engagement metrics

Engaging alumni from #GivingTuesday through the New Year

With #GivingTuesday around the corner, many universities and alumni associations are hoping for a post-Thanksgiving surge in donations.

Entering its fifth year, Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving intended to inspire people to express their gratitude by donating the money, time, goods, or their voice to various organizations and causes.

We’ve already seen some incredible social media campaigns from schools across the country as they gear up for the big day.

But the best #GivingTuesday campaigns do more than just inspire generous one-time donations... They use the holiday spirit of giving to inspire a whole year of meaningful engagement.

Here are a few key strategies for making the most of the #GivingTuesday spirit for months to come.

Recognize and reward engagement year-round

One of the biggest problems with one-day campaigns like #GivingTuesday is that they reward engagements on a certain day but fail to encourage the same behavior for the rest of the year.

Make sure that you’re offering the same incentives and recognitions for your most committed volunteers and donors year-round, not just November through December.

Recognize other alums who are making a difference or highlight a student who has benefitted from an alumni mentorship. Share relevant opportunities to get involved and alumni resources.

If mailing a koozie or t-shirt to every Annual Fund donor or alumni group leader isn’t sustainable for your department, then send out rewards randomly and highlight them on social media when you do. From a psychological perspective, these random rewards are more likely to create a culture of engagement than many periodic, one-time campaigns.

It’s not (just) about the money

Both on #GivingTuesday and beyond, it’s important to remember that there are many ways for individuals to bring real value to their alma mater without making a monetary donation.

Identify some small but sustainable ways for your alumni to get involved... ideally without opening their pocketbook.

For example, ask your Twitter-savvy alums to be social media advocates, sharing your posts and participating regularly in social media campaigns. Work with your admissions department to build out an alumni interview program.

In addition to strengthening your school’s brand and various programs, these alums will also feel more connected to their alma mater and to other alums… Making them more likely to donate their money, time, or services down the line.

Connect your alumni champions to each other

There’s no way around it – the greatest incentive your university can ever provide alumni is access to each other.

Whether through local alumni chapters, a mobile app like Tassl, or annual alumni leadership conferences on-campus, provide as many opportunities as possible for alumni champions to connect with one another.

Use analytics to better understand your alums’ engagement interests so you can provide them with the right experiences and opportunities to further relationship-building. If you use Tassl, use our filters to identify common themes and trends among alums and to craft your outreach strategy accordingly.

Creating a strong, year-round culture of engagement starts with your alumni.

Whatever networking opportunities you provide, make sure you use them to recognize engagement among participants and to facilitate future opportunities to get engaged. The more you can personalize your communication with alums, the better.

Use one or more of these strategies to both improve the effectiveness of your #GivingTuesday campaign and to sustain a culture of engagement all the way through the New Year.