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The University of Reading

University of Reading Increases Alumni Engagement with Blackbaud NetCommunity

Established in 1892, the University of Reading is in the top 1% of universities in the world and has an outstanding reputation for teaching, research and enterprise.

In 2004, the University formed its Development and Alumni Relations Office, with the objective of raising funds to enable additional investment in high-quality teaching, learning and research facilities, enhancing the student experience and attracting the highest calibre academic staff.


  • The University uses The Raiser’s Edge® to track and manage all fundraising and alumni relations activities. However, there was always the feeling that they weren’t doing enough to physically connect with their supporters and maximise the potential for raising funds.
  • The University was carrying out very little e-mail marketing, and when they did, email communications looked very basic.
  • No online event booking was offered, so people either had to send a cheque or phone up with their credit card details.
  • If any alumni wanted to update their details they were given a blank update form, which usually put them off because it asked for too much unnecessary information.


  • The University felt it was very important to offer alumni a web site where they could collaborate and interact with both the University and each other.
  • Blackbaud NetCommunity was the natural next step to take, linking with both The Raiser’s Edge and the existing University web site, allowing the creation of an interactive and personalised experience for alumni.
  • It was integrated with the University of Reading web site and went live in 2010.


  • The University of Reading now has almost 6000 supporters signed up to Blackbaud NetCommunity, with an average of 168 people joining each month. Online donations have increased by 80% and registered Blackbaud NetCommunity users have donated £115,000 in total so far.
  • It has completely revolutionised the way the University processes user change of details – what took 3 hours before can now be done in less than an hour and the previous backlog of paper forms waiting to be processed has now been eradicated.
  • All event bookings can now be processed online, dramatically freeing up staff time to concentrate on other vital fundraising activities, as well as making the whole process a lot easier for alumni.
  • The University can now quickly and easily send out professional e-communications, segmenting recipients into donor groups in order to tailor messages, making them more relevant to the recipient.

Serving the non-profit, charitable giving, and education communities for more than 35 years, Blackbaud (NASDAQ:BLKB) combines technology solutions and expertise to help organisations achieve their missions. Blackbaud works in over 60 countries to support more than 35,000 customers, including non-profits, schools and higher education institutions, healthcare organisations, foundations, and other charitable giving entities, and corporations.

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