Let this list be your guide to your Alumni Fund responsibilities at different points in the Alumni Fund year.
Head Agents: Work with your class president to send out an opening letter to the class—this is not an ask letter but more of a general class update.
- Focus on engagement with your classmates, and involve your class president in your efforts.
- Consider writing all three of your letters at once in the fall, even though they will be sent out throughout the fund year. This way, you know they’re written, and you can always go back and edit or rewrite if necessary.
Head Agents: Make first contact with your classmates to ask them to contribute to the Alumni Fund. The Alumni Fund Office can send this out for you via email, with a physical letter going to those for whom the college has no email contact.
- Not sure what to write, or how to begin? Look at sample solicitations and borrow ideas from other classes.
- Class unity is great, and you’ll want this first message that folks get to be on point. But consider doing some segmentation: have one version go to donors from the previous year, thanking them for their support, or encourage your top-level donors do demonstrate their leadership once again through their philanthropy to Williams.
Associate Agents: Send an initial “hey, how are you?” email or other greeting to the folks on your list.
All Agents: Make your own Alumni Fund gift, and encourage your Associate Agents to make their gifts now, too. It is much easier to ask someone to join you in supporting Williams than to ask them for a gift when you have not yet made one.
Head Agents: Follow up with classmates who have not yet made a gift with a second solicitation.
- Consider making this contact via snail mail with a pre-addressed (and stamped) return envelope for their gift. Many people like to give at the end of the year, and though gifts may be made at any time online (http://give2.williams.edu) many year-end donors like to send checks.
All Agents: Get excited–the busiest and most exciting part the Alumni Fund year is almost here.
Head Agents: Set yourself up for success: write a final solicitation to your classmates, and figure out a strategy for “open season” on LYBUNTs and other non-donors.
- You may want to do more than one “final” solicitation to all non-donors between now and March 15. Dates to consider include Valentine’s Day (February 14) and Ephraim Williams’ birthday (March 7).
- Figure out how you want to track agent participation in the last big push to the end of the fund. Many classes set up shared documents in Google Drive and send out daily emails listing 8-10 classmates to contact during the month of February. Your Alumni Fund Development Officer can help you figure out how many days and how many names per day to do, along with plans for following up with classmates who commit to give (but don’t actually go through with it right away) and motivating and praising agents.
Remind your agent team that the busy season is coming. Publicly praise individuals who have very few non-donors on their lists, and let them know the plan for LYBUNT season as soon as you can.
All Agents: LYBUNT season is here!
- Time to act on the plan you set up in January, and send out daily messages to the agent team featuring the non-donors of the day and how to reach them.
- Include a link back to the list of all non-donors so that members of your team can work ahead, or follow up with folks who said they’d give (but haven’t yet).
- Let your most loyal LYBUNTs know a few days before they are scheduled to come up in your LYBUNT push–that way, they can quickly and easily make a gift without being hounded.
- Consider doing a special email on Valentine’s Day. Some classes send one to donors thanking them for showing the purple love through their Alumni Fund gift; other classes send one to non-donors reminding them of the warmth and friendship they found on campus, even during the Berkshire blizzards that are common in February.
Head Agents: Your agent team will start to feel tired and burned out during the LYBUNT push. Stay upbeat, and look to other class leaders to be the carrot or stick that you need. Co-head agents are especially good for this, but class presidents can also step in to play good cop, bad cop and keep the team motivated. Celebrate successes (like first time donors) as they happen, and thank individuals for their good work over the listserv.
All Agents: Almost there! Just two short weeks remain before the trophy deadline of March 15.
- Circle back to classmates who promised they would make gifts to the Alumni Fund, but who have yet to do so. A gentle reminder may be all that is needed.
- Consider going back through the list of LYBUNTs or other non-donors, now that it is much shorter, to see which classmates may need to be contacted again.
- Not sure who is most likely to give? Looking at giving history and consecutive years of giving, in combination with the engagement score (which your Alumni Fund Development Officer can provide) may help!
Check in on the trophy races and use this to help motivate your agent team. In one of the ten youngest classes? The Young Alumni Challenge may provide that extra incentive your agents need to contact their assignments before March 15.
Once the trophies have been announced, circle back to your class and let them know how you did. Remember that there are still several months left in the Alumni Fund year, but that your main work as volunteers is done until October.
April through August
Head Agents: Use the spring and summer months to refine your strategy and schedule for next year.
- Close the loop with your agent team. Congratulate them on a job well done, and set the tone for next year’s Fund.
- Work with your class president to send a closing letter to the full class, highlighting class news and your class’s Alumni Fund performance.
- Check in with individual agents and make sure their lists are good to go for the next year.
- Recruit more agents to your team, if needed, and reassign lists while things are fresh in your mind.
- Utilize social media and other public databases to track down updated contact information for classmates.
- Start thinking ahead to dollar and participation goals for next year–send these in to the Alumni Fund Office in August. (Loyal non-donors and LYBUNTs will get an extra “last chance” reminder or two from the Alumni Fund Office in May and June, and final numbers for the fiscal year will be available in early July.)
Other than that, enjoy your summer!