While direct mail and phone remain strong methods of courting donors, advancement offices face the reality that younger alumni may not even have a landline or use a checkbook.
Donors should be able to make a gift inside a minute, and prefilled forms are a big convenience, says Dana Peterson, vice president of product development and monitor services for Corporate Insight, which conducts independent third-party research on alumni.
Not every advancement team has the resources to add a one-click transaction experience, says Peterson. For starters, some popular payment platforms, such as Venmo, do not support nonprofit giving. And many institutions do not want to work with services that take a percentage of each donation as a fee.
Also, most colleges don’t have the technology infrastructure that allows them to be agile. “When a school launches a microsite or mobile app, they’re stuck with it,” says Peterson, adding that universities aren’t “nimble machines that can just drop legacy systems.”
To remain competitive for donations and to generate brand awareness, colleges must deploy a comprehensive plan that focuses on connecting with people via social and mobile, says Peterson of Corporate Insight.