Alumni research study magic

Use magic to plan your next alumni or supporter research project

If you’ve been following along from December’s blog, you’ll know that last month’s challenge was to make a list of things you’d like to know from (or about) your alumni and supporters. In this blog, I’ll share my magic formula with you and show you how to use it to plan a successful research project.

Two of the biggest enemies of research are unreasonable expectations and scope creep. The magic formula, while simple, forces you to consider the data you need and any limitations to this data at the project outset. It also helps you keep an open mind, so you don’t constrain yourself to one methodology too soon in the planning phase.

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Happy birthday to us!

Year one of starting my own business is done and dusted! What did I get myself into? I have never read so many books, blogs, articles and research papers, nor drunk so much coffee and wine in any other year in my career.

I have also never spent so much time listening to alumni, donors and volunteers share their thoughts on what they enjoy about giving and what needs to change. There is plenty to celebrate in our industry, but also lots to be done if we want more of our audiences to become proud advocates. The good news is they are more than willing to help us.

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Relationship fundraising for Higher Education today

A relative latecomer to this industry staple, over the last couple of weeks I ‘took Ken Burnett to bed every night’ (as my partner teased) and read his oft-quoted book. Many of you will know it well – it’s called Relationship Fundraising: A donor-based approach to the business of raising money.

Given the sound advice contained within, the amount of time passed since this book was published (1992!) and its popularity in the industry, you might assume that we’re all ‘relationship fundraising’ by now. I’ve certainly heard many a quote from this book (or from the man himself) at team meetings, conferences and industry events.

Not so! Within the well-thumbed pages of my copy of Relationship Fundraising, Ken had described many of my 2017 frustrations and concerns so accurately, I can only imagine how bittersweet it must be for him that this book is finding a new audience 25 years later. The truth is (references to fax machines and ‘working women’ aside) Ken’s book is still as relevant and revolutionary as ever.

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