Customer Stories:

How TCU uncovered $700K in new revenue and $5.2MM in major gift pipeline in 6 months


Texas Christian University is a private research university with a vision to be a world-class, values-centered university. With scholarships being a top priority, the Advancement office works with generous donors and alumni to raise funds and secure private gifts to help the University remain accessible, affordable, and competitive.

The Challenge:

For years, TCU had seen a steady decline in their phonathon results. The total dollars raised had decreased 72% over 3 years and participation rates had consistently dropped. TCU needed a new way to connect with their alums in a way that was relational rather than transactional, and delivered the personalized, thoughtful, and meaningful engagement that alums expect from their alma maters

Why evertrue:

Donor Experience: Campus Creators by EverTrue is the industry-leading approach to re-engaging donors who have been left behind by high-cost traditional phonathon programs and mass-marketing appeals.

The goal of DX:CC by EverTrue is to turn the best student advocates into 1:1 fundraisers, curate a portfolio of thousands of overlooked, high-potential donors, and equip them with technology to send personalized videos that build meaningful connections with donors.

The TCU team partnered with EverTrue in September 2022 to hang up on their phonathon program and turn their 8-best student callers into Campus Creators. Here is some early ROI since program launch:

The results:

100% portfolio coverage of 20,000 donors

300+ warm leads passed to Donor Experience Officers

4,000+ donors retained (a 12% increase YOY)

$700k increase in the first 6 months

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.

Meet: Brooke. 

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:

Thank you for all of your cheerful messages. I donated $150.00 today for student scholarships. Cheers to you!

Thank you! I was so shocked when I heard my actual name in your message! That’s so cool and very appreciated. I am a proud TCU alum and I’m so happy to say my youngest son is going to be coming to TCU in the fall as well. Go Frogs!

My wife and I love your videos. So fun to hear from you.

Thank you for taking the time to create the videos you have provided over the last year or so. Even though I haven't responded before, I do enjoy getting them.

What a great way to thank us! We loved your video and we love TCU.

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.


Brooke, my wife and I love your videos. So fun to hear from you. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. We will miss your updates after May. I would like to make a one-time donation of $250.00. Please let me know how I can do that. Go Frogs!

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.