We were unable to answer all of the questions submitted during the Alumni Engagement - Worth the Effort? Webinar. Please find those questions and our responses from our JCamp 180 team below.
Have additional questions? Email JCamp 180 Technology Program Manager Kevin Martone and we will include the questions and answers here as well.
What is a useful database camps use to keep track of their alumni?
There are a number of database systems available that can be used to track alumni. Ideally, one system will capture information about your alumni, donors, prospects, etc. in one database; in that case, a donor database is your best bet. It can also track your gift and pledge information, as well as cultivation and stewardship touchpoints.
www.Idealware.org creates a fantastic review of dozens of good donor management systems. You can download it for free from their website (you simply have to provide your contact information - they will add you to their useful email list): http://www.idealware.org/reports/consumers-guide-low-cost-donor-management-systems/
Camps use a number of these systems, including DonorPerfect Online (DPO), eTapestry, Sage Fundraising, Little Green Light, and Bloomerang, among others. The important thing is to find the system that meets your camp's requirements.
Note that CampMinder and other camp management/registration systems also have an Alumni module. Your Alumni can be tracked there as well. However, their system does not currently include donor functionality (tracking gifts/pledges, tracking non-alumni prospects, etc.) so a donor management system is recommended.
I have seen schools that ask you to give the amount of your class year, and move the decimal as you get older (Class of 2015: $20.15, and in 5 years: $201.5, 10 years: $2015, etc). Do any camps use this?
Thanks for your suggestion. I think it is wonderful to borrow ideas from the independent schools. But I also think that this approach is unnecessarily constraining. Someone who is ten years out and expected to give $2015 but unemployed may not appreciate being expected to give at an amount that they cannot afford. And their bunkmate who could give millions will only give $2015 instead of more. In this case you have offended one Alum and under-asked another. Like Holly mentioned in the Webinar, it is important to ask all alumni to give a personally meaningful gift.
What are some great ways of stewarding and thanking donors?
There are countless ways to steward and thank your donors. You can find lots of resources about this topic by searching for Stewardship in our Knowledge Center. You may also want to review our Webinar on this subject called When "Thank You" Isn't Enough: The Art of Donor Stewardship.
Are there great resources online (on your site?) re: constructing an effective newsletter?
Unfortunately, our website doesn't have a lot of resources about writing great eNewsletters or Newsletters. A couple of resources that might be useful are from a conference workshop called eNewsletters 201 from a few years ago. You can find the Powerpoint Presentation and 2-page Word synopsis at the links below:
Finally, this article from the Nonprofit Marketing Guide also has some useful tips that any good eNewsletter could follow, whether it is for alumni, donors, parents, or any audience.
If you have any questions about creating eNewsletters, please contact Kevin Martone at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is happy to discuss in more detail.