How to make your Alumni and Fundraising System part of your Development Team

Using technology and data to enhance your advancement programmes is vital but can initially seem overwhelming. Here are 5 practical ways that you can effectively harness technology that you have at your disposal.


  1. Building a reliable repository of data

    1. Think of your alumni and fundraising system as your colleague who never leaves – your institutional knowledge that isn’t stuck in people’s heads.
    2. It should be safe, secure, robust – and must be easily accessible and queryable, so you can interrogate it for insights.



  1. Grant access beyond the development team

    1. When you can, empower more colleagues to be able to review and improve the data this allows you to gain better information.  To do this you need an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and role-based experience so that you can restrict more sensitive data appropriately.
    2. Take active steps to consolidate spreadsheets and other information into this single system – so you gain a 360° view of your alumni, parents and donors.
    3. Ensure that you have access when on the road – this improves efficiency, removes deadlines and ensures face-to-face meetings are effective.
    4. Harness the power of peer-to-peer networks.  You have alumni and parents who want to help; empower them to fundraise on your behalf.



  1. Driving processes

    1. Your system allows you to effectively control your pipeline of donor meetings and proposals, so you never miss a task or an opportunity.
    2. It also helps you manage events, volunteers and communications – enabling you to test and learn what works best, for example whether a monthly newsletter has a better response rate than a one-off email.
    3. It delivers you step-by-step workflows based on best (and even next) practices.



  1. Automating processes

    1. Wherever possible, schedule data flows, imports, exports and other global changes
    2. Systematise your data quality checks to ensure you’re improving your data continually.  Query lists are a great friend for this!
    3. Use the technology to deliver online giving, events, profile updates, preferences etc – better for all concerned.  Join up your CRM to payments, so the process is optimal both for your alumni and for you.



  1. Providing insight and answers

    1. The right system pushes data to you – so you know where to focus time.
    2. It can also provide built-in analytics – up-to-date with changing circumstances.
    3. Increasingly we need to focus on metrics and outcomes – whether that’s for fundraising, engagement or demonstrating impact.


Your Alumni and Fundraising System has the potential to be the most important member of your Development Team, and one who can grow in responsibility and effectiveness as you grow over time.  So, be open to embracing technology and data as they can be one of your greatest enablers to supporter engagement.

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