How do I know if all that time I spend chasing young non-donors is worth it? I know that this is a question that development officers often ask especially those raising money for higher education. In a recent article in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, they tell the story of the University of Pennsylvania rebranding their Senior Gift Program as the “Seniors for the Penn Fund” and beginning a one year reunion program. They did this for a key reason. Research and good common sense have shown that young graduates have many more choices in philanthropy than their counter parts did 20 years ago. This increase of competition has created a need to build engagement with donors earlier and better than ever before. It is not only to retain a future potential pool of donors, but in addition, to build donors and donor loyalty. At U of Penn, they found that donors who gave for five years consecutively were 87% likely to make another gift. In other words, because the University had invested in engagement and loyalty building there was only a 13% chance that their ongoing donors (who had given for five or more years consecutively) would NOT give. U of Penn has the right idea! Do things that engage donors to you. In this case, educational institutions need to look for ways to connect their students to the behaviors they would like to foster upon graduation as well as those things they would like to support.