Elsewhere online
January 26, 2015

Colleges Mine Social Media for Clues on Likely Donors

A handful of tech start-ups are making tools that harness data and interactions from widely used social networks to help colleges and universities identify alumni with the greatest propensity to donate, writes The New York Times. While some privacy advocates say delving more deeply into graduates' personal lives raises ethics issues, development officers say colleges that spurn the new tools risk falling behind in the fundraising race.

New firms like EverTrue and Graduway enable institutions to evaluate alumni use of an institution's Facebook pages to see what causes interest them, examine LinkedIn profiles to find people in industries and executive roles associated with giving, and develop private networking sites where alumni are encouraged to interact with each other and sign up to mentor students. "Engaged alumni are giving alumni," said James E. Stofan, vice president for alumni relations at Tulane University, which set up such a site.