The Oregon State University Foundation, Emory University, Western Kentucky University, Louisiana Tech University, Boise State University, and others partner with EverTrue to launch digital gift officer programs to transform the donor experience for tens of thousands of supporters.
EverTrue — the leading provider of data, software, and strategy for higher education advancement — is introducing EverTrue Premier, a new level of partnership for colleges and universities that want to increase donor retention and identify more major gift prospects.
Via this Premier level of service, EverTrue customizes software solutions and fundraising strategies for its partners, then works hand-in-hand with these institutions to build and manage teams of digital gift officers called Donor Experience Officers (DXOs). These fundraisers each oversee portfolios of 1,000 or more people, using EverTrue’s fresh data, modern technology, and customer-centric outreach strategies to provide one-on-one experiences to hundreds of donors each month.
Historically, higher education fundraising teams have delivered exceptional customer service and built strong relationships with the few top donors. At American colleges, just 2.8 percent* of alumni are assigned to a major gift officer who gives that person individual attention and works with them to manage their philanthropic interests.
But what about the other 97.2 percent of graduates?
Until now, the vast majority of alumni and donors received little individual attention. For decades, advancement teams have relied on print appeals and mass marketing efforts to engage, solicit, and steward these donors. This impersonal, one-size-fits-all approach has led to a 33 percent decline in alumni annual participation rates in the past 15 years.
As higher education faces a shrinking pool of regular donors, a recent survey conducted by EverTrue found that 70% of advancement professionals were “concerned” about building future major gift pipeline.
“Consumers expect buying experiences that are tailored to their interests and needs, whether they’re planning a trip, buying a car, shopping online, or streaming videos at home. Higher ed donors deserve the same personalized experience,” said Brent Grinna, Founder and CEO of EverTrue. “That’s why we’ve created EverTrue Premier in partnership with a dozen leading institutions. We want tens of thousands of donors to have a one-on-one relationship with their alma mater, receive concierge-level service, and know beyond a doubt that their giving makes a difference.”
The typical four-year university advancement team retains about 65 percent of donors annually. The Oregon State University Foundation team wanted to do better. OSU has thousands of donors who have given between $1,000-$5,000 annually, representing millions in revenue and more in potential lifetime giving. Yet this critical group of mid-level donors received little personal outreach from the institution.
Working in tandem with EverTrue, Oregon State launched its EverTrue Premier partnership in early 2020. It created a team of three DXOs who are coached by EverTrue’s expert fundraising program managers on how to handle large portfolios, engage donors regularly through cadence-driven outreach, create custom stories and experiences for supporters, deliver solicitations, identify new major gift prospects, and more.
In the first six months of their Premier partnership, Oregon State DXO’s interacted with nearly 2,000 donors in direct, personal ways including video conferences, email, social media messaging, and more. They retained donors in their portfolios at a rate that was 30 percent higher than OSU’s average retention and several of these constituents are now discussing major gift proposals with the university.
“We knew something needed to change if we wanted to build strong, personal relationships with these overlooked donors,” said Mark Koenig, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Technology at the Oregon State University Foundation. “Through our partnership with EverTrue, we’ve seen our Donor Experience Officers do incredible work. They each interact with hundreds of people each month, identifying new major gift prospects and retaining donors during some pretty challenging times. They work fast and everything they do is designed around the donor’s interests. We believe this is a great model for the future of development work and has opportunities across our organization.”
With its Premier services, EverTrue partners with customers in three key areas to create and manage these DXO programs.
A Premier partnership starts with EverTrue identifying overlooked potential within the institution’s donor base with an emphasis on retaining and growing gifts from current, highly engaged, wealthy, mid-level donors. EverTrue’s proprietary approach to prospect identification leverages continually updated career and interest data, Facebook and event engagement, net worth insights, past giving, and more to create a pool of high-impact donors.
EverTrue gives these fundraisers customized software that makes it easy to manage large, 1,000-prospect portfolios and deliver tailored experiences to each person. EverTrue provides each DXO a suite of integrated tools including its own Relationship Management platform, SalesLoft, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and video and email software, and teaches them the best ways to use technology to create exceptional donor experiences at scale.
Ongoing Management and Shared Goals
An EverTrue program manager with expertise in fundraising and sales delivers ongoing management and supervision of the DXOs. These supervisors guide strategy, provide day-to-day management, ensure the fundraisers hit their donor engagement and retention goals, implement new tools and tactics, and provide regular coaching and learning opportunities.
The launch of EverTrue Premier signals a seminal shift in higher ed fundraising. Thanks to this program, every college and university can offer a customized, one-on-one experience to thousands more alumni and supporters. EverTrue’s Premier partners will increase the retention of high-potential donors and acquire new major gifts by building stronger, more personal relationships with more alumni than ever before.
Learn more at www.evertrue.com/premier.
EverTrue’s software, powered by exclusive TrueView insights, gives fundraising teams a comprehensive view of every donor by connecting their data to a hub of social and demographic information sources. Today, more than half of the top 100 colleges use EverTrue’s modern, mobile-first platform to engage alumni, fundraise, discover prospects, manage gift officer portfolios, and coordinate volunteer programs. EverTrue is headquartered in Boston and is backed by University Ventures and Bain Capital Ventures. Visit EverTrue at www.evertrue.com.