How to get more donors on the map with Baylor University

Using tech to get more donors on the map

Since establishing a leadership annual giving team in 2018, Baylor University has:

  • Nearly tripled interactions, increasing donor contact by almost 275%
  • Uncovered numerous major gifts from previously unengaged donors
  • Increased leadership level gift revenue by more than 400%


Baylor’s Stephen Sullivan, Director of Leadership Annual Giving, and Sarah Kathryn Ricci, AVP of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, recently joined us to discuss how they are leading their team into the future by incorporating new technology to help get their teams out on the road, create more efficiency and engagement, and ultimately close more gifts.

View the conversation on-demand to hear their thoughts on:

The Baylor Team's top tech tools (22:30)

From never missing a beat on the road with notetaking apps, to pulling Docusign up on a tablet as soon as a donor is ready to make a commitment, the team at Baylor has incorporated tech to nearly every aspect of their outreach strategy. And recently, the leadership annual giving team has used ThankView to send introductory videos to donors. Stephen dove into the initial results, and they’ll blow you away! (Sneak peek…they saw a 76.6% open rate and a 31.4% click rate)

And while tech will tremendously impact your ability to engage with more donors and close more gifts, empowering your team to use these tools is also an important piece of the puzzle.

“Technology is great, but if you don’t invest in your team from day one, the technology will only get you so far.”

Good people + good tech + good professional development = the secret to success.

How they get more donors on the map...literally (37:00)

Picture this: You’re traveling to meet with a donor, and at the very last minute, they cancel. From your phone, you open a map of nearby prospects and view their job information, wealth events, giving patterns, and past interactions. You send a text to a previously unengaged alum, ask them to grab dinner, and you uncover their desire to give back to your university. A year later, they’ve endowed a scholarship and continue to stay engaged for years to come.

Now picture that occurring…many times over! This is a scenario that Stephen and his team are all too familiar with, thanks to their ability to stay nimble on the road by utilizing EverTrue’s map feature. Now, the ability to take advantage of every opportunity to engage with new donors is right at their fingertips.

Stephen Sullivan on getting more donors on the map

Why it's imperative to make time for high-outreach strategies (20:16)

“If you think your organization doesn’t have the time to take on a high-outreach model, I’d argue your organization doesn’t have the time not to do it”

The reality is, your current major gift portfolios will eventually age out. But the good news? There’s a whole subset of donors that will eventually become your planned and major gift prospects. Because of that, it’s crucial to invest resources in leadership-level giving now, to grow the pipeline that fuels those major- and planned-gift conversations later. Take the time to create a solid LAG strategy – your future self will thank you!

"If you are asking enough and getting NOs, that means you will eventually get a YES"

How to scale mass, personalized outreach

“Remove the obstacle of ‘Because I can’t see you, it’s easy to say no’

When considering how to connect with the most people in a meaningful way, it’s important to consider how you’re conducting the outreach. We know that using video in a solicitation can raise 74% more than traditional appeals (source: ThankView analysis). How can you say no to a friendly face!

That same concept applies to making an initial connection with a donor. It’s easy to ignore an all-text email – but if you open your inbox to a real human on the other end of the screen, doesn’t it feel harder to delete?

Personalized outreach at scale takes time, but utilizing channels with a higher likelihood of garnering a response creates more efficiency across the board.

And if all else fails – there’s always the breakup letter: a tried-and-true method that’s sure to get a response from even the hardest-to-reach donors.

“Remove the obstacle of: Because I can’t see you, it’s easy to say no"

If you’re looking for ways to create more efficiencies on your team and empower your team to build more pipeline, look no further than these tips and strategies that Stephen and Sarah Kathryn shared. Tune in to the full discussion and get ready to elevate your donor engagement strategy.

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