Today marks the release of the white paper for Benchmarking Digital Advancement conducted by mStoner, Inc. and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The resulting white paper covers how advancement tools, practices, and attitudes are evolving toward integrated, digitally enabled advancement.
In 2018, mStoner and CASE conducted a survey of how schools, colleges and universities use various digital tools and techniques in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing. They focused on how higher ed is adopting various digital tools and integrating them into advancement more broadly.
In addition to questions exploring how colleges and universities used social and digital media and other tools in their advancement activities, they asked questions about the reporting relationships of the chief marketing officer and chief advancement officer; how institutional brands and campaign brands related; and which teams were responsible for important activities such as meeting enrollment goals and engaging alumni and donors.
Here are four significant findings from the digital advancement research:
- 60 percent of institution’s CMOs and CAOs report to the CEO. At 21 percent of institutions, the person acting as CMO reports to the CAO, and at 17 percent of institutions, there’s another reporting structure in place. At 2 percent of institutions, the CAO reports to the CMO.
- 57 percent of institutions report that they have one of more staff members who manage social media.
- At 65 percent of institutions, “create, sustain, improve brand image” is one of the most important goals for social media.
- 65 percent of respondents say they are “somewhat successful” at using social media to achieve their goals.
In preparation for the Benchmarking Digital Advancement research, mStoner and CASE conducted a series of interviews with a dozen advancement professionals, consultants, and vendors who are thinking about and implementing various digital initiatives. We wanted to know what attributes characterized a digital advancement operation. Through these conversations, and using what was learned in this survey, the two organizations propose a series of benchmarks for measuring how far along higher education is in adopting digital advancement tools and practices.