4 Trends In Higher Education Fundraising Post-COVID
Education Fund

Fundraising is one of the most productive income generators for colleges and universities. Higher educational institutions sometimes rely on alumni donations, depending on the event or circumstance. Before COVID-19, fundraising was done the conventional way—by holding in-person activities and drives.

Fundraising Innovations

With the pandemic continuing to harrow many aspects of the higher education system, universities and colleges are introduced to a new normal where the only thing certain is uncertainty. As for these institutions, they want to know how fundraising is supposed to wager its stance to sustain its operations until the end of this global health scare.

Trend #1: Humanize The New Normal

People losing their jobs resulting in financial crisis and parents being left with no choice but to drop their kids out of school are some of the horrific consequences of the new normal. This has been the scenario since 2020 and it’s not getting any better, at least nowhere near the usual enrollment rates. What does this tell you as the leader of your fundraising organization? It’s time to shift your focus onto what the students need because they’re the priority.

One strategy to humanize your fundraising is by setting up a COVID-19 emergency scholarship program. This should raise enrollment numbers while also aiding current students who are burdened by financial constraints.

Trend #2: Promote Online Giving

Online giving is raising money or funds through the internet, and it’s usually utilized by nonprofit organizations. Even before the pandemic started, digital payments and transactions have been dominating different industries. Higher education fundraising should take advantage of this trend and make it a mainstay moving forward.

There are fundraising platforms you can use such as Compete Fundraising and others.
There’s an option to hold your events either in-person or virtually. Of course, given the world remains struck by the pandemic, the virtual method is the best option for now. Perhaps, even as everything slowly transitions back to the old ways, virtual means are here to stay.

Trend #3: Make Alumni Communication Personalized

Higher education fundraising won’t foster without the alumni. They make up the highest percentage of donors and now more than ever, their giving is intensely needed. However, alumni donations have dramatically decreased over the years, and it shouldn’t be the case.

What you can do is to personalize your communication with your school’s former students. Tailor your approach using the information you have about them—their age, interests, year of graduation, and financial capacity, among others.

Trend #4: Reinvent Online Auctions

Online auctions pose less hassle than conventional ones. Even when the pandemic is gone, this fundraising strategy won’t lose its power as long as you know how to reinvent it. One advantage of online auctions is their ability to reach larger audiences.

Unlike traditional auctions where you can only reach individuals who are at the event, the right auction platform and promotional techniques can amplify its reach. Your bidders can come from anywhere and it substantially increases patronage.

To reinvent your online auctions, you can try these tips:

  • Amp up your promotional content. You can make use of the school’s newsletter, website, and social media accounts.
  • Solicit unique items for auction. The items that’ll be up for auction must be special enough for your bidders to obsess over them. You can auction off signed memorabilia or custom artwork—anything they won’t be able to purchase from a regular store.
  • Magnify the suspense by showcasing the items you’ll be putting up. You can post teasers on your social media accounts to slowly build up anticipation.

Aside from the funds you can raise in the auction, you can also add an option to donate since some prefer to give money instead of joining the event. In this way, you’d be able to maximize generating support.

Donor Retention Post-COVID

The concept of donor retention is to seek gifts and donations from your active partners. Whether it’s a first-time giver, a regular one, or an annual donor, they’re your target people to be retained for as long as you can.

What you can do is build a deeper level of relationship. Improve your way of communicating, so they’ll feel your desire to fulfill a noble cause. In this way, they’d be privileged to help you achieve the vision you and your organization have.

The Role Of Social Media

Organizing and maintaining a fundraising campaign involves plenty of promotions and marketing strategies. What better way to do it than to tap into social media and its ability to reach an amplified audience? The good thing about social media marketing is you won’t have to spend much money just to get the word out.

Here are some ways to promote your fundraising using social media:

  • Come up with a unique title for your campaign.
  • Stick on specific sets of hashtags you’ll use across your social media platforms.
  • Be transparent. Always show where the donations go and how their support would make a huge impact.

Customizing your message according to the platform you’ll be using the most is essential. If you’re mainly using Facebook, there are features you can take advantage of the most such as Facebook Group, Facebook Event, and Facebook Live.

Instagram, on the other hand, also has its benefits. You can upload constant updates on IG stories, use relevant hashtags, and also go live.


Organizing and sustaining a higher education fundraising was strenuous even before COVID-19 came into the picture. Now that the education system is struggling in the middle of the pandemic, fundraising has become even more challenging.

The key is to know what strategies to retain and which trends to keep on utilizing when everything goes back to the old days—or perhaps when people get fully adapted to the new normal. Don’t let the world’s circumstances strain your mission and vision. Instead, let it be a forging ground for your organization to shape up for the better things to come.

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