Eshon Allen, Donor Relations Manager, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Gratavid from Gravyty has served us here at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in ways we could never have imagined. When the pandemic hit 2020 and we had to adjust to a new remote work environment, it forced our team to rethink how we engage with our donors without in-person meetings.
With its easy user-interface and dynamic range of options, Gratavid truly helped us reimagine the connections we make between our school community and the donors who make it all possible—allowing us to retain that magic of a face-to-face “thank you,” even if it was just on a screen.
Here are three ways we have been using Gratavid here at The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Student scholarship recipient thank you videos
One key strategy to higher ed fundraising is showcasing success of student scholarship recipients. We had students record and upload a brief video thanking their donors and sharing how the aid helped them especially during the challenges of the pandemic.
A best practice I could suggest for this process is to make sure you have a helpful guide or “cheat sheet” for students that provides them with guidelines for what to express in their video message, recording environment best-practices such as backgrounds, sound and attire, timing and examples. Students seem to appreciate the direction and this is also helpful for faculty you might use for donor appreciation videos.
Birthday greeting videos for higher ed fundraising
Being at a school of music obviously provides us with easy access to in-house talent, so we mined that talent for a birthday greeting via song.
I had three of our opera voice students record the “Happy Birthday to You” song along with a brief spoken thank you message at the end, and that song video is sent to our monthly donor birthday list as a higher ed fundraising tactic.
The best practice I suggest for use of the Birthday module in Gratavid is to use the tools in your school’s toolbox to craft a unique and personalized message. Our donors respond best to outreach that is outside of the norm, creative and authentic, so think about the best ways in which you can convey the birthday greeting using something special from your school’s resources. It is not enough anymore to just have a Dean or a faculty member say a generic “Happy Birthday.”
Scholarship applicant introduction videos
As an accompaniment to the traditional scholarship application, we ask students to record a personal introduction to share a bit of their background and express why they are in need of financial assistance.
It has been a great way for students to tell their story and it allows us to bring the student to life for a donor who, in the past, would only get to know them from the text on the page. I offer the same type of best practice as mentioned above for a student’s thank you message—provide clear guidelines for what you want them to express and ways in which they can put their best foot forward.
I hope some of this is helpful to you as you go forward into the wonderful world of Gratavid! I think your donors will really enjoy having this dynamic new level of engagement and you will enjoy the ease it offers you in connecting your community with your mission.
Ready to add a personal touch to your higher ed fundraising and donor outreach strategy with personalized video messaging? Schedule your free consultation today.