Conference Session: Where Are We Now? The Ups and Downs of 21st Century Digital Giving and Engagement

Giving days. Crowdfunding. Peer-to-peer fundraising… Words that were foreign to most of us five years ago are now ubiquitous and becoming central components of many advancement teams’ strategic plans. Why? Because the writing is on the wall: an increasing number of today’s donors and virtually all of tomorrow’s donors and prospective donors live online, on social media, and on mobile devices. If we don’t meet them in those channels and engage them in a manner that they enjoy and want to repeat, educational fundraising will suffer for decades to come. Indeed, the prospective first-time donors of today are the major donors of tomorrow. The stakes for acquiring and retaining these donors have never been higher. And the competition for donors’ time and attention has never been stiffer. This presentation will take stock of where we are and what we’ve learned over the last five years, as an increasing number of institutions have significantly expanded their digital fundraising and engagement efforts with a variety of new approaches and models. The presenters will share a case study on Wellesley College’s innovative digital fundraising efforts, painted against a backdrop of data drawn from the digital fundraising efforts of 500 educational institutions (both K-12 and higher ed) and encompassing more than $150 million in online giving by more than 1.5 million donors.