Stanford’s recent decision to stop fundraising calls caught many by surprise.
In September 2016, Stanford University made a surprising decision: We eliminated our phone program for fundraising, the result of a dramatic rise in negative responses to our calling. In 2011, for every eight people who answered our calls and made gifts, only one said, "Never call me again." By 2015, the ratio was 3-to-1. From complaints in our general inbox to offhand comments in meetings with alumni, we knew that our calls were alienating prospective donors—and that we were compromising tomorrow's gifts with today's annoying asks.
Dee Dee Mendoza connects alumni entrepreneurs with students, faculty, and their fellow alumni, which often leads to gifts.
Dee Dee Mendoza works in development, but she thinks like an entrepreneur. As managing director for West Coast advancement for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, she teams with alumni volunteers to host the Dartmouth Entrepreneurs Forum in San Francisco, an annual event for networking, sharing ideas, and learning from speakers such as PayPal Chairman John Donahoe (Class of '82). Before that, she was a senior director focusing on innovator engagement at the University of California, Berkeley, where she and her team developed the Berkeley Founders' Pledge, a commitment by alumni entrepreneurs to make a gift when their startup is acquired or goes public. Since its 2014 launch, 234 entrepreneurs have taken the pledge, creating a gift pipeline estimated at $15 million over the next three years.
Are some of your alumni more interested in turning through chapters than in leading them? Institutions have begun offering virtual and in-person fixes for the book addicts among their graduates. Most of the programs are no- or low-cost, easy to manage, and attract new pockets of alumni.
Are some of your alumni more interested in turning through chapters than in leading them? Institutions have begun offering virtual and in-person fixes for the book addicts among their graduates. Most of the programs are no- or low-cost, easy to manage, an
Here are two truisms: These are uncertain times. Fundraising is as important as ever.