Digital Marketing & Fundraising

Student-Led, Remote Donor Engagement During COVID-19

While in-person program development is preferred under normal circumstances, the COVID-forced pivot allowed SBU and BWF Groundwork Digital to experiment with a fully remote program, which achieved successful results. These results showed great promise for this remote-led method of project delivery, which will impact SBU’s strategic planning for their fall student-led fundraising efforts. With increased uncertainty regarding the availability of phone calling centers in the fall of 2020 and even into 2021, having a strong precedent set with the fully remote Donor Experience Ambassadors (DXAs) program will help inform decisions about the next endeavor. The Stony Brook Donor Experience Ambassador case shows that fully digital, video-driven campaigns can be both a short-term solution to meet an immediate need and a key mechanism for higher education fundraising well into the future.

We did notice a higher open rate for emails that were focused on a student rather than a faculty member. So if there was a dead sending an email, those did well considering the environment we’re in, but those had an average of 25%. Our DXA-centered content had an average open rate of 38%. – Paul Muite, Executive Director, SBU Annual Fund

Learn how this search for innovative tactics led the SBU team to partner with BWF Groundwork Digital in the winter of 2020 to produce student-led, video-driven fundraising allowing SBU to continue fund-raising during a turbulent time.

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