The Duke University Libraries Annual Fund has raised an all-time high this year, tapping into a larger donor pool.
There were 1,887 donors to the annual fund in 2013 giving $744,890—an increase of 17 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from last year, according to the Duke University Libraries blog. Administrators attributed the campaign’s success to a number of factors, including smarter marketing and increased interest from parents and alumni.
“There’s no single factor—it is kind of a multi-pronged thing,” said Deborah Jakubs, vice provost for library affairs and Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway University librarian.
Digital and social media campaigns have played a role in reaching broader audiences.
“We’re trying to communicate with donors in a number of different ways—in a traditional manner, but also with a postcard and videos,” said Kurt Cumiskey, assistant director of development at Duke University Libraries.
He noted that 51 percent of emails to potential donors are opened, attributing the high rate to the interesting material consistently sent out through the listserv.
The campaigns are not only fueled online, Cumiskey said. The libraries advertise in Duke Magazine, which is sent to more 130,000 alumni every two months. The majority of donors are alumni—85 percent-—and the magazine advertising has created spikes in website traffic, boosting campaign efficacy.
“Basically, we just have a better campaign—a better public relations campaign with our existing donors, and also we have the Library Advisory Board, that helps us find new donors,” said Jakubs, highlighting “Crazy Smart,” the library system’s ad campaign which appears on the library website and in Duke Magazine.
The ads communicate recent steps taken to enhance the library experience for all users. Advertisements have featured projects such as the recent digitization of all issues from The Chronicle from Fall 1959 to Spring 1970, as well as the “Digitize this Book” option, which allows library users to request e-books to be made of out-of-copyright books.
Aaron Welborn, director of communications for Duke University Libraries, said that the campaigns emphasize how the library serves everyone on campus, including faculty and students across all schools and independent researchers.
“When you support the library, you are supporting all of Duke,” Welborn said.
Jakubs noted that parents and alumni in particular donate because they recognize the value libraries add to a Duke education.
“They know that they are making a good investment in the University,” Cumiskey said.