As college students are having visions of spring break, many university annual giving offices or student foundations are putting the final touches on their senior class gift campaigns.

These campaigns so often center on ideas like a capstone gift, leaving the university and other language and concepts that represent finality. So while senior class campaigns were created to shift student culture around giving, the very words that we use to inspire our students may actually be sending the opposite message.

While many of these campaigns are quite successful, imagine how they could truly support life-long relationships if more of them embraced a beginning rather than an end.

If we truly want to inspire ongoing philanthropy, shouldn’t we invite these students to become a part of our giving traditions? Wouldn’t we be better served by championing gifts in celebration of joining our alumni ranks and the donor family? What if rather than using past senior class gifts alone as role models, we demonstrated the power of young alumni giving?

These messages aren’t exclusive of the successful tools of celebrating the student experience and paying tribute to their memories. They are, however, an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the beginning of a long and rich alumni relationship.

How could a fresh approach to your senior class giving campaigns bring about buy-in for the tradition of a lifetime of philanthropy? How could a change in language invite, educate and inspire our students to join our giving families for the long term?

Need help strengthening your fundraising infrastructure? KDD Philanthropy can assist your university through consultations, individual coaching calls and workshops. Send us a message to discuss how we can help.

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