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Giving Appeals in the Time of Coronavirus: Webinar with Sylvia Racca, Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund, and Tim Poisson, Senior Managing Director of the Dartmouth Fund

In this webinar, GG+A Vice Presidents Adrian Salmon and Jason Shough talk to Sylvia Racca, Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund and Tim Poisson, Senior Managing Director of the Dartmouth Fund on “Giving Appeals in the Time of Coronavirus: What We Can Learn from Examples.”

Adrian highlighted the crucial components of digital giving appeals and offered examples of what elements come together to ensure an effective online appeal to donors in the webinar. He also presented data that cautioned organizations on the importance of optimizing their online donation pages for mobile platforms. “If you haven’t spent time looking at how well your donation page converts visitors to gifts, then you should do that because that is the single biggest factor in the success of your fundraising emails,” Adrian said in the webinar.

Meanwhile, Jason discussed how the critical elements that make an appeal compelling are magnified amid the current crisis.

They were joined by guests Sylvia Racca, Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund and Tim Poisson, Senior Managing Director of the Dartmouth Fund, who examined how Dartmouth has responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

While Dartmouth continued its participation challenge, but pivoted to alter its tone, segmentation and stewardship. It also ran its leadership giving challenge, a dollar-for-dollar match to encourage alumni to join its leadership giving society. “We knew we needed to be bold for Dartmouth students and we felt that we couldn’t let challenges whimper away. We decided to go forward but in going forward, the tone was really key: Making the case for supporting students but doing so with compassion in these challenging times.”

About the participants

Sylvia Racca

Sylvia Racca

Sylvia Racca joined Dartmouth in December 2002 as Executive Director of the Dartmouth College Fund and has been in higher education fundraising for 23 years. Prior to Dartmouth, she served first as the Director of the Annual Fund, and then as Director of Development, at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., which is one of the Claremont Colleges along with Pomona, Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd. Before moving west, she served as an Assistant Director in the Alumnae Fund of Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

Prior to her career in higher education, Sylvia enjoyed a successful and engaging career for a decade syndicating tax-advantaged investments in commercial, historic, and multifamily real estate throughout the United States with Atlantic Equity Corp. in Boston.

She is very proud to be an adopted member of the Dartmouth Class of 1983 and a 2013 graduate of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies at Dartmouth.

Tim Poisson Dart

Tim Poisson

Timothy Poisson is a Senior Managing Director of the Dartmouth College Fund overseeing marketing. He’s held a variety of annual giving posts throughout the past 25 years, including Washington University in Saint Louis, San Diego State University, UCONN, and MIT.

To hear more of Adrian, Jason, Sylvia and Timothy’s insights, watch the webinar below.

Giving Appeals in the Time of Coronavirus from Grenzebach Glier + Associates on Vimeo.

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