A slow economic recovery, the proliferation of social media, and the borderless global education community are having an impact on how advancement offices go about attracting private support.
These insights are among the findings of a new study, “Use of Technology for Development & Alumni/Constituent Relations Among Case Members,” commissioned by the Council for Advancement Support of Education (CASE) and Ellucian.
The study confirms that the 360 participants surveyed largely view technology as essential to achieving fundraising goals, but the lack of qualified staff and financial resources has hindered their ability to use technology to its fullest potential.
A lack of collaboration between advancement offices and other departments continues to pose challenges to successfully meeting strategic goals. A recommendation of the study is for advancement professionals to take advantage of new opportunities to share resources and technologies in support of shared goals.
CASE members reported that alumni-focused online communities, popular communication channels in 2010, are swiftly being replaced with communication via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Even so, the report recommends against becoming too entrenched in the tactics of social media and instead “adopt social media with a purpose, and tie that purpose to a clearly-articulated strategy for constituent engagement” that align with specific goals.
Telefundraising technology is currently being used by 50 percent of institutions, up from 37 percent in 2010. The data also show that many institutions still have not implemented strategic reporting tools, though reporting and analytics is a primary priority. The slow economic recovery was cited as a factor that is contributing to this lag.
A theme recommended throughout the study is collaboration. Collaboration among peers and with technology partners is highlighted as an action that can extend knowledge, resources, and results. At Ellucian, we concur with the recommendation and work to facilitate collaboration within the customer community and through advisory boards and, community source resources, as well as a robust partner program to support institutions in realizing their strategic visions.