“It’s all about figuring out what data is important [to ATCC] and then where to spend time,” says Paul Finch, product manager of Talisma Fundraising. “We use the data to figure out who’s going to get the newsletter as their touch and who gets a personal phone call. Where is the best ROI?”
ATCC uses its DRM system to track every bit of information it can on its donors so it can turn every touch into a personalized communication. That way, as Pfeffer-Nohre explains, she can quickly pull up a report when a donor calls and immediately see what they talked about last time they were on the phone together, the spouse/family of the donor, etc., and tailor the conversation to the donor’s preferences.
The area where this has helped the most is ATCC’s annual luncheon event.
Springboard for fundraising
The turning point for ATCC’s fundraising, according to Pfeffer-Nohre, was when the foundation began an annual luncheon event 11 years ago. The purpose of the luncheon is threefold: 1) to thank donors for their gifts, 2) to tell donors all the new and exciting things they should know about the college, and 3) to ask for their help again. In its first year, the event raised $500,000, and it’s been the launchpad for the annual campaign since.
Each year, the hour-long luncheon follows a specific theme, and that theme is then the springboard for all the fundraising communications throughout the year. For instance, in 2012 the theme was “Paving the Way for Students,” coinciding with the new Foundation Hall that the ATCC Foundation built to house 150 students.
That theme then was incorporated in all the donor calls and phone-a-thons, the 5K run, and a wine-and-cheese event at Foundation Hall. Also, Foundation Hall has a large patio with concrete furniture, and donors could have their names engraved on both the furniture and the patio itself in return for their gifts. Pfeffer-Nohre hopes to leave that as a legacy, where ATCC can continue to sell those “pavers,” as she calls them, to future graduates and donors.