The Blue and the Gold (and the Green)
* Unrestricted funds, which Nanni says are the most sought-after dollars for universities because they can address the institution’s foremost priorities — whatever they may be at the moment — totaled $31 million, breaking the previous year’s all-time record of $25 million; and
* Alumni participation, a tangible representation of graduates’ devotion to the institution, came in at 54.3 percent.
With Irish Online, the alumni association is poised to have another record-breaking year in these areas, its Web site now serving as a hub of information and services, and doing what every Web site should aspire to do: Give members a reason to come back over and over again.
“If Notre Dame can achieve that objective, we know that these people are going to be engaged at a much greater level. Engagement leads to stronger giving, both annual giving as well as major and capital giving,” Kintera’s Varano says. “So, it’s a way to treat each alum as an individual, provide them with the kind of information that they are interested in hearing about, and provide them with a Web site that allows them to connect with other alums, find a job, do all these other kind of social-networking things.
“And to have that within the university’s domain, so to speak, is a really strong selling point. The alums appreciate the university for providing that type of functionality to them. It’s kind of a feel-good use of the technology all around,” he adds.
Irish Online went live on June 20, and since then the university’s been plugging it pretty hard — sending out e-mail blasts; including information about it in its monthly e-newsletter and in Notre Dame Magazine, a print publication that goes out four times a year; and advertising it in the program for football games. In addition, it’s offering a fair number of sweeteners to get alumni to register and get involved. For example, alumni who registered on Irish Online before Sept. 20 automatically were entered into a drawing where they could win a trip to Italy, football tickets or a Lenovo laptop computer.