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Why The New Year Is The Best Time To Transform Advancement

By Geshri Gunasekera January 8, 2018

: If you're interested in best practices for advancement software, fundraising software, or researching an alumni management or tracking system, keep reading for more about advancement. This blog also has info on Salesforce higher education and HEDA so your school can become a Connected Campus.We’re all making #lifegoals right now – apply that mindset to your donor strategy too!

The underlying technology in most Advancement offices tends to be decades-old fundraising software designed to track the operations of recording gifts. While these tools serve a specific purpose, universities recognize that alumni, and a broader community of friends and family donors, can contribute to on-campus initiatives in many different ways. So how does higher education move beyond clunky alumni management or alumni tracking systems?

New Year, New Vision

It starts with a vision. How connected do you want your campus to be? How many silos have you identified and what does it take to break down those communication walls? Is your campus organizationally set-up to facilitate data flow between different stakeholder groups? It’s worth the time and effort to go through these big questions with your leadership and organization. As our Salesforce higher education community* tells it, this transformation is only partially about upgrading technology. Staff and leadership buy-in, an updated business process and a new constituent relationship platform that can support the vision are all ingredients to success. Need some help facilitating those conversations and strategic planning? We have an excellent community of partners to help get that discussion going.

The Holidays Are About Connections, And So Is Advancement

Our vision for each and every one of our customers is the Connected Campus. This vision imagines a single 360-degree view of the student experience that removes points of friction and assumes delightfully hassle-free transitions as the student moves from prospect to incoming freshman, to graduating senior and then alum. From a technology point of view, HEDA is the data architecture behind-the-scenes ensuring that we’re all speaking the same language. Need more visuals to get the vision? Grab some hot cocoa and check out this quick video about Sofia’s journey.

While Stretching Before Your New Year’s Workout, Think About Stretch Goals For Your Campus

What does your campus aspire to be? The Connected Campus starts with the innovation of the Salesforce platform. Ding! Buzzword alert! Ok, we used the word “innovation.” Like analytics, integration and mobile, “innovation” tends to be a word that gets thrown around a lot (we’ll have to tackle those other buzzwords in subsequent blogs).

When we use the term innovation, we refer to the expectations for transforming everyday business processes demanded by our wider Salesforce community. Remember, Salesforce serves customers beyond universities and colleges. Our Higher Ed customers benefit from the platform developments we make to keep some of the most competitive businesses on the planet ahead of the curve. What would it mean if you could personalize your interactions with alumni, streamline volunteers, and simplify moves management using the same powerful platform used by Adidas, The American Red Cross, and Amazon Web Services? Here’s what it meant to Westmont College and their fundraising efforts.

Other Departments Are Laying The Groundwork For Initiatives – And Your Alumni Can Help!

Remember that Connected Campus vision we covered above? Well, it works with alumni too. Today your campus leverages alumni relationships to share the benefits of your institution to prospective students, and maybe that happens on your giving day like in the case of Pepperdine University – who doesn’t love to accomplish two goals at once? Alumni help engage current students by offering career mentorship like at Allegheny College, summer internships and employment recruiting. Alumni are often the first conversation to strategic corporate relations initiatives, like this example at Columbia University. If there is an initiative happening on-campus, chances are good that your Advancement team can help support those goals by the day-to-day work you do…but that’s only true if you have a 360-degree view of your constituent alumni.

So will 2018 be a transformative year? It’s easier than you think. Start slow by reviewing our guide on how to get started with advancement. Read about our upcoming Higher Ed Summit in March…and better yet, sign-up to attend! Are you onboard with the vision, but want to learn more about Salesforce? Check-out our free courses on Trailhead, or contact us anytime.

We hope 2018 brings you and your team much fundraising success, ever-growing alumni engagement, and lots of inspiration to transform Advancement.

Happy New Year from the Salesforce Higher Education Team!

Get the Advancement Guide

*This link leads to the Power of Us Hub, our online community for nonprofit and education trailblazers. To log into the Hub, just use your regular Salesforce credentials. If you haven’t started your trial of Salesforce yet, get started today.