/Characteristics of Alumni, Major Donors, Corporations and Foundations Likely to Donate Funds to Capital and Comprehensive Campaigns

Characteristics of Alumni, Major Donors, Corporations and Foundations Likely to Donate Funds to Capital and Comprehensive Campaigns


It’s naive to think that everyone associated with the college is a prospective donor. It’s equally naive to expect that alumni who show up at glitzy events or receive slick campaign marketing materials will end up donating.

A college can, however, increase the chances of receiving donations from various constituents by following sensible guidelines. Jim Langley, of Langley Innovations, buckets them into (a) Affiliation, (b) Agency, (c) Appreciation and (d) Accountability.

Alumni likely to donate are those who:

Worked on campus when they were studentsRemained actively engaged/involved with the school after graduationAs students, benefited from special relationships with an exceptional faculty or staff Have consistently given in the past, and were thanked and told how their giving had a positive impact on people’s livesWere nurtured by ongoing communication and asked for advice on the future direction of the schoolSee an alignment between their personal passions, life purpose, deepest values and institutional ambition and valuesBelieve the value of their degree was far greater than its cost See their personal values being channeled by the institution for societal changeWish to pass on the most valuable lessons life has taught themVolunteered their time to the institution in various capacitiesWeren’t offered full scholarships

Major Donors likely to donate are those who:

See presidents who can articulate the story of the institution’s highest purposes and greatest possibilities, where the institution is today, where it needs to go tomorrow, why it’s important that it does so, and what it’ll take to get thereAre confident that their investment will translate into significant, lasting and transformational societal impactPerceive a clear sense of institutional purpose, which aligns with their own personal passions, life purpose and deepest valuesHave had an ongoing affiliation with the institution and have been giving for a decade or moreHad a voice or hand in shaping the institutionSense that the institution has the patience to work through a 1-2 year brokering process

Corporations likely to donate are those who:

Can leverage campaign priorities to realize their corporate objectives, including talent recruitment, knowledge transfer that gives them competitive advantage, and positive community perceptionsClearly perceive accountability and a measurable set of expected outcomesSense a model of leadership that is founded on stewardship

Foundations likely to donate are those who:

See a clear alignment between their purpose/mission and the purpose of the donation being requestedReceive a tight proposal with project goals, budgets, timelines, and expected outcomesPerceive that the college will be open to transparency, accountability and progress reportsBring other funding partners to the table

Learn more about Elliance philanthropic marketing services.

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