No, it’s not DLHE…
It’s the new approach used by some US universities to engage alumni and to help them to focus on where they would like their donations to go. Getting alumni to donate isn’t wholly straightforward of course, but once donors are on that journey there is an interesting approach to getting them to choose where the money goes:
Many alumni face the same dilemma when they take out their checkbook to give their annual donation to their alma matter[sic]: Where do they allocate their donation? Most large universities include multiple colleges not to mention the various scholarships, programs and projects alumni must choose from.
An article that highlights the Directed Giving strategy argues that donors typically have three basic questions: Where does my gift go? How will it make a difference? and Why does the school deserve my support? While the second two questions can be difficult to answer quickly and simply, universities can easily address the first.
The University of Notre Dame is seeking to eliminate the classic “Where do I allocate my donation?” question through its new Your Notre Dame Donor Journey online quiz. The quiz— accessible from the Annual Giving section within the Supporting Notre Dame microsite—asks potential donors seven multiple choice questions in order to determine which area of support they should donate to. Participants are asked what is their favorite area on campus, Notre Dame song, Notre Dame color, campus dining hall, school mascot, break type (spring, fall or Christmas) and favorite weekend on campus (commencement, parents or football season opener). Upon quiz completion, the results page recommends a specific area of support and includes a brief summary of what that particular fund stands for and the type of students it supports.
Now, whilst choosing your favourite university song might not be entirely appropriate for a UK institution, using this kind of quiz to support alumni and donor engagement is perhaps not such a daft idea. In similar vein, Ohio State has this ‘Hey Buckeye Are You Scarlet or Gray?’ online quiz which is more about reinforcing alumni commitment than seeking specific donations:
The Are You Scarlet or Gray quiz results page displays participants’ percentage makeup of scarlet and gray with a brief description of what their score means about their personality and passion for OSU. Participants are encouraged to share their score on Twitter or Facebook.
Importantly, the results page includes two Support Your Passion links which both lead to a page of the same name where alumni can begin the online giving process. This clear call to action following the quiz is what the Your Notre Dame Journey quiz results page lacks.
Interestingly, while OSU’s quiz does not directly address the various destinations for an alumnus’ potential donation, the Support Your Passion page lists 10 programs that range from animals or the environment to athletics or faculty and staff. The page clearly lays out where alumni’s donation will go in addition to the positive impact donations have on both the school and community.
So, perhaps not that revolutionary. But everyone likes a quiz, and every little helps in alumni engagement and fundraising.