Your Giving Tuesday Alumni Engagement Strategy

by Rachel Bishop | December 3, 2019
Your Giving Tuesday Alumni Engagement Strategy

Happy Giving Tuesday! Today marks the worldwide campaign to encourage people to give back to their communities. For higher ed staff, this often means reaching out to alumni to encourage them to give back to their alma mater.

As our partner iModules notes, it’s often easiest to engage with alumni for Giving Tuesday when they’ve already been in contact with you. This is why it’s important to engage your alumni right from the start. In fact, you can begin engaging alumni before they’re even alumni. This will help you form a relationship with alumni that will last long after they’ve graduated.

Texting as part of your Giving Tuesday alumni engagement strategy

Of course, your alumni share the trait that they graduated from your institution. However, they likely have another trait in common: cell phone use. Right around 232 million Americans text regularly. This accounts for 98% of the population. Further, nearly all – 90% – of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent. Most people text and they text quickly. Our blogs are packed with reasons why texting your students works. But the texting doesn’t have to stop just because your students walk across the stage.

Your Giving Tuesday alumni engagement strategy can easily lean on texting to produce positive results. Whereas emails run the risk of being marked as spam – in fact, around half of all emails experience this fate – text messages are far more likely to reach their intended recipients. Of course, the success of a Giving Tuesday engagement strategy doesn’t end at choosing to use texting. The format, content, and timing of your messages are all important, too. We’ll talk about these factors later.

The importance of an up-to-date CRM system

Texting is great, but texts are far more likely to feel “spammy” if they aren’t targeted and personalized. This is easy to see with a simple example we can all relate to. Which text would you rather receive?

Giving Tuesday alumni engagement

Giving Tuesday alumni engagement

Clearly, the second text is more engaging and targeted. A personal text message about giving to help current students in the alum’s field from a specific staff member reached the alum. The purpose is there. The call-to-action is clear. Most importantly, the message is personal to the alum, from using her name to connecting with her on the basis of her major when she was a student.

To create this deep level of personalization, an up-to-date CRM system is crucial. Signal Vine can work with any CRM system. For example, some of our partners work with iModules to store student data. Then, Signal Vine pulls from this data to know who to send which targeted message to. For instance, for an alumni use case, you might schedule a text to go out on Giving Tuesday to alumni who have yet to donate this year. With an updated CRM system, you’ll be able to target just those students with your personalized text.

Ideas to engage alumni during Giving Tuesday

We encourage you to use texting as part of your Giving Tuesday alumni engagement strategy. However, with the nature of texts that encourage alumni to give, we recommend only sending two or three of these texts a year. No pressure, but it’s important to make these messages impactful.

For instance, you could segment your alumni in your campaign depending on if they’ve given before. You could even segment based on the reason the alumni decided to give.

Giving Tuesday alumni engagementGiving Tuesday alumni engagement


You might also consider reaching out based on which funds helped your alumni get through college. They may be more likely to give back if they once benefited from the cause their donations would go to.

engage alumni via text

engage alumni

However you choose to segment your alumni in your campaign, you should make sure the messages are targeted, personal, and relevant for each alum who receives a text. With an updated CRM system and the Signal Vine platform, these feats are easy to accomplish. Even better, staff don't have to sacrifice time to make messages personal. Rather, they can schedule messages ahead of time for a large (or small!) number of alumni. The platform will take care of the rest.

In action: The University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburghalumni engagement is a great example of alumni texting done well. Specifically, Pitt staff relied on iModules and Signal Vine to target alumni that had graduated within the last 10 years.

The results of their campaign proved that an up-to-date CRM system and a comprehensive text messaging platform make all the difference in encouraging giving. Pitt staff sent roughly 53,000 texts to 17,000 alumni. As a result, they were able to increase their donations by 13 times. Alumni also shared their appreciation that staff chose to reach out to them via text message.

Hi Sarah, I love this new texting fundraising! Much better to connect than by phone for our generation. :) -2010 Pitt Alumni

Learn more

To learn more about engaging alumni through texting, visit our Alumni Engagement Solutions page.

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