Soliciting Donations from Parents

Donations made directly to an educational institution can help boost innovation, technology and leading edge approaches to teaching which in turn ensures the school’s reputation in these fields.

Parents can also donate to sustain and enhance the undergraduate experience. This can include donations to financial aid, faculty support, and undergraduate life as well as capital gifts that “create a lasting legacy at the university.” [1] These donations help to ensure that students will succeed upon graduation and have the necessary tools and skills to find employment in their field. Ensuring well-paid, relevant employment for your recent alumni translates into a higher ranking and reputation for your institution.

Given the above, it’s not surprising to note that between 2000 and 2010, parent giving to higher education increased by 49 percent. [2]

Parent Giving – Identify who to Prospect

Choosing which parents to solicit is not a simple matter when you consider the numbers of undergraduate students enrolling each year. Get started by identifying who has the means to give.

Identifying and tracking these family members is the toughest battle to conquer – and it will involve conducting qualifying searches and developing effective techniques for communicating with them.

Once you do identify these potential parents, act fast, as a parent’s disposition for donating usually fades quickly after their child graduates. [2]

Next Steps: Tips to Prospect Parents

    1. Develop a plan begin prospecting on the first day of a student’s Freshman year.

 

    1. Empower development staff with data that identifies parental interests and needs before attempting engagement.

 

    1. Start early! During orientation, organize a ‘Welcome Parents’ breakfast so that parents of new students feel like an integral part of the institution from the beginning. Once they feel like they are part of the larger donor family, it’s easier to ask for financial assistance or volunteering hours. [3]

 

    1. Show results. Provide impact statements that detail how parental contributions make a difference in the lives of your institution’s community. For example, highlight use cases that demonstrate how philanthropy supports current student success, safety and wellness programs.

 

    1. Involve Students & Teachers. Never underestimate the impact of having a current student or teacher speak directly to the parents of new students.

 

In short, laying the groundwork from the beginning is the best way to ensure a significant capital gift or annual giving after graduation. And there is an added bonus to prospecting parents – you will show their children the value of giving and create a legacy for generations to come.

 


Sources & Additional Reading

[1] Parent Annual Giving, Giving to Yale

[2] 4 Key Steps to Maximize Giving from Parents, EAB.com

[3] Universities, Don’t Miss your Philanthropic Opportunity with Parents, KDDPhilanthropy.com

[4] The Parents Fund, Princeton Giving

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