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Four Keys to Cultivating New Donors

In our work with fraternities and sororities across the country, we’ve often noticed that the same core group of alumni — primarily older alumni — are giving back each year. In other words, the majority of your alumni aren’t donating, and you’re not gaining new donors even though you’re graduating more alumni each year. So, what can you do to encourage giving among your younger alumni?

1. Show them how their gift makes a difference. New donors, millennials in particular, need to feel like their donation has purpose. A large portion of your current alumni are, no doubt, millennials, so they’ll want to know where their money is going and why their gift is so important. You can’t just expect them to give you their hard-earned money with no idea of how you’ll put it to use.

2. Stop skimping on communications. Are your donors hearing from you on a frequent, consistent schedule? Building relationships is key to cultivating new donors. There are so many different ways to reach potentials donors, primarily through your alumni newsletters, emails and social media pages. Keep them informed and be sure to let them know why you need their support.

3. Personalize communications. Sending generic communications isn’t good enough. When you have a good database, there are all kinds of ways to personalize your appeal letters. Reference their years in the active fraternity, remind them of the time they served as president or even include a photo or quote from alumni of their era. When you can make them smile, laugh or cry at a memory, you can almost always count on a donation.

4. Reconsider your fundraising messaging. If you’re doing all the above and simply not getting results, it may be time to re-evaluate your messaging. Consider these six tips for writing an effective appeal letter. Is your fraternity or sorority relying on aging donors and struggling to cultivate new ones? Get in touch with the marketing and fundraising experts at Affinity Connection to learn what you could be doing better and how to increase your donors and dollars this year.