Disruptive Innovations in University Fundraising

A Six-Part Study Series

Why We Care About Disruptive Innovations

Since the early 2000s, annual fund effectiveness has declined precipitously. Donors respond less enthusiastically to the solicitations that have traditionally bolstered college and university fundraising revenues. As enrollments grow and solicitation effectiveness declines, the question of scale looms large over higher education advancement professionals.

Trends in solicitations and donations

The downward trend in solicitation effectiveness and the damage it has caused advancement operations stem largely from generational shifts. Younger donors find inspiration not in direct mail outreach or phonathon calls, but rather in innovative fundraising strategies that utilize high-tech communication channels.

Six Innovations Inspiring Young Donors

The following set of studies profiles the six innovations making the biggest impact on the way institutions are raising funds. Each study gives an introduction to the current state of the technology or platform and then outlines best practices and strategies schools are using to implement them, using case studies as examples.

Members of the Advancement Forum can log in to download the complete studies.

Social media fundraising


Personal fundraising pages




Donor-centric websites


Text giving alternatives


Mobile-optimized giving pages


  • Access our related toolkit

    We created 15 tools to help you develop social media fundraising campaigns, crowdfunding initiatives, donor-centric websites, and text-giving alternatives, identify alumni leaders for personal fundraising pages, and compare options for mobile-optimized giving pages. Learn more.

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