Higher Education

The Higher Education sector is comprised of public and private colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada, including their associated foundations, alumni associations, and athletic organizations. It also includes scholarship-granting organizations and foundations.  
 
Higher Education is generally less focused on sustainers and more on constituent engagement—in the form of event participation, volunteerism, and involvement in campus initiatives. Email list acquisition is also less of a concern for Higher Education institutions, as these organizations organically grow their constituent lists with each incoming and graduating class. 

Online Giving & Sustainer Trends

  • In 2020, the average online transaction for Higher Education was $203.43, almost $40 more than the next closest group. This number continues to climb, increasing 6.3% over 2019.
  • Sustainer revenue increased 26.4% year-over-year but lags compared with the industry average of sustainer revenue as a percentage of total (6.7%).
  • Higher Education organizations were the only group in the study to see a decrease in the average online transaction amount for repeat online donors (-4.5%).

Email Engagement Trends

  • Higher Education was the only group that saw a decline in the overall number of emails sent (-1.89%) and experienced the largest decrease in number of fundraising emails sent (-13.1%). These groups were the only organizations that saw a decrease in revenue solicited by email (-24%).
  • Email clickthrough rates (0.79%) and fundraising clickthrough rates (0.61%) were the lowest in the industry.
  • Usable email list size leads all industries at 79.7%, indicating strong list hygiene.

We are using all of the elements that we know will make a donor or a friend or a supporter open up the email to look at it," she continued. "We have the quotes, we have the pictures of our talented students, we have the great design layout and great colors, we have the message that is perfect, and we have the links that go directly to the donate page."

—Denise Scott, UNCF National Director of Direct Response Programs

Which of these trends will continue?

Blackbaud experts identify the 2020 trends likely to continue into 2022 and suggest ideas and tactics to make the most of online fundraising.