Week 1: Wednesday 11 November
Bluefrog has been speaking to donors about their giving throughout the pandemic. Over the last month we have focused on looking at attitudes to giving to universities (and schools). This session will kick off with a presentation showing fundraisers what the general mood is about giving, how giving to education fits in donors charity portfolios and what donors want to hear from universities now. We’ll be looking at the barriers to giving and what is motivating alumni to give.
Following this, Meredith and Mark will discuss the findings and share their experience of fundraising during the pandemic highlighting relevant learnings for educational fundraisers.
Week 2: Wednesday 18 November
It’s easy to feel stressed when you’re sat in your home study at 7am trying to call a possible donor in Hong Kong, staring at a small laptop screen, bleary eyed, wi-fi playing up, and you feel with your heart of hearts that this isn’t working. You’re worried about international politics and their reception of you, there’s no lasting impression of the institution and its beauty, there’s no physical gift or memento of meeting to share. It can feel a world away from meeting in person, either on the road or when your donors visit you. And worst of all, you’re locked up at home and they’re able to meet and socialize themselves.
But this needn’t be the case – or the only way to engage our supporters. In this session, two experienced international fundraisers look at how to get past Zoom fatigue, and how we can make the most of the challenging situation we find ourselves in amidst this pandemic, and what comes beyond. Join on us on a journey as we share innovative ways to mix-up our video offering, pivot planned campaigns amidst disruption, and share stories. We’ll look at how known supporters can be brought closer to us virtually, and how the rise in remote working makes it easier to make new connections. Last but not least, we’ll speak about the power of scenario planning and how international fundraising is likely to change in the future.
Week 3: Wednesday 25 November
You are invited to join this live, interactive session to discuss and learn how three different institutions in the UK and Sweden used donation and donor capital to support specific internal projects and improvements, such as marketing campaigns, an alumni journey map, team-building, and more. They will share how these improvements have helped them raise even more money.
Week 4: Wednesday 2 December
Stop Saying You're 'World-Leading', and Other Lessons From Australian HE: Defining a Mission, Refining a Fundraising Message, and Bringing Your Donors With You
Our institutions are big, complicated and multi-faceted, so much so that it seems almost impossible to describe them succinctly and accurately, let alone passionately. Most of us reach for the same abstract, lofty and positive adjectives peppered with league table rankings and sunny campus photos - taking refuge in an easily-parodied and homogeneous style that tells us little or nothing about the institution it tries to capture. At best your donors quietly nod approvingly, at worst think that there is nothing special or inspiring here, and perhaps their money would achieve more profound impact elsewhere.
In Australia, meanwhile, a noticeable community of university leaders, marketers and fundraisers are taking a different path - creating organisational narratives that are challenging, inspiring, different from one another and relevant to their communities. It's an exciting and rich environment for major gift fundraisers looking for new ways to engage their stakeholders, and creates a sense of mission and purpose beyond KPIs and league tables - a shift in approach that is achievable at your institution and could light a spark for your donors.
Catalyst for change or a major bump in the road? Creative strategies to keep your donors connected during COVID-19
In the several months since the beginning of the pandemic we have all had to make major changes to how we keep in touch with our donors; collaborate with our academics and advancement colleagues; organise our events and donor recognition societies; and work as a team.
Members of the University of Oxford Development Office will talk about the strategies that they have introduced to maintain fundraising and stewardship programmes during the pandemic, share what they have learnt so far and speculate how behaviour might change in the future.