Tip Sheets

Supercharge Fundraising at School Reunions

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800.443.9441 | solutions@blackbaud.com | www.blackbaud.com June 2019 1 TIP SHEET How to Supercharge Fundraising at School Reunions BY JOE GARECHT, Founder, Garecht Fundraising Associates Because reunions present a rare opportunity for face-to-face engagement with your school's top donor prospects, these yearly events are a wonderful time to re-engage former students and develop new donor relationships while simultaneously cultivating alumni who are current supporters. These five tips will help your school get the biggest fundraising impact from its reunion events. 1 Think long term about alumni relationships. When it comes to reunions, many schools are tempted into short-term thinking. How much can we immediately raise from the alumni who attend? How much can we raise from those who wish they could attend, but can't? Let's make as much as we can now from the reunion classes! Beware, the short-term approach is shortsighted. You may make some quick money, but you will also miss out on a bigger opportunity. Class reunions are a time to reconnect with donors who already think favorably about your school. Think about reunions in terms of lifetime donor value and use these events to re-establish or strengthen relationships, so your alumni become lifelong donors, upgrade their gifts over time, and leave a bequest in their wills. 2 Keep reunions and all pre-event communications mission centered. Reunions should be fun and exciting. Your alumni will want to connect with old friends and tell stories about their time at your school—all of which should be encouraged by your event team. That said, also make sure there's a mission-related focus (it can be a small focus) during the reunion and in pre-event communications. Use the occasion to remind alumni about what makes your school special, as well as your vision for the future. Talk to them about the school's legacy and their part in it. Make sure they walk away from the reunion thinking about how lucky they are to have graduated from your institution. By including this mission focus in the event and reunion communications, you will pave the way for future fundraising activities involving reunion attendees.

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