Client Success Story: Improving the Effectiveness of the Annual Fund

“The research has been helpful for us in terms of developing a strategy of how to make donors feel appreciated and educate them on where their money is going. It has allowed us to improve our ability to state why that $25 gift counts when we may be getting a million dollar gift from another donor and we expect this to improve effectiveness of our annual fund in the years ahead.”

-Joe Medina, Assistant Vice President and Director of Operations & Analysis

The Client

  • Colby College
  • Waterville, ME
  • Baccalaureate granting institution
  • Private Institution
  • Approximately 1,800 undergraduate students

The Highlights

The Challenge: Sensing an opportunity to increase the return on its annual campaign, Colby College wanted to improve its ability to turn occasional donors into consistent donors.

The Solution: The Development research team conducted a survey of Colby alumni that examined the experiences and perceptions of donors and the impact of both on annual fund participation. Respondents were segmented by giving history and comparisons were made between each segment in areas such as barriers to giving, attitudes towards Colby and communications preferences.

The Results: Based on the analysis of the survey responses, Colby embarked upon improving its stewardship efforts for donors making smaller gifts to better demonstrate the school’s appreciation for their contribution and has also developed a new strategy for segmenting its potential donor base.


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