Several years ago Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, mounted a “First to 50″ campaign with the goal of being the first historically Black college or university to achieve a 50 percent alumni giving rate. In 2012, 43 percent of Claflin alumni made a contribution to their alma mater. But the First to 50 campaign can now be considered a success. In 2013, more than 52 percent of the university’s alumni made a contribution.
The university implemented targeted campaigns through alumni groups in major cities with large numbers of Claflin graduates, including Atlanta and New York. A call center was opened on campus for telemarketing campaigns directed at alumni. Online contributions at the university’s web site were instituted and visitors to campus could donate by swiping their credit cards at terminals on campus. Contributors can also donate money through their smartphones.
Allen Jackson, director of alumni affairs at the university, stated, “We have found that individuals are more likely to give back when they feel a connection or affinity to the institution. This can be in the form of Greek organizations or perhaps a certain major or members of athletics teams. The goal is to make that connection, giving donors the opportunity to give back to the areas that mean the most to them.”