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More Educational Institutions Using Social Media to Fundraise, Measure Outcomes

Council for Advancement and Support of EducationMIAMI – More schools, colleges and universities worldwide are using social media to boost their fundraising results and are experimenting with new strategies, according to survey results released at the recent 2015 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Social Media and Community Conference.

Some 57 percent of respondents to the CASE/Huron/mStoner social media survey used social media to fundraise in 2015, compared to 47 percent in 2014. A majority of respondents (59 percent) report experimenting with new social media fundraising strategies.

“We’re seeing a steady growth in the use of social media by practitioners who work in educational advancement, especially fundraising and alumni relations, who see these tools as increasingly important to their work,” says William Walker, interim vice president of advancement resources for CASE.

Michael Stoner, president of mStoner, says survey results indicate that institutions are expanding beyond basic use of the tools and experimenting with new ways to engage donors, alumni and other constituencies.

“Many institutions are experimenting with crowdfunding, days of giving and other new social-media-based fundraising strategies,” Stoner says. “I believe that we will see more and more institutions using social media in these ways going forward.”

Other key findings:

  • Institutions are using less text and more images and video. Text decreased from 65 percent in 2012 to 43 percent in 2015 while images grew from 30 percent in 2012 to 45 percent in 2015 and video use increased from 6 percent in 2012 to 12 percent in 2015.
  • While nearly 60 percent used social media to raise money from donors, nearly 85 percent of those surveyed indicate that social-media-based fundraising represents 5 percent or less of their institution’s total.
  1. Fifteen percent of institutions have held crowdfunding campaigns, and of these, 50 percent earned more than $10,000 per year.
  2. Forty-two percent of institutions have held a day of giving. Of these, 84 percent considered the event to be successful with 37 percent raising more than $50,000.
  3. Twenty-two percent of institutions use social media ambassadors—often alumni—who are recruited to help promote social media initiatives.
  4. Twenty-six percent of respondents rate their use of social media as very successful or a model for success. These same respondents are more likely to plan, have goals and measure outcomes.
  5. Respondents are focusing their attention on Facebook, Twitter and institutional websites that aggregate social media.
  6. Thirty-four percent of respondents calculate engagement scores for alumni and donors and indicate that they are focused on building sophisticated ways of measuring engagement.

Jennifer Mack, senior managing researcher at Huron Consulting Group, says that measurement is becoming increasingly important as advancement professionals are asked to show a return on investment.

“Survey results indicate a trend toward measuring what is effective,” Mack says. “However, there is still more opportunity for growth in this area as the majority of institutions surveyed use number of followers, website click-throughs and anecdotal evidence as their top forms of measurement.”

The sixth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted February 19 –- March 26, 2015, asked advancement professionals at education institutions about their use of social media. Nearly 1,000 respondents provided feedback to this year’s survey. View the top-line findings and the presentation of those findings.

About CASE
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.
CASE was founded in 1974 and maintains headquarters in Washington, DC, with offices in London (CASE Europe, 1994), Singapore (CASE Asia-Pacific, 2007) and Mexico City (CASE América Latina, 2011).

Today, CASE’s membership includes more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in more than 80 countries around the globe. This makes CASE one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in terms of institutional membership. CASE serves nearly 78,000 advancement professionals on the staffs of its member institutions and has more than 16,000 professional members on its roster.

To fulfill their missions and to meet both individual and societal needs, colleges, universities and independent schools rely on — and therefore must foster — the good will, active involvement, informed advocacy and enduring support of alumni, donors, prospective students, parents, government officials, community leaders, corporate executives, foundation officers and other external constituencies.

CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with all of these constituencies by providing relevant research, supporting growth in the profession and fostering support of education. CASE also offers a variety of advancement products and services, provides standards and an ethical framework for the profession and works with other organizations to respond to public issues of concern while promoting the importance of education worldwide.

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