Communicating impact: Building a powerful development and communications relationship

Author(s): 
Pete Mackey, Chief Communications Officer, Amherst College, Charlie Melichar, Senior Consultant and Principal, Marts & Lundy, and Melanie Moran, Executive Director, Integrated Communications Unit, Vanderbilt University News and Communications

Abstract: This paper provides guidance and examples from senior leaders in the field for building an effective strategic relationship between communications and development. In a noisy philanthropic world, where return on investment matters greatly, the paper suggests how leaders and aspiring leaders can break through the all-too-common challenges facing these teams and define a winning relationship. The paper discusses skills, practices and questions at the core of the fundraising and communications partnership, and explores a case study featuring example metrics for success.

 

Keywords: advancement, campaign, communications, development, fundraising, marketing, alumni, metrics


Pete Mackey has led communications operations in higher education and related non-profit organisations for more than 25 years. In March 2014 he became Amherst College’s first chief communications officer (CCO), and is responsible for building and leading its first comprehensive communications office, including supporting a new Amherst campaign.

 

Charlie Melichar is a senior consultant and principal at Marts & Lundy. For the past 15 years he has been immersed in the field of non-profit communications, serving as an adviser and thought leader for colleges and universities and the professional organisations that support them. Most recently, Melichar served as associate vice chancellor of development and alumni relations communications at Vanderbilt University.

 

Melanie Moran is executive director of the Integrated Communications unit in University News and Communications and associate director of the overall news and communications office. She oversees university web communications, internal communications, Vanderbilt Magazine and the editors supporting Vanderbilt’s schools and colleges.

 

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