Web-based process drives student-donor connection

Posted on May 28th, 2008 by

Each year a substantial number of Gustavus students benefit from the generosity of donors. As a way to show thanks and strengthen connections between students and donors, students are invited to write thank-you letters to the people who made their scholarships possible.

These thank-you letters are a critical component to Advancement’s donor strategy. These notes show donors how their gifts benefit Gustavus, which, according to Ann Johnson, Donor Relations Associate, is important because, “the more satisfied a donor is with the use of their gift, the more likely they are to continue giving.”

Unfortunately, the turnout for these thank-you letter writing events has historically been relatively low–about 20% of donor-funded scholarship recipients sent thank-you letters last year.

When Johnson approached us about setting up a web-based process to replace their in-person thank-you letter writing events, we were confident that we could save everybody involved a lot of time and energy, and ultimately get those participation numbers up. Johnson says, “For our office, it was a lot a fewer hours of work. Instead of waiting for students to come to our office and sign cards, we were able to ‘come to them.'”

This year’s batch of thank-you letters are being printed shortly, and the difference in participation is striking. 75% of students receiving these donor-funded scholarships were able to write a thank-you letter.

This project has been a definite success. Johnson speculates that the increased convenience of the process prompted higher student turnout:

It was right at their fingertips this year. Students didn’t have to come to our office to write a note, they were able to do it from the comfort of their own room or lab. It only took five minutes as opposed to the time it may have taken them before.

 

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