5 Ways to Fuel Your Enrollment and Fundraising Pipeline At The Same Time


5 Ways to Fuel Your Enrollment and Fundraising Pipeline 

         (at the same time)

“You have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

This quotation by Audrey Hepburn is a perfect way to think of your enrollment initiatives and fundraising outreach. One hand is helping others – enrollment – and the other is helping yourself – fundraising. BOTH are required for success, and one cannot exist without the other.

When deciding your college’s focus and priorities, choosing programs and campaigns that serve both your student audience and donor audience at the same time is just smart. 

Because without student enrollment and donor support, little else matters.


As two long-term college presidents, we have found that success can come to both enrollment and fundraising through a series of mutually interactive and support activities. These connections, when maximized, can provide a series of primary supports and secondary supports which together result in each complimenting the other. 


While this may sound elementary, academic, and technical programs must be seen as a “good fit” for students. Donors also have certain expectations about the types of schools that they want their money spent on.

We have found that when alumni begin to actively voice their appreciation for their alma mater, primarily through social media, a surge in new student recruitment is possible as well as greater participation by alumni in annual, scholarship, and capital giving.


Colleges often suffer from a tendency to focus on perceived needs that reside primarily within the organization. This can come from many causes, including fear and lack of attention towards their primary mission–which is meeting students’ aspirations or other stakeholders like donors who support your institution’s goals. 

Every college has a series of needs so that faculty and staff can be successful in fulfilling their roles. Securing adequate resources for all working towards the mission is an essential part of the institution’s success story.


Most organizations are known by various descriptions and labels. When it comes to colleges, they may be known to be academically strong in certain areas of study or for important programs such as diversity or success in athletics. Whatever your “IT” factor is, you must be KNOWN for something. 

Developing, maintaining, and sharing the positive messaging of your culture through social media and other forms of communication is an absolute must if enrollment and donor support are to grow. 

Students want to attend a school that offers a positive rewarding experience. Donors must see the college as the type of environment they want to support. When donors can verify the impact of their giving, then they become student recruiters on their own. 


Division 1 universities experience a surge in enrollment after national championships and play-off exposure in athletics. Why? Because people like to be affiliated with success.

Most development professionals agree that attracting a new donor and sustaining a current donor depends on the message of mission success. Donors want to give where their resources are making a difference. If their resources are making a difference, this positive message can be shared with prospective students so that they can participate in a new scholarship, new program, or take advantage of a new capital facility. 


Creating a college where student appeal is present, relevant needs are being met, a positive atmosphere is noticeable, and the mission is being realized leads to donors who feel a sense of loyalty and trust through their giving.

One must keep the “why” behind the mission and work daily at building loyalty and trust among the various publics the school serves. This level of integrity will enhance the ability to be enthusiastic about building enrollment and undergird donors so they feel empowered to further the mission of the school.

By: Bill Crouch, Founder & CEO and Mike Carter, Director of Growth Strategies

At BrightDot.Com, we stand ready to help colleges re-frame how administrative and faculty units have historically interacted so that they might help secure additional development resources through creative management and processes. Enrollments can grow as well as dollars from donors when the right building blocks are put into place and careful planning is enacted. 


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