your Facebook pages five or more times (our research shows more likes = higher likelihood of giving). You can also look at event attendees from this year, who’s used your Community app or online directory, or even constituents who opened your last newsletter.

Even though they haven’t given yet, all of these people have indicated they care about your institution and want to engage with you. Re-acquiring these lapsed donors or converting non-donors will drive your participation numbers in the right direction.

Engaged SYBUNTS - EverTrue


7. Double the dollars: target alumni at gift-matching companies.

Using career info in your database and from LinkedIn, solicit alumni who work at companies that have a gift-matching program (like EverTrue). These graduates are more likely to give if they know their dollars go twice as far.

Matching Gift Companies - EverTrue


8. Use Facebook interest pages to help segment appeals.

Oklahoma State University took a look at everyone who had liked their marching band’s Facebook page. They sent that segment of constituents appeals that talked about the marching band, which generated a 40 percent increase in year-over-year dollars. Pretty sweet!

9. Check and see if your co-workers have given.

See if all the alumni working at your university or school have made a gift. If they haven’t, make sure they receive a personal ask and information on why it’s important to support the annual fund. While you’re at it, check if your colleagues in advancement have led by example and already made gifts of their own.

We’re at the start of the stretch run in the annual giving marathon. We know there’s a lot of work ahead to close out the year and we’re here to help. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments. Happy fundraising!

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