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ERIC Number: EJ841244
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr-24
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Colleges Weigh "Yes We Can" Approach to Fund Raising
Parry, Marc
Chronicle of Higher Education, v55 n33 pA1 Apr 2009
Blue State Digital, the company that helped catapult Barack Obama into the White House, is courting colleges. Some are welcoming the political rainmaker inside their wrought-iron gates. But some skeptics question whether what works in the digital war room of a political campaign can translate into the academic arena. The world of college fund raising has grappled for years with declining alumni-participation rates. As technology shifts beneath fund raisers' feet, and young alumni evade their reach, institutions are looking at new strategies beyond the old tactics of direct-mail appeals and student phone banks. The Obama campaign's mass rollout of Blue State's technology "increased the general public's comfort level with the kinds of tools that are going to benefit higher ed when it comes to engagement and giving online," says Andrew Shaindlin, executive director of the Caltech Alumni Association. Candidate Obama attracted lots of attention for exploiting social networks like Facebook. But the backbone of his campaign was a 13.5-million member e-mail list, says Thomas Gensemer, 32, who is Blue State's managing partner. E-mail was a gateway to other tools. And e-mail--or a special brand of e-mail--is key to what Blue State says it can offer colleges. Essentially, Blue State consultant Rich Mintz says, Blue State can help colleges reach more people and squeeze more money out of a broader share of constituents. Not everyone sees how political tactics translate easily to higher education, however. Some university fund-raising officials and consultants point out that one can't muster the urgent passion for a college that Mr. Obama inspired in millions of supporters who saw his election as the best chance to reverse the decline of America. The Obama campaign was a two-year dash aimed at a clear finish line. But colleges have a habit of pushing the finish line back, the skeptics argue.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A