A $1 million challenge grant from a member of the Board of Trustees was intended to stimulate more alumni giving to the College and to increase alumni participation in the annual fund. In addition, Lafayette wanted to strengthen the themes and messages used in Annual Fund appeals and develop other activities and initiatives designed to motivate donors to give on a regular basis ― year after year.
Art & Science Group conducted research with 600 alumni, segmented by three groups representing different eras, ages and giving histories. The purpose of this research was to explore alumni motivations for giving, receptivity to different themes and messages communicated in Annual Fund appeals and the sources of their strongest loyalty and connections to the College, among other salient issues. Based on the findings of the study, we recommended a series of marketing and communications strategies and tactics including initiatives focused on rewarding consistency of giving and emphasizing in annual fund communications the importance of giving every year, regardless of the size of the gift. The research findings underscored the need for the College to emphasize consistency of giving rather than participation rates as measured by the US News rankings.
The key themes and messages used to make the case for support of the Annual Fund were dramatically revised and consistent giver societies established for those giving consistently every year for 5, 10, or more years. Over time, the College increased both the total number of donors contributing to and the total monies raised for the Annual Fund―two very important achievements.