How the University of Wyoming increased outreach by 2000%

Jack Tennant University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming increased outreach by 2000%, 6x’d the revenue from their phone program, and engaged thousands more donors within the first year of partnering with EverTrue to launch their Donor Experience program. Here’s how they did it.

Like many institutions, the University of Wyoming had a big gap in engagement of leadership-level donors. Over 1,000 constituents had given over $1,000, but hadn’t been reached out to for an entire year. Instead of pursuing  the traditional path of hiring Leadership Annual Giving officers to each manage portfolios of 150 donors, Jack Tennant, Executive Director of the Alumni Association, decided on a different path. He partnered with EverTrue to launch a Donor Experience program and teach their DXOs how to manage portfolios of 1,000+. 

Here’s the ROI from one year of three Donor Experience Officers building personal relationships with thousands of previously overlooked Wyoming alums:

        • Doubled the number of prospects under management
        • Increased activity by 2000%
        • Held 600 donor meetings in their first year
        • Raised 6x more from this pool than their phone program raised the year prior

What does the DX program look like at the University of Wyoming?

“We automate the process to personalize the experience…that’s what it’s all about.”

Wyoming currently has three Donor Experience Officers (DXOs). As Jack Tennant puts it, DXOs  are gift officers who build relationships with thousands of smaller donors with the caliber of personalization usually reserved only for major gift prospects. 

A day in the life of the DXO always starts with clearly-defined goals and to-dos. While  traditionalmajor gift officers spend the first few hours of the day getting organized, planning who they’re going to reach out to, and what projects they’re going to tackle, through the help of their tech suite DXOs open their computer and their EverTruedashboard tells them exactly who they need to contact that day. Less time on administrative tasks  = more time making meaningful connections = more opportunities to close gifts. That’s a worthwhile equation to us!

A look at the numbers

Since implementing the DX program, there are now 3,000 more Wyoming grads and donors under management. In the two years prior, this group of prospects saw a total of 800 activities. Since launching the DX program, that same group of prospects had 16,000 activities

What does this mean? No prospects get left behind. No donors slip through the cracks.

As soon as a prospect is added to a DXO’s radar, a series of regular touchpoints ( a “cadence”) is scheduled. As the time comes for each outreach step in the cadence, the DXO adds a personal note or video message based on the prospect’s recent digital engagement, giving history, or job changes. If the prospect doesn’t answer an outreach step, they are automatically moved on to the next scheduled touch point. The most important thing about cadenced outreach is that the timing and bones of each message is automated, but the meat of the message is personalized, authentic, and relevant, which makes all of these touchpoints meaningful.

And this cadenced outreach really pays off. Wyoming realized a 6x increase in giving from donors assigned to a DXO.

The road to 10,000 cowboys: What they've learned, where they're going

Before the DX program at UW, 1,500 donors were assigned to a gift officer’s portfolio. And Wyoming’s major gift officers did an excellent job withcustom stewardship. By adding 3,000 more constituents under management (a 2X increase!), the team doubled the number of prospects under management. That’s double the number of folks who hear 1:1 from their alma mater, get thanked by a human, and receive personal updates from campus. 

The Wyoming team has fully embraced our unofficial EverTrue Donor Experience motto: “Trust the process”. By committing to  going all-in on the DX method, they have seen quantitative and qualitative results.

“That’s how you know you’re doing something right…when the donors that want to support your university are thanking you”
Jack Tennant
Executive Director, University of Wyoming Alumni Association

One of Wyoming’s biggest takeaways since diving into the DX program? It’s possible to build a meaningful relationship without traveling to see someone in person. Gone are the days of planning a “casual” trip across the country in hopes of meeting up with a donor when you “happen to be in their area”. And if you do happen to be in their area, communication doesn’t drop off if they don’t get back to you right away. Within a week of outreach, DXOs create a cadenced outreach to help the donor stay engaged regardless of their location.

Jack Tennant noted that partnering with EverTrue was ultimately about creating an entirely new digital strategy to engage UW alums. The Wyoming team is one of dozens of EverTrue DX partners, so the sharing of best practices and tips for high-velocity outreach are plentiful They tap into a wealth of knowledge and inspiration from other EverTrue customers. They have greaterbandwidth to take on the journey to 10,000 cowboys. Oh…and their EverTrue Donor Experience Program Manager Teddy is pretty great, too!

Establishing the DX program at Wyoming was a shift. And change can be scary. But the Wyoming team knew that if they were  going to get 10,000 cowboys under management, they would  need to become laser-focused and  data-driven …and would need to engage folks well before they made their first gift. By partnering with EverTrue, UW has  shifted how they track engagement now…from incorporating social media interactions to tracking job changes, more personal touchpoints are created which sets DXOs up to build a relationship and then make an ask.

At UW, donors are acknowledged. Pipelines are being built. Data is enhanced every day. Everybody wins…and in the words of Jack Tennant:

“When we do this right, it’s fun.”

Watch the entire fireside chat with Jack Tennant

Looking for more inspiration? Look no further than this documentary highlighting an inspiring story coming out of the University of Wyoming's DX program that is sure to leave you feeling validated that the work you do really matters.

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