Alumni Engagement Case Study

How a leading university used the flexibility of contactSPACE to achieve a 158% increase in conversion rates, and a 189% higher average gift.

“I absolutely love the flexibility of contactSPACE… It allows us to reach more of our community and deliver quality interactions.”

— Advancement Coordinator

About the Telephone Engagement team

The Telephone Engagement team at this university performs a wide variety of different types of calls for the organisation.

As well as raising valuable funds, the team also conducts welfare checks and special event invitations, and collects stories from scholarship recipients and institute staff.

One of my favourite campaigns was reaching out to scholarship recipients. Through this project, we were able to learn about their personal story: how the scholarship impacted their life, their career, and how they progressed since graduating from our university.

Reducing cost and complexity

Previously, the team were using an on-premise engagement solution.

The old supplier had their own management staff on-campus, which made the process of coordinating campaigns quite complex, involving a higher operating cost.

We were able to map out a significant cost saving if we went in house and absorbed some of the responsibility.

Taking control

Previously, this university relied heavily on the external provider to help perform everyday tasks. This meant long preparation periods to allow the work to be completed prior to the arrival of the on-campus manager.

As a manager, I had no control over the data being loaded into the system – another team was responsible for that. This meant that we had to have the data ready at least two months prior to the campaign starting. If there was a change in strategy or approach, we were limited to working with the existing data lists, which is why we previously operated with large amounts of data.

The Telephone Engagement team wanted to be able to control their own campaigns, allowing the team to continually improve their calling strategies.

After an extensive RFP and evaluation process, the university selected contactSPACE as their new cloud engagement solution.

Since deploying contactSPACE, the team has seen a number of benefits.

Unparalleled flexibility

With contactSPACE, the team can control every aspect of their calling campaigns, helping them deliver more effective, more meaningful engagement.

Because of the flexibility of contactSPACE, we have expanded from being fundraisers to researchers and engagement officers as well. Without that flexibility, we couldn’t capture the information required to conduct these types of projects.

The team can optimize campaigns on the fly, collecting feedback and recommending changes to stakeholders across university departments.

Feedback from our staff is essential. When there is something we can do to make their job easier or more efficient, the flexibility of contactSPACE allows us to instantly make the change.

Improved interfaces

The Telephone Engagement team have used the flexibility of contactSPACE CallGuides to build intuitive, engaging page flows, helping staff deliver quality interactions, every single time.

We can now create seamless page flows with the personalized calling script and tips on the screen, helping to make for a smoother agent workflow. Rather than having to shuffle papers around on their desk, everything agents need is available right on the screen…

We’ve built in images, links, and tips to inspire and guide the team, which has been really helpful.

They also use custom fields to collect more granular data. contactSPACE CallGuides help to ensure that callers collect the right information on every single call, with the correct formatting.

If an agent misses or incorrectly formats a field, we can flag the issue and highlight it in the page flow. This helps to make the integrity of our data much stronger.

Smarter contact strategies

The university now has much more control over who they’re contacting, and when.

With contactSPACE, the team can now instantly optimize their campaigns to contact the best group of people at any given moment.

…if I can see that there is a new trend that is yielding positive results, I can immediately set up a target filter to provide more opportunities for similar calls. Having the ability to continually edit and optimize these target filters has been incredible.

The team can now rotate the phone numbers displayed when calling, helping callers spend less time dialing, and more time talking to university alumni.

We’ve seen a 50% lift in contact rates just from using CLID rotation on our campaigns.

Stronger alumni connections

The team can also have more engaging conversations with the community by ensuring that the right student makes the right call, every single time.

With contactSPACE, we can match agents to call people based on their personality. For example, we might have medicine graduates who have a huge interest in supporting animal welfare – we can match these donors with students who share the same passion, allowing them to have a more personal and meaningful conversation.

Improved list penetration

Using contactSPACE, the university has been able to make smarter, more targeted contact, helping the team to achieve a significant improvement in list penetration.

Because of the flexibility of how we can load data into contactSPACE, we reduced the total number of records loaded into the system from 83,000 to 17,000 records. This allowed us to pinpoint target populations, and penetrate the list further. Year to year our list penetration or completion rate increased 366% using contactSPACE.

List penetration graph.

Improved contact rates for each donor type

Prior to switching to contactSPACE, the team mostly called loyal donors. Since switching solutions, they have also been able to achieve incredible fundraising results from calling people who have not donated before.

As a result, while overall contact rates have remained stable, contact rates by donor type have increased substantially.

Analysing our contact rate change based on donor type, we achieved a 117% increase in contact rates, on average.

Contact rates graph.

Increased talk time

contactSPACE has helped student callers to have better conversations, allowing the team to spend significantly more time on the phone with their community.

Building and maintaining affinity with the university is very important, regardless of the call outcome.

We use contactSPACE target filters to select the best people to call at any given moment. Combined with our CallGuides, which we use to help staff to build more meaningful relationships, we realized an increase of 187% in talk time within our community.

Talk time graph.

Improved fundraising results

The university has also been able to significantly improve the team’s overall fundraising results. Conversion rates have increased significantly, and average donation amounts have almost tripled.

Because of contactSPACE, we had the ability to approach our program more effectively, yielding better results. From 2018 to 2021 our conversion rate increased by 158%, with a 189% higher average gift.

Fundraising results graph.

Collecting valuable sentimental data

The Telephone Engagement team is now able to deliver even more value to the wider organisation, by engaging with the community and learning more about their relationship with the university.

With the flexibility of contactSPACE, we can now capture very specific information relative to the nature of the project. For example, an alumnus may have a son in year eleven who is interested in arranging a tour of the university. If requested, we can collect detailed information to be able to connect them with the right department. Having a holistic view about the call and future touchpoints is extremely valuable for our team and the university as a whole.

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