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My Class Gift Playbook Section 3.4 - Key Milestones for Class Agents

My Class Gift Playbook Section 3.4 – Key Milestones for Class Agents

October 2, 2016
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There are several key milestones that will take place with your Class Agents. The following provides an example of key action items and events that you can expect to take place with your Class Agents during your My Class Gift campaign.

First Class Gift Committee

The first Class Gift Committee meeting is a time for planning and strategizing. This first meeting is an opportunity to build excitement and shape the Senior Class Gift in the way that you want. Staying positive and energized throughout each meeting will be integral to the campaign’s success. Ensuring that everyone feels connected to a common goal is necessary. Therefore, all questions, concerns, ideas, and suggestions should be encouraged and addressed as best as possible by the Committee Chair and by the entire group as a whole.  Creating a significant and impactful Class Gift is very exciting but is also a commitment of time and energy from the Class Gift Committee. Everyone should recognize this commitment and strive to work collaboratively in order to ensure the productivity of all meetings and the best overall outcome for success.

Things to consider for your first class gift committee include:

  • Scheduling your committee meeting – The first committee meeting should ideally occur during the fall academic semester. If the fall semester is not an option, then scheduling a meeting as early in the spring semester as possible is best. We recommend within the first three weeks of the spring semester in order to allow as much time to schedule individual and group meetings with classmates.
  • Setting the vision for your committee – The first committee meeting is important for setting the creative vision for the successful planning of the Class Gift program throughout the academic year. Numbers from previous years of Class Gifts should be reviewed and a fundraising goal established. We encourage each class year to exceed the previous years’ efforts. However, this does not always mean having a larger gift. Other measurements for success may include: increasing the total number of participants, creating new marketing tools to advertise the Class Gift, and/or giving extra attention to members of the student body who have not previously contributed to the Class Gift.
  • Assigning committee roles – Committee Members should spend time thinking about their networks of college friends and activities in order to find groups of seniors to engage and share information about the Senior Class Gift. To do this, a master list of graduating seniors’ names should be compiled before the first committee meeting. We encourage the committee to have every graduating senior assigned to a committee member. Once each committee member has a list of names, they can begin contacting those seniors in increments of 10 people at a time. Subsequent meetings will provide opportunities to revisit name assignments and make changes as necessary.
  • Committee meeting action items – At the end of the first committee meeting,  members should know what their action items (or homework) will be, when these items should be completed, and the next meeting date. This step is critical for a number of reasons: (1 accountability for the committee members, (2 assurance of moving the project forward, and (3 maintaining participation and attendance. In addition, knowing the meeting dates in advance will help members plan accordingly.

Committee Meeting Action Items

Marketing efforts and event solicitations are important to promote awareness and spread the opportunity across a broad audience, but nothing is more effective in securing participation in the Senior Class Gift than one-on-one visits between a Class Gift Committee member and a graduating senior. More details on how to set up an appointment, what to say and what not to say, and how to close the gift are in a different section [See Making the Ask training section].
Following the first meeting, Class Gift Committee members will be assigned names of seniors and should begin contacting the people on their lists immediately to set up a visit. It is critical that these calls are made in a timely manner. Anytime following the announcement of the Class Gift over email and social media is an appropriate time to meet. While it can take time to schedule a visit, all one-on-one meetings should be completed  by weeks 12-13 in order to avoid the rush of finals week and graduation.

Check Presentation

Finally, the time has come to close the Class Gift for the year and announce the total amount raised. This step is critical as it rallies the class around its accomplishment. This is also a great time to establish the goal to beat for future classes. Options for a check presentation, include: an end-of-the-year dinner exclusively for seniors who have pledged to the Class Gift; a public event organized specifically for this purpose; or even at commencement ceremonies.

We recommend announcing at commencement (when possible) because of the exposure it will give  for the class, highlighting its generosity and commitment. If you decide to have your check presentation at a dinner or event, we recommend doing this in weeks 12 to 13 so as to avoid over scheduling during finals and graduation.


Large Event Solicitations

Large event solicitations are often a very effective means of engaging a class, however, these events require a lot of planning, marketing and resources to result in a high and enthusiastic turnout. It is incredibly important that large events are not the sole method of soliciting a class, even if they may appear to be the most attractive strategy.

When utilized, large event solicitations are recommended toward the end of the spring semester. We recommend weeks 10 to 13 as the most ideal time for an event. This provides the earlier part of the semester to build interest and make personal invitations. Regardless of the format of the event, Class Gift Committee members should have an active role in planning the event as well as leading the event program. The program should include an explanation of the Class Gift, information on the impact the Class Gift, and an opportunity to sign up for pledges. Using the My Class Gift platform will allow immediate feedback on amount pledged and ranking in comparison with other Class Gifts.

Some sample solicitation events include the following:

  • Senior Night – Senior Night is very popular with college students. This event provides an opportunity to gather in a casual atmosphere, but also serves as an ideal setting to introduce the Class Gift to the whole graduating class. Senior Night can be held on campus or in a reserved space at a local restaurant.
  • Dinner and Program – Hosting a dinner is a great event for a Class Gift Program. College students are often eager to receive a complimentary meal, which makes for good turnout and an appreciative audience. If not utilized as a solicitation, a dinner is also an excellent end-of-the-year event to announce the Class Gift and thank those seniors who have already pledged. A dinner event can create an urgency and a deadline for those students who may want to attend an exclusive event.