Browse by Professional Interest

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Crazy, Super, Cool
CURRENTS Article With 2016 coming to a close, Currents wanted to reflect on this year’s amazing innovations at universities around the world. Our favorites include a pizza ATM, software to help you pronounce names, innovative helmets, windows made with wood, and microchips engraved with donor names sent into space.

Recognizing Donors
CURRENTS Article Consultant Lynne Wester shows institutions new ways to engage their most influential donors.

Thanking Donors
CURRENTS Article Are You Still Mailing Form Letters? Seven smart ways to say thank you.

Reporting Impact
CURRENTS Article There's more than one way to tell a story. Here's how four institutions report to donors on how their gifts make a difference.

Outlook: Stop "Thasking"
CURRENTS Article Another institution's tactic isn't necessarily a best practice or even a good fit for your organization's needs. Yet bad stewardship ideas continue to resurface. Donors' needs are changing, and donor relations needs to evolve if we want to maximize stewardship to help boost fundraising, transform donor relations, and give donors what they truly want. We must take risks, challenge old assumptions, and use data to determine best and next practices.

Art Appreciation
CURRENTS Article The donor wall recognizing St. Martin's Episcopal School's recent capital campaign reflects its brand and visual identity system. In addition to featuring colors and shapes used in the independent school's communications, marketing, and fundraising materials, the donor wall also doubles as a piece of art that blends in with the building.

Thank-You Gifts Have Unwelcome Effect on Giving
Article,  BriefCASE Article New research shows that small gifts given in thanks for a donation actually reduce rather than enhance giving.

Demonstrating the Difference
CURRENTS Article Stewardship and donor relations officers, as well as other advancement professionals, must increasingly be able to answer one big question: How do we know that what we're doing is working? Underlying this question is a desire, sparked by an evolution in the thinking of donors, to help donors understand the effects of their gifts.

UK Universities Thank Donors during Donor Pin Week
Article,  BriefCASE Article Several universities across the United Kingdom are working together in an effort to expand an innovative fundraising initiative that uses special lapel pins to inspire giving and thank donors.

A Piece of History
CURRENTS Article One college crafts donor recognition gifts from wood salvaged from a historic building.

Advance Work: Bagged Another One
CURRENTS Article Northeastern University is transforming used vinyl banners into thank-you gifts for donors in the form of tote and messenger bags.

Little Lapel Pin Makes Big Statement
Article,  BriefCASE Article An innovative fundraising initiative that provides lapel pins to top donors is catching on at a growing number of universities in the United Kingdom.

Donor Relations/Customer Service: Tufts University - Silver Medal
Best Practice Tufts University's Office of Advancement Communications and Donor Relations created a new type of honor roll that would be a warm thank you for philanthropy and demonstrate the value of donor gifts. In making this decision, the team was following the sentiment of an emerging nationwide stewardship trend that providing information on the impact of giving is more valuable to donors than a published list of names.

Diamonds in the Rough
CURRENTS Article The practice of honoring donors for their support of an institution is a widely embraced tradition, although the manner in which such recognition occurs varies considerably. Today’s donors, the author writes, want something that is different, visually stunning, inspirational, and sophisticated. This article profiles some of the more unique types of on-site donor recognition installations available today, including Rockhurst High School, which hired VisionMark to build a donor recognition kiosk for the main lobby; Delaware County Community College, which commissioned ceramics sculptor Karen Singer to line a campus rotunda with custom-painted ceramic tiles honoring donors; Oregon State University, which worked with Presentation Design Group to develop suspended glass “donor blades” for the library; and the Solomon Schechter K-8 school system, which used Honorcraft to build a mixed-media wall sculpture of Noah’s Ark.

Their Names in Lights
CURRENTS Article When designing web sites to recognize donors, remember these tips from University of Pennsylvania pros: 1) keep the design simple, such as using a photograph of a donor with a few simple words; 2) feature volunteers as the subjects of your first recognition pages; 3) remember to get permission to use any copyighted materials before posting the information on your site; and 4) seek advice from donors about why gifts are made.

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