University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Overview

In preparation for the public phase of their $4.25 billion campaign, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill initiated a partnership with Plus Delta to enhance the foundational elements of a university-wide fundraising culture, including a defined donor engagement methodology, shared vocabulary and enhanced donor-centric collaboration. Additionally, University Development leadership sought to build a forum for front-line fundraising managers to integrate new skills and behaviors into the fundraising organization, learn from one another and collaborate around their management and coaching practices.

Engagement Highlights

  • New behaviors learned in Plus Delta training shortened the average cultivation cycle, leading to increased productivity, decreased days in stage and movement within portfolios.
  • Learning how to assess the donor’s preferred communication style allowed fundraisers to adapt their personal styles for donor-centered approach, resulting in improved communications and outcomes with donors.
  • Significant quantitative returns on investment were realized in the form of sizeable new commitments, well exceeding the investment in the Plus Delta program.

Challenges

  • With a campaign launch looming, it was a priority to quickly infuse the Plus Delta processes throughout the fundraising enterprise and sustain those new behaviors into the future.
  • The University’s decentralized hybrid model made it important to develop proven pathways for multi-unit collaboration and encourage those conversations with a donor-centric approach.
  • Variations in terminology and stages used across campus to discuss donor status and proposal progress made it difficult to properly track, assess and analyze the donor pipeline in the University’s prospect management system.

Results

  • At least $18 Million in commitments, confirmed by participating gift officers, was raised as a direct result of the new skills acquired from the Plus Delta processes and practices.
  • Adopting shared language and repeatable cultivation steps enriched strategy conversations and reduced the cultivation to commitment cycle.
  • Implementing a universal method to chart and stage the proposal process for each donor not only reinvigorated portfolios, but also accelerated once-stale proposals to close or be re-evaluated.
  • Enhanced discipline of qualification coupled with more effective communication tools allowed gift officers to confidently move prospects through a defined philanthropic process more quickly and efficiently.
  • By adapting their roles to that of “forthright diplomats” and setting specific objectives for each meeting, fundraisers more accurately assessed donor readiness and pipeline maturity, rapidly accelerating the time spent from cultivation to commitment.

“Implementing the Plus Delta process has truly transformed how our development officers approach fundraising at Carolina. The impact is undeniable – increased revenue, shortened fundraising cycles, and increased collaboration among our frontline fundraisers. We have unequivocally adopted the principles of DFF and are spreading these best practices across our entire development enterprise.”

 

Cynthia Butler
Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for University Development
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill