The full story:
When BU kicked off a project to convert an iconic, 100-year-old building known as the Castle into a new Alumni Center, the BU team announced the exciting news on Facebook and began publishing a series of posts about the Castle.
The posts wound up garnering hundreds of likes and comments from alumni and constituents. As part of their fundraising strategy, the BU team decided to take advantage of that valuable data to help generate support for the $5 million Castle renovation.
In EverTrue, the team used the keyword search feature to pull lists of people who had engaged with Facebook posts mentioning the Castle. They then put those engaged contacts into the telefund program for prioritized outreach.
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While phone solicitations generally yield a 30 percent conversion rate (the percentage of people who answer the phone and make a gift), telefund calls about donating to the Alumni Center saw an impressive conversion rate of 75 percent.
“It was a huge uplift,” Stephanie Quinn, director of annual giving, said. “Our success was due to a combination of being able to market a specific cause and using EverTrue to make sure we targeted the people who were most likely to give.”
Kristy Kime, associate director of online engagement, echoed the value of connecting her team’s social media efforts to fundraising projects such as the Alumni Center—for which construction is already in motion.
“Engagement is great, but at the end of the day we also need to help raise funds,” Kristy said. “EverTrue is a like a lead generation tool… it ings a new set of data that we can use to conduct targeted marketing about a campaign or event.”
BU’s targeted approach also played out on BU Giving Day 2017, a universitywide effort to raise support for a variety of BU causes—including colleges and schools, campus clubs, athletics, and more. In the four-week period leading up to the Giving Day, BU created social content promoting the event and made EverTrue lists of constituents who engaged with those posts.
According to Phil DiMartino, associate director of annual giving for digital programs, the team funneled those post engagers into segmented email appeals that contained unique messaging. They also targeted that audience with a Facebook ad asking them to sign up to become online ambassadors and to help spread the word for the Giving Day.
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“EverTrue gave us a leg up in terms of knowing how to communicate with that audience,” Phil said. “We were able to take it to the next level and be a little more direct in our asks and solicitations with that group.”
The targeted messaging has paid off: supported in part by identification in EverTrue, the team has seen 52 percent growth year-over-year in their ambassador base, with around 380 total ambassadors today. In addition, with EverTrue segmentation incorporated in their strategy, BU shattered previous records to raise $2.3 million from over 11,500 gifts on the university’s fourth-annual Giving Day.
Beyond large-scale campaigns, the BU team continues to find creative ways to use EverTrue in their everyday work. Recently, they’ve been sending appeals to contacts who engaged with Facebook video content about current scholarship students.
The emails—which contain messaging about the impact of scholarship giving and include a direct ask—have an average open rate of 36 percent. In addition, gifts to BU scholarship funds are now up seven percent year-over-year.
“We know about the alumni who received scholarships or those who’ve given to that area before, but EverTrue data helps us find new people who might be interested in the cause,” Stephanie said.
No matter the initiative—whether the Alumni Center, a giving day, or scholarship fund—with EverTrue in their wheelhouse, BU is able to connect with more potential donors and increase awareness for the different opportunities to propel the university forward.