Colleges Can't Cling to Old CRM Technology

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Kent State Pulls It All Together

When Kent State University, based in northeastern Ohio, wanted to communicate and engage more effectively with constituents throughout the recruiting, admissions, advising, retention, and advancement processes, the one main conclusion that it could draw was that it wouldn’t be able to do so with its many stand-alone systems and, in some cases, manual processes.

Now the school is using a combination of Salesforce.com and TargetX for its Constituent Relationship Management 360 effort, an implementation that is still ongoing.

The Salesforce platform and TargetX solution provide robust capabilities for communications, social interactions, and events to support student retention efforts. The TargetX solution is early in its life cycle, but Kent State expects the technology to meet its needs fully.

Earlier this year, the university went live with many of the Salesforce-related initiatives, including an updated recruiting module that allows it to set up international events and track registrations; a series of email communications in Salesforce Marketing Cloud; and an initiative targeted at incoming transfer students.

The university expects to have Salesforce fully implemented by the end of this year, but it will look for ongoing improvements through its Salesforce Center of Excellence initiative. —Phillip Britt

CRM Helps Schools Wake Up to New Fund-Raising Opportunities

Colleges and universities rely on philanthropy for much of their success, and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., is no different.

Tim Snyder, the school’s associate vice president for alumni and donor services, estimates that as much as one-quarter of the university’s income is from philanthropy. He would like to see that figure grow to 33 percent.

Maintaining or growing such a level of donations requires deep networking with alumni at all of the various stages of their post-university lives, from recent graduates looking to network with fellow alumni for employment opportunities to more established alums ready to give back to the university or even send their children or grandchildren there.

The university uses Blackbaud CRM to track and manage all of those relationships.

“The data there drives the communication function,” Snyder says. “You might be a young alum or an alum whose child has just left the nest. We need to know that information about our constituents.”

Depending on where someone is in the alumni life cycle, Wake Forest uses the Blackbaud CRM data to tailor multimedia messaging.

The technology has enabled the university to better understand the needs and drivers of its constituents, and as a result, it has started a number of new alumni outreach programs, according to Snyder. —Phillip Britt

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