University of North Carolina Asheville Annual Giving Mail Campaign
Leveraging a shared services model for increased annual giving participation
Like most university systems across the country, the campuses of the University of North Carolina have been plagued by budget cuts and layoffs due to a decrease in funding from the state legislature. In addition, many of the smaller campuses have had poor cultures of giving due to relatively new and small numbers of alumni who have not been accustomed to ongoing communication from their alma maters.
As funding from the state legislature has wained, it has become more important than ever for each campus to consider strategies to grow endowments for operations and other needs. To successfully raise much needed dollars, campuses must communicate with donor prospects constantly and continuously—a difficult task when budgets are low and staffing reduced.
The University of North Carolina system approached M Creative to help design and execute an annual giving direct mail program that could be implemented cost-effectively by smaller campuses throughout the system. Using a shared services model, campuses are able to access a templated design and delivery solution that can be customized for each campus. The UNC Asheville piloted the program in the 2011-2012 fiscal year with six communications to various donor and non-donor audiences during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The series included letters, post cards, a brochure and two email blasts.
• 21% increase in number of donors (the predetermined, primary measurement of success)
• 33% increase in average gift dollar amount (from $90 to $120)
• 62% increase in dollars raised
Still in its infancy, the shared services model will continue to evolve and grow as campuses that have not traditionally reached out aggressively to prospective donors begin to realize the long-term benefit of establishing and growing ongoing relationships with alumni, parents and friends.