Capturing elusive parent data

By Diana Barnes

The interest in parents as a donor constituency is on the rise for their potential to help close the unrestricted giving gap and influence young alumni giving in the future. Parents have a strong affinity to the institution, they're often primed for philanthropy from private secondary school experience, and their interest in their student provides a myriad of engagement opportunities. And yet, many institutions find themselves tripped up in only the first step of parent donor acquisition.

How are we supposed to get their contact information?

Challenges to collecting information impede cultivation

Unfortunately, there are a range of barriers to collecting parent information. What's most confusing is the wide variety of potential campus partners that already have access to much of this information. Admissions, financial aid, institutional research, and student affairs all have different pieces of the parent information puzzle. The trick is to figure out how and where to build data-sharing partnerships.

Barriers to gathering parent information

Tailor existing initiatives to clear information hurdles

There are already a number of parent interactions on campus that provide opportunities to collect parent data. They may require partnerships with other campus units or simply a small addition to existing programming. We've provided two examples of institutions altering their programming to collect more parent data below.

Tailor existing initiatives to clear information hurdles

View a sample parent information contact card

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