Higher Ed Online Fundraising and the Rise of “Money Bombs”

Arizona State: $3.059 million in 36 hours … Columbia University: $7.8 million in 24 hours (after raising $6.8 million just one year earlier) … Santa Clara University: 2,600+ donors in 24 hours – by far their biggest day for donor participation ever.

Thanks, in part, to a strong social media strategy, Santa Clara University saw record-breaking donor participation during their first ever "money bomb" online campaign.

Thanks, in part, to a strong social media strategy, Santa Clara University saw record-breaking donor participation during their first ever “money bomb” online campaign.

Short duration, online fundraising campaigns or “money bombs” are taking over higher education. But it’s not as easy as sending out an email and posting a few things on Facebook. The institutions that have had success have invested tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in three main areas to prepare for these online events:

  • Well-designed, donor-centric online infrastructure (campaign landing pages, giving forms, mobile sites, etc).
  • A long-term online and social media strategy (not just for the campaign, but throughout the year).
  • Peer-to-peer or online ambassador programs.

If you’re interested in learning much more about the above suggestions, check out the following web chat from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (full-length chat posted below). In it, I’m joined by Georgetown’s Joannah Pickett (chief architect and strategist behind GU’s perfectly executed City Challenge online campaigns), Ohio State’s Chad Warren (one of the best online campaign planners in the business who has both Florida State’s Great Give and Dayton’s I Love UD campaigns under his belt), and the Chronicle’s Cody Switzer:

 

Are you ready to plan an online fundraising campaign for your institution? We have plenty of experience helping our clients achieve online fundraising success during these money bomb efforts. Click here for my BWF contact info or here for my LinkedIn to connect with me (Justin Ware) and learn more about how we might work together.

 

I Love UD – Another Online Ambassador Campaign Nets Million Dollar Results

ILoveUDHomepageBannerAnother online ambassador program has resulted in a 7-figure-plus fundraising campaign for a higher education institution. This time, it’s the University of Dayton and their I Love UD campaign. In addition to the spectacular fundraising haul and large number of new donors acquired (27 percent of the 3,016 donors were making their first ever gift to Dayton), this online campaign had a strong focus on donor retention. Chad Warren, the brains behind Florida State’s inaugural Great Give goes into detail about I Love UD’s donor retention plan …a plan that was built into the campaign. For specific tips on retaining new donors during online campaigns, start watching at about the 3-minute mark in the video below. Or, watch the whole thing to learn more about just how awesome the first I Love UD campaign was…

To learn more about building online ambassador programs that lead to successful fundraising campaigns, contact BWF’s Director of Interactive Communication Justin Ware, by clicking here.

Florida State Wins Big with 36-hour Online Fundraising Campaign

LogoIn August 2011, BWF had the good fortune of being invited to conduct a social media strategy workshop at The Florida State University. After the workshop, Chad Warren – Director of Annual Giving, set to work applying the principles we established during the workshop. Within a few months, plans were in a place for an online-only giving campaign that would take place over a short period of time – 36 hours, to be exact. Chad and his small team of three, with a budget of less than $10,000, worked hard using social media, email, traditional media (TV, print, radio), and direct mail to promote the 36-hour campaign in the days leading up to and during the event.

The results speak for themselves – $186,000 given by 1,100 different donors during the 36-hour period. Of those 1,100 donors, 380 had never given to FSU before and nearly 90 percent of them had never given online. Chad talks more about how the FSU “Great Give” was conducted in the video below… And about how the successful promotion of the Great Give through digital channels could translate into big savings thanks to no longer having to rely as heavily on traditional, more expensive annual fund tactics like direct mail.

For more information on social media in philanthropy, visit BWF.com.