There are so many amazing stories rolling in live from the Donor Experience: Campus Creators program at Texas Christian University. Here’s is an illustration of the program in practice, through the lens of one of TCU’s star Campus Creators.
During the phonathon days at TCU, Brooke was one of 40 student callers. With a traditional phone program, Brooke had to call donors in the evening — during their dinnertime, yoga classes, or kids’ bedtime — which wasn’t the best experience for these prospects and many of her calls went unanswered.
When alums did answer her calls, Brooke loved making connections, but due to the data and privacy confines of the traditional phonathon, her donor interactions were transactional:
[[Ask. Gift. Bye. Thank you. Next.]]
Under the direction of David Nolan, Associate Vice President of Development and Campaign Director, the TCU team nixed their phonathon and asked Brooke to serve as one of eight Campus Creators in their new video-first DX:CC program.
Through the Campus Creators program, Brooke was assigned to a curated portfolio of 3,000 donors with new indicators of capacity and inclination in EverTrue, such as wealth events, loyal giving patterns, digital engagement, and job changes.
Then, with guidance from Harrison Klutz, Assistant Director of Leadership Gifts, and Aimee Furrie, Manager of Program Development at EverTrue, Brooke was given personalized, episodic video content guidelines and the freedom to add her own authentic voice and vibe to each video.
Brooke sent monthly, personalized video content to her assigned donors through ThankView, under close coaching and supervision from Harrison and Aimee.
She monitored donor responses in ThankView, and responded to donors to build further engagement and deepen relationships. Below are some actual donor responses to the ThankView outreach through the DX:CC program:
Here is one example of Brooke’s episodic outreach to a previously-disengaged (but loyal!) donor named Samuel.
Brooke's outreach to a previously disengaged – but loyal! – donor.
After Brooke sent Samuel four personalized video updates from campus, he responded. Brooke learned that he prefers the nickname “Buddy” (constituent record, updated!) and that he planned to make a gift that was $100 more than Brooke’s ask amount.
One month after Buddy’s response, Brooke sent another personalized video from campus checking in on his intent to donate. Buddy then completed his donation – and chose to designate his gift to Brooke’s program of study at TCU (not to the fund he previously supported).
The wins of the Donor Experience: Campus Creators program at TCU are many, and they’re just getting started.
In David’s words “In one sense, the decision to close down the phonathon was scary. And in another sense it was freeing. Now, we’re asking ‘What else can we do that’s new and different?’
Are you ready to hang up on the phonathon?
TCU was not alone in their declining phonathon results. Here’s what we see across the industry:
- From 2013-2017, gifts made by phone dropped by 21% (source: EAB).
- More than 30% of phonathon pledges are never fulfilled (source: JAA, 2016).
- 25% of annual fund donors don’t receive any stewardship at all. (Source: DRG)
- 1 out of every 3 $1k donors don’t receive a personal, 1:1 interaction (EverTrue).
- Phone call response rates plummeted to less than 6% (source: Pew Research Center).
Are you ready to help thousands more donors fall back in love with their alma mater? Connect with us to see if launching a Donor Experience: Campus Creators program is the right move for your institution.