What messages can help reach higher education donors?
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Advancement professionals always aim with finding the right message for potential higher education donors. But with email inboxes flooded with promotions each day, how can they stand out from the crowd? And in the busy lives of their students, alumni, and their families, how can they motivate them to act?

Here, we look at four factors that can help influence your advancement donor prospects:

Where is the money going?

It can be very impactful to share a breakdown of where funds will be directed with your potential donors. Whether your school is planning to spend a large sum on an exciting new project like a building renovation or just raising general funds, this knowledge can help constituents visualize the results of a gift.

You can share this information in a few ways. You could make a straightforward appeal for a specific initiative, with a description of the funds and steps required. In other cases, like a general year-end appeal, you can outline a variety of projects planned for the next period. You can also provide a pie chart that shows what functional areas gifts will be allocated towards.

Who else is giving back?

The social proof is always an effective tactic, whether it’s used to sell a product or generate a donation. When an individual knows that others have made a spending decision, it typically makes them more comfortable to do the same.

While you can’t tell a supporter specifically which of their friends have contributed, there are still a few ways to share the social proof. You can list a few well-known donors and the amounts they have given. Or, share statistics of what others in their cohort donated, such as the total from their graduating class.

How is the school’s reputation performing?

One important factor your former students will want to know is the school’s rankings and reputation scores. Its performance in well-read publications can have an impact on the value of the student’s degree, which might even effect their career prospects. As such, it can be a powerful statistic to share with prospective donors.

This can work from both angles. When performing well, it can serve to excite alumni and their families. On the other hand, if the scores have been falling over the past few years, there may be more incentive to contribute to help the school improve its results.

Who will a donation personally impact?

It’s no secret that personal stories can be fantastic motivators for donations. For some, it’s statistics and data that will do the trick, but for many others, knowing a specific person or group they can impact is incredibly powerful.

Whatever programs you’re trying to fund, a personal story about those it reaches is always an effective messaging tool. Whether it’s a current student who it will reach, an alumni who benefited in the past, or even a faculty member who can speak to its effect, these tales will help inspire gifts from your constituents.

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