You’ve seen them. Those alumni who drive to your team’s games in cars adorned with your school’s bumper stickers, who proudly wear hats and sweatshirts purchased at your bookstore – there’s a name for them. They are your college/university’s Champions. Champions are visible and vocal advocates of their alma maters.
While Champions are the most likely people to donate to their colleges and universities and in the largest average amounts, they tend to do so for specific reasons. Champions value the professional and social benefits associated with donating. Champions tend to want their peers to know about their donations and like to see their contributions highlighted in publications or on the brick of a building. Champions have a reciprocating relationship with their institutions. If they are going to give, they expect something back.
Although Champions are vocal and visible supporters of their schools, this enthusiasm isn’t always seen in the form of financial contributions. In fact, less than a third of Champions donated to their institutions last year. Furthermore, 49% of Champions have never donated to their alma maters. This statistic reveals that colleges and universities have a tremendous opportunity to cultivate financial support from a group of people who outwardly support their colleges and universities. This is further supported by the fact that Champions who do give donate an average of $354 per year to their institutions, representing nearly one-fourth of their total charitable donations. Clearly, colleges and universities need to identify ways in which to garner the financial support from the nearly half of Champions who have never given. Crafting communications strategies based on a deeper understanding of what motivates Champions to give is necessary to garner their financial support. Conducting research to attain this deeper understanding of Champions’ motivations, communication channel preferences, and resonant messages is the necessary first step.