The Best Annual Fund Article Ever Came from Harvard Business Review

First, please, read this recent article from HBR: "Marketers Need to Stop Focusing on Loyalty and Start Thinking About Relevance."

You back?

Just in case, here's a summary of what that article said: donor segmentation was the name of the game in the 80's in marketing. Then marketers evolved to a better use of channels to build relationships with their buyers. Then in the last decade they fought to create an experience for their customers.

Now? It's all about relevance.

I absolutely fell in love with their new 5 P's of Marketing (an upgrade from the 4 P's every marketer learns on day one). I've amended them here to speak to the alumni and donor relationship we are all working so hard to cultivate:

Purpose: Alumni feel their alma mater shares and advances their values.

Pride: Donors feel proud and inspired to share their experiences with their alma mater.

Partnership: Your constituents feel you relate to and work well with them.

Protection: Alumni feel secure when sharing their hopes and needs with you, their alma mater.

Personalization: Alumni feel their experiences with their alma mater are continuously tailored to their needs and priorities.

It's tough to add to this article. It really is the single best insight article I've ever seen as it pertains to increasing engagement and giving rates.

Now, as smart as this article is, are we really learning anything we didn't all fundamentally know? Nope. So then the question really is: how do we become relevant to each and every one of our alumni?

Well, we've been working on this for a long time here at QuadWrangle and the answer is automated personalization for every alum wherever you engage them. Here is a snapshot of a client's homepage feed and a couple of things chosen Just. For. Me.

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Certainly, this isn't easy. We're lucky to have had the better part of a decade to develop this technology. What's exciting is that the leadership thinking of this recent HBR article is now front of mind for advancement leaders at nearly every school.

If you want to learn how you can deliver relevance and the new 5 P's of engagement, drop us a line at

Nick ZecketsComment