Strategies to Increase Alumni Engagement and College Advancement

It’s time to upgrade your higher education marketing to keep alumni and other stakeholders engaged with personalized messages. With a video message, you can communicate a sense of community, unlike a faceless email.  

Donors are most likely to get involved, stay involved, and offer their continued support when there’s something to connect them to the cause. Personalized videos put a face to a name and add a human touch to your outreach. Better yet, research suggests that giving campaigns that include personalized videos raise 105% more than those without.

The value of donor relations

People donate to colleges and universities for personal reasons. They might donate from a connection with a college’s mission statement or pride for their alma mater. Either way, emotion is the catalyst. 

With that said, how an Advancement Department presents its college fundraising ideas will affect how your recipients react. Of course, asking for money is a touchy subject; therefore, thoughtful communication is required and expected. For colleges, advancement departments can avoid sending impersonal messaging that ends with misinterpretations or a lackluster call to action with a video email.

The power of video for donor engagement

Unlike faceless emails, a video puts a face to the name and incorporates body language, tone, and eye contact. With video, your message doesn’t have to sit between the lines of a plain-text email; it is brought to life with personality and passion. 

So, a personalized video email leads to more compelling and transparent communication.

Video messages for alumni relations are the perfect communication platform for College Advancement departments. Asking for a monetary request, like a donation, through a video email will add a personal touch and drive more emotional appeal. 

Advancement departments can include videos in their giving campaigns or when reaching out for alumni donations. 

These videos are recorded with your webcam or smartphone and sent through a video email platform. Not only will this save the Advancement department expenses, but they will also have more time to get student testimonials to create a more impactful message. 

Case study for using video in higher education advancement

Lyons College’s Office of Advancement began using Covideo and incorporating personalized videos in their outreach and giving campaigns. They were looking for an innovative approach to improve alumni relations and donor relations. Over the course of a year, they recorded and sent personalized video messages for their alumni and network. After one year of use, they saw:

  • 70% open rate (compared to higher ed average of 25%)
  • 44% view rate of Covideo emails

Likewise, these efforts led to increased engagement, overwhelmingly positive feedback from donors, and an uptick in gifts. Lyons College even received an unplanned gift of $12,000 after sending a personalized video email to a donor. After using Covideo, Mary Lemmings, the Assistant Director of Stewardship at Lyons College said, “I hear from donors all the time, responding to their personalized video email, telling me they loved it and that this type of email is a nice touch.”

4 videos to use for increasing donor & alumni engagement

1. Giving campaigns

Any type of Giving campaign should represent your school, convey emotion, and leave a lasting impression. Many Higher Education Universities create a Day of Giving the Campaign to raise money for current or future students, but most donors don’t take action without a compelling message. Because of this, you should record a video message that connects viewers to other resources with exit links. Through video email software, like Covideo, you’ll have the option to add clickable, call-to-action buttons making your video a one-stop-shop for your recipient. These video email campaigns will run for 24 hours to raise as much money as possible for their community.

2. Invitations/announcements

Donor engagement requires techniques and tools that keep the donor engaged even after their gift. To engage donors, you can add a video message to your digital invitation or announcements for a more memorable experience. You can also use analytics to measure your donor engagement to help inform your advancement team’s next steps.

3. Thank you videos

There are so many use cases for sending short, thank you videos in donor relations. For example, if you want to send a quick thank-you message to someone for funding or a donation, send a thanks video to let your donor know that his or her efforts made a difference. Better yet, to strike the emotional chords, include a few testimonials expressing just how impactful their contribution will be on others. Overall, a thank-you video is a perfect medium to improve alumni engagement and continue a positive donor experience. 

4. Collect and share student impact stories

Student testimonials are the bread and butter for higher education marketing. Unlike plain-text quotes, alumni will see and hear students’ testimonials giving them a better understanding of where their gifs are making a difference. For those that want to learn how to increase alumni engagement, it’s through video testimonials of students at their alma mater. 

Adding video to Higher Education marketing strategies 

Not every fundraising campaign requires a mass email. Instead, campaigns, donor relations, or emails to sponsors need a more personalized message to cultivate the new or existing relationship.

To establish long-term alumni engagement, a college advancement department needs to incorporate a communication platform that builds trust into their higher education marketing. If a team member has already an established relationship with a specific donor, then support that relationship by encouraging them to use video email. The donor will recognize the team member and feel more inclined to listen to their message. A video email will create a powerful, one-stop-shop for your viewer through features like website overlay to guide viewers to your donation web-page or unite your message with a call-to-action.

Start improving alumni engagement and donor relations with video

It’s a no-brainer why alumni relations are important. Alumni are ambassadors and advocates for your university. Many of these alumni also help promote their alma mater and help college advancement departments reach their goals. Use a video email to create new create relationships with your alumni and donors, and also support the existing ones. 

Covideo’s free 7-day trial will let you record, share, and track all your video messages to help improve alumni engagement and donor relations. 

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