Friendraise before you Fundraise

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Alumni, Fundraising, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts | Posted on 03-02-2009-05-2008

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Just wanted to share a simple thought I had working on a project last week.

Do friendraising before you do fundraising.

I’m more likely to give a good friend the $$ they ask for.  But a stranger or someone I haven’t talked to in years?  Probably wouldn’t give them the $$ they ask for.  Why is that? I’ve kept in touch with my good friend.  I’ve seen all of the great things they have done over the past several years for others (or for me).  I’ve helped them out, they’ve helped me out in the past. We’re friends. We have a relationship.

Compare that to your university or college.  This school in particular told me that they haven’t been very good in staying in contact with their alumni.  There was even a period where donors didn’t even receive a thank you note after giving. People want to feel appreciated, especially when they are giving up their money during these tough times.

It’s all about relationships. And that’s why I’m excited about all of these tools on the web that help facilitate friendships. Nearly every time someone on Facebook or Twitter asks for donations towards a cause, whether it’s a Polar Bear Plunge, March of Dimes, etc. I’ll usually give $5 or $10.  Why? Because I have a relationship with that person and I’d like to help them out. The amount might be small, but the friendship facilitated it.

And what would happen if my Alma Mater asked for a small donation on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn after we’d been ‘friends’ and adding value to each other for a few months?  I’d donate.

What can you do for your alumni? What can your alumni do for you?  Work together.  Be friends, and when that time comes, they’ll probably hesitate less to give $$ to the cause.