Last post I said I hadn’t posted because I was busy…well, one of the main things that I have going on at the moment is for two days next week I am undergoing some predictive analytics training with Josh Birkholz from DonorCast (a leg /arm of Bentz Whaley Flessner).
As you can imagine, I am incredibly excited about it and already have lots of great – well, lots of ideas about models to run, variables to try and things to look at. So more on this after the training!
Its been a while since I’ve done any “proper” statistics – when I did a Post Graduate Certificate in Social Science Research Methods with the Open University which was in…(checks records) 2007! Crikey, I feel old. I think I got over 90% in the stats module though (I will have to check my files), so that’s good.
And I got a guy on the market to make this the other day. I guess it’s pretty sad!
It seems it’s been a little while since my last update. I have been busy with root canals, playing with infographics (a post on this will follow soon) and some upcoming training at work (more on this later too).
But, I loved this story on the BBC news website and wanted to share it with you:
Spurious correlations: margarine linked to divorce?
A man called Tyler Vigen has set up a website where he shows some interesting statistical correlations between variables such as maragrine consumption and divorce rates, Nicolas Cage films and people drowning in swimming pools.
As part of the programme at CASE, you can choose from a number of different elective sessions. I thought I would take this time to document here, the ones that I signed up for:
Building a culture of giving to education – Joanna Motion
- The number of donors is increasing steadily every year is giving becoming more normal or is it a response to increasing professionalism in the sector?
- Across UK universities, average participation is 1.2% but 50% of graduates give to charities.
- We need to draw out the history of gifts – why it is called X school or X prize or X scholarship. They are good at this in the USA, normalise it!
- Listen to donor’s motivations, non-alumni gifts are often to places that can deliver or have the reputation.
What happens after you get your gift? Stewarding your donors so they will give again and again and again – Martin Kaufman
- The systematic and strategic process of thanking/looking after and developing a relationship with a donor which starts with a first gift and hopefully continues for life.
- Everyone should be stewarded, but it is important to think of ROI.
- For major gifts, donor motivations are “belief in cause” at the top, “catalyst for change” is second. Duty comes fourth.
- Partner with donors, they are citizens not subjects involve them in the process of what you are fundraising for/the plan, don’t just ask them to pay for it!
- Nobody minds being over-thanked.
- If you don’t thank, you will be bad-mouthed, damaging your reputation amongst potential donors too.
Making the Most of Yourself – Joanna Motion
- Soft skills, listening, dressing for your next job, responding/adapting to the audience.
- PACT Purpose Audience Content Timing.
- Confidence (real or faked).
- (I stood up and told the lumberjack story – weird for me as I have never spoken it before, only ever wrote it.)
Measuring Performance – Jennie Moule
- Be pro-active about how you wish to measure success, or somebody else will do it for you!
- Consider what is important to your institution right now.
- Information should be used to illuminate and not support (ie validate a decision that’s already been made).
- Benchmark fundraiser ROI – salary in year 1, 3-5x salary in year 2, 5-10x salary in years 3+.
- ROT – return on talent, manage your best staff as you would your best donors!
- CASE have a lot of materials that can be used to benchmark
Fundraising for scholarships and bursaries – Mark Curtis
- Bursaries are means-tested, usually for undergraduates.
- Scholarships are about competition, usually for graduate study and about attracting the best.
- Alumni reunion gifts can inspire – class of ’62 scholarship.
- Some institutions have a reception inviting donors and recipients.
- A very personal way to show support as it touches someone in such a personal way.
- What if a student leaves or is expelled? Importance of telling the donor what is going on!
Etiquette for Fundraisers – Lorna Somers
- Name tag on right shoulder so when shaking hands it is in line of sight as you look along the arm.
- Keep ‘clutter’ to a minimum, no scarf, no drink, no bag (if at all possible).
- Hand-written thank you notes are simple but extremely well-received.
- Use someone’s name after they have told you it to try and keep it in your head.
- It’s ok to eat your bread while you wait for food! It should be torn and only butter the bit you are eating.
- Nothing should be on the table that wasn’t set there by the server. Turn your name-card away once seated, have stanchions removed by the server once you have found your table
- Getting into a car in a skirt? Bum down and swivel, reverse to get out.
You can see why I was so exhausted afterwards!
A few weeks ago, as April drifted into May, I was privileged enough to attend CASE Spring institute. For those unaware, CASE stands for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. They have offices in Washington DC, London, Singapore and Mexico City. They focus on Advancement – alumni relations, fundraising and marketing & communications.
Spring Institute is an intensive week long conference run every year and aimed at fundraisers. 2014 was hosted in Loughborough. I didn’t see any of the city at all, but the hotel and the University are magnificent. I drooled over their sports facilities!
CASE attract some magnificent people to volunteer and deliver sessions at their conferences. Joanna Motion, who recently produced a report on the HE philanthropy workforce in the UK, Bob Burdenski (annual fund guru), Lorna Somers (Queen of Major Gifts), Mark Curtis (New College, Oxford).
Jennie Moule, of University College London, was my tutor for the week. A good match; she is not a front-line fundraiser either, but works on data, prospect research, stewardship etc.
What did I learn? A lot!
- That I should have more confidence in my own abilities (I know a lot more than I thought – hence starting this blog)
- Giving motivation is a combination of head and heart. In HE we need to focus on the heart – no-one will starve if we don’t get that £5 a month gift, so we need to think about how to motivate people in a different way
- Talk about impact, not about need. No-one wants to hear a sob story in HE. People give to success.
- Etiquette (a bit hard to demonstrate on a blog – invite me to dinner, I will wow you! 😉 )
- You are wasting your institution’s money if you do not steward your donor
- A first gift is very different to a second/third/repeated gift and should be responded to in a different way. Retention is very important. The “muddle in the middle” – not the Major donors, or the non-donors
- Don’t necessarily exclude people from campaigns because they have given a recent gift
Various other things fired off little synapses in my brain getting me thinking about segmentation, KPIs and upcoming projects. Can’t wait to get started!