Publications & Products
June 2017
Volume 15 Issue 6

Research and News of Note

The New Rules of Digital Engagement for Leaders

What Message Is Your Body Sending?

Giving USA 2017: Four Key Trends

Update on General Data Protection Regulations


The New Rules of Digital Engagement for Leaders

What does it mean to be a digitally engaged leader?

As it turns out, leading in the digital age requires three of the same skills that have always defined leadership: listening, sharing and engaging, writes one leadership expert and CASE Summit for Leaders in Advancement speaker.

"The same things that have always made a leader still absolutely apply," says Charlene Li, author and principal analyst of Altimeter Group. "They just look very different."

At the CASE Summit for Leaders in Advancement, Li will explore how leaders can spur their own digital transformation. It starts with understanding that an engaged leader, she says, is someone who strategically uses mobile and social tools to accomplish goals.

Li likes to serve up a story about—believe it or not—a humble hamburger to illustrate this. In 2012, the fast food chain Red Robin introduced its new Pig Out burger with bacon crumble aioli. But it wasn't an instant hit, she explains. Employees posted on Red Robin's internal social network, Yammer, about how customers complained that the greasy burger fell apart. The company's executives took note, refined the recipe at the company's corporate test kitchen and introduced a revitalized recipe back into the field in 30 days, says Li.

"Just to give you some context, it usually takes between 12 and 18 months to make it out into the field. So this is revolutionary," she says. Executives used a digital tool to effectively listen to employee feedback, share ideas and shape strategy.

"It says [to employees], ‘You have a voice. You're making a difference,'" she says.

Using digital tools to listen, share and engage is particularly important for advancement leaders, Li points out. In advancement, we invest in relationships—but too often, leaders don't extend those ties into the digital space.

"Let's look at who you're engaging with: alumni. How are they connecting?" she says. "If you don't walk that walk, you have no chance to engage ask them for money and gain their trust."

Devoting energy to digital communication on social media or internal social networks does take time, Li acknowledges, but setting aside a little time every day can make a difference. Missing out on online engagement with a key audience—whether staff members, alumni, students, donors—is equivalent to ignoring someone knocking on your front door, she explains.

"How do you not have time to at least spend 15 minutes a day to listen to your most important customers or employees?" says Li.


What Message Is Your Body Sending?

What are you saying without saying a word? Whether you realize it or not, you may be influencing those you interact with by showcasing micro expressions, says one body language expert.

"Fifty percent of what we communicate is body language and 50 percent of how we communicate are the words we say," says Janine Driver, founder of the Body Language Institute and keynote speaker at the 2017 DRIVE/ Conference. "It's really important to think about what your attitude looks like on your face and how you come across, because what's judged most is actually your body language."

Driver, through her work at the Body Language Institute, shared simple methods for understanding and using body language at DRIVE/ in Bellevue, Washington.

Know yourself. Do you shrug when you speak? Smirk when you're uncomfortable? Fiddle with jewelry or touch parts of your body? All of these subtle, instinctual movements can send the wrong message to whomever you are speaking with, says Driver.

"You need to know if your face is throwing a party," says Driver. When listening to someone speak, your face could change in a way that is discouraging to the person speaking. Driver suggests recording a meeting so you can watch it back and notice how you look.

Control what you can. Now that you know to pay attention to your expressions, you should also consider your physical placement in offices, meetings and parties, Driver notes.

"When we stay at the edge of a party or sit on the ends of tables at meetings, we get lost," she explains. "Frame yourself [by sitting] in the center of a table or in the middle of the room to send a message of importance."

If you're in a one-on-one meeting with someone, don't sit directly across from the other person.

"Orient yourself at an angle," Driver says. "It's less confrontational and offers a visual way out of a difficult conversation."

DRIVE/2018 will be held Feb. 27-28, 2018, in Bellevue, Washington. The conference planning committee is accepting session proposals until June 30, 2017.


Giving USA 2017: Four Key Trends

Giving to education in the U.S. has reached a new high, according to the recently released Giving USA 2017 report. Growth was fueled in part by the multi-million-dollar gift trend, but also progress in online fundraising and giving to community colleges.

CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham called this a "cause for celebration."

"[This is] a tribute to the hard work of institutional leadership, staff, volunteers and alumni who are all working to advance their institutions," said Cunningham.

Across the U.S., organizations raised $390 billion in 2016—a 2.7 percent increase from 2016. Charitable giving from individuals, foundations and corporations all increased in 2016; in fact, the overall rise in total giving was spurred largely by giving from individuals, which rose nearly 4 percent, according to the report.

Fifteen percent of total giving supported education. For the seventh straight year, contributions to education rose, growing 3.6 percent from 2015 to 2016 to $59.77 billion. But educational giving didn't grow as much in 2016 as it has in the past, the report noted. In 2014 and 2015, it grew by more than 8 percent.

Cunningham joined a panel of experts in a Campbell & Company webinar during which she highlighted four other trends from the report that pertain to education and giving.

  • Online giving continues to grow. Crowdfunding, online Giving Days and using social media to bolster student philanthropy are all on the rise, according to the report. "This is a space we'll continue to watch as it grows," said Cunningham.
  • Stewardship is still king. Higher education, according to the report, remains the most popular philanthropic cause for ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Though impressive, Cunningham pointed out, these gifts "do not happen overnight." Large gifts require stewardship and plenty of "time and energy" from advancement teams.
  • Community college fundraising is becoming more sophisticated. Giving to community colleges, according to the report, rose at a faster rate in 2016 than giving to other education institutions. That, said Cunningham, marks great progress. "‘Significant' gifts means different things at different institutions," she pointed out. "There are some really significant gifts coming in for community colleges because of the progress they are making [with fundraising operations]."
  • International giving is a new focus. As more U.S. institutions look overseas to recruit, that international focus will have implications for fundraising, said Cunningham, underlining that philanthropy knows no geographic borders.

For more insights, download the full Giving USA report. (CASE members receive 15 percent off with the code CASESAVE.)


Update on General Data Protection Regulations

In a recent blog post, CASE Europe Interim Executive Director Jennie Moule shares GDPR updates and details of a recent meeting with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Information Commissioner's Office, organized by the University of Cambridge.

As Moule relates in her post, universities will have an alternative to opt-in consent. While there is not yet clarity as to whether universities will be defined as Public Authorities under GDPR, higher education institutions will be able to rely on either legitimate interest or public task as an alternative legal basis to consent for processing personal data under GDPR.

This means universities do not need to rush to embark on a full-scale consent campaign in order to continue building respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with alumni and other supporters, unless they want to, Moule writes.

As institutions move toward the May 2018 deadline for GDPR, Moule explains that ultimately, the new regulations provide an opportunity for institutions. She adds:

"Every time I am invited to talk about GDPR, this is always my take-away message: GDPR provides us with a great opportunity to refresh how we view our alumni and supporters. What is our ‘value proposition' to them?...I believe that our preparations around GDPR are as much about marketing and communications as they are about data and compliance. Let's think of our alumni as ‘members' of an exclusive club. Let's thinks of our non-alumni supporters as ‘friends'. How does that alter how we engage with them and ultimately how we process their data?"

There will be GDPR sessions at the CASE Europe Annual Conference. The GDPR and Fundraising Regulation CASE community is also available.