Volume 5 (2020-21)

Volume 5 of Journal of Education Advancement & Marketing consists of four 100-page issues. Forthcoming contents can be viewed on the 'Forthcoming content' page. 

Articles published so far in Volume 5 include:

Volume 5 Number 3 (Winter 2020)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Engaging your diverse alumni: Designing a new approach
    Ivana Marshall, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement and Inclusion Initiatives, Katie Lowe, Director of Engagement Programs and Signature Events and Valerie Wilkins, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement and Inclusion Initiatives, William & Mary

    What makes alumni want to engage with their alma mater? Despite negative experiences and sordid histories, how can colleges and university re-engage with their diverse alumni? William & Mary has identified several key ways to re-engage alumni and keep them engaged. For the purposes of this paper, alumni engagement will be defined in three ways; going, giving and serving. Going includes attending events regionally, virtually and on-campus. Giving is specific to financial gifts to the university — through pledges, gifts-in-kind or through alumni membership in a giving society. Serving includes but is not limited to activity on an alumni board or in other volunteer leadership capacities. The Alumni Association is in various stages of supporting identity-based alumni communities; which include Asian-Pacific Islander–Middle Eastern, Black/African American, LatinX, LGBTQ+ and the alumnae giving society, the Society of 1918. Throughout the development of programming for the aforementioned identity-based alumni communities, the Alumni Engagement department has worked to overcome a number of challenges, most specifically, the general feeling of disenchantment with university experiences. As a practice, the Alumni Engagement and Inclusion Initiatives department works to keep intersectionality at the forefront of all alumni experiences. In this context, intersectionality is defined as the intricate composition of an individual’s identity; to include but not limited to age, race and ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. With these demographics in mind, a focus on intersectionality captures the complexity of an individual’s identity, culture, values and life experiences. This paper utilises William & Mary as a case study for other colleges and universities to develop re-engagement efforts.
    Keywords: alumni engagement, alumni relations, intersectionality, philanthropy, leadership, service

  • Marshalling external resources in times of crisis
    Ladaniel Gatling II, Vice President, Office of Institutional Advancement, Bennett College

    The Stand With Bennett campaign successfully garnered a broad range of external financial support for Bennett College during one of the institution’s most troubling times in its nearly 150-year history. This paper will show how grassroots fundraising efforts coupled with effective communications can result in fundraising success.
    Keywords: institutional advancement, fundraising initiatives

  • Eliminating errors: How The Ohio State University is striving for processing perfection with a quality control programme
    Kristen Regan, Advancement Records Business Analyst, The Ohio State University Foundation Advancement Records and Tracy Owens, Business Transformation Leader, 3 Point Consulting

    Donor and alumni data drives much of the fundraising world. How does a large-scale university nonprofit ensure that the data for alumni, donor and friend records is correct? This paper discusses how, over the course of five years, the department of Advancement Records at The Ohio State University Foundation set out to uncover the best ways to monitor and track this data and provide an accuracy rate (AR) for the information entered into the database. After determining best practices for processing and figuring out how to review gifts for accuracy, the members of the quality control team worked with Tracy Owens, an American Society for Quality (ASQ) Certified Quality Engineer, to implement a new statistically validated method to determine the accuracy of their gift processing. This method, called CASI, significantly reduced the number of gifts reviewed each year while still maintaining the same AR. The quality control team also works to continuously improve this process and prioritise other tasks in the department to review for quality including receipts, student work, biographic update requests and more.
    Keywords: quality control, CASI, gift processing, fundraising, data

  • Building a better portfolio: A systematic strategic approach to optimisation and qualification
    Hawken Brackett, Executive Director of Strategic Engagement, Office of Development, Nick Foster, Executive Director of Colleges & Schools, Office of Development and Jenny Wells Pyle, Director of Development, College of Communication & Information Sciences, The University of Alabama

    This paper is grounded in a case study of the recent efforts and successes at the University of Alabama to establish a new standard of systematic strategic fundraising for the university. Specifically, the authors focus on the collaborative role they played to bridge the gap between the Office of Development and Office of Advancement Services. This commitment to collaboration was a foundational element of building and testing a new approach for optimising Major Gift Officer portfolios, prioritising the best prospects for qualification efforts, and qualifying those prioritised prospects in a systematic and strategic manner. The tools and talent necessary to be successful are discussed, as they informed the why and the how of the novel approach.
    Keywords: portfolio optimisation, prospect prioritisation, systematic fundraising, qualification of prospects, fundraising tools and talent, collaborative fundraising

  • Storified! How Capilano University celebrated its 50th anniversary
    Victoria Miles, Director, Communications, Capilano University

    In developing an engaging, multifaceted programme to commemorate its 50th anniversary, Capilano University (CapU) hosted major campus and community engagement events, established new legacy and fundraising activities and enhanced relationships with key sponsors and supporters. Many of these initiatives incorporated traditional and proven methods towards commemorating an anniversary, while others were uniquely reflective of the CapU experience, past, present and future. By leveraging its commitment to brand storytelling, the university devoted significant creative resources to commemorating its anniversary year through story. This paper presents the rationale, inspiration, structure and practices that supported and sustained CapU’s team of storytellers and offers a summary of the benefits and rewards that resulted from celebrating the university’s semicentennial through story.
    Keywords: anniversary celebrations, brand storytelling, digital storytelling, commemorative events, creativity, editorial teams, university events, CapU, Capilano University

  • The head, the heart and how: How to use consumer decision-making and information-processing models to plan and develop search marketing campaigns
    Chris Huebner, Digital strategist, Cyberwoven

    Enrolment management marketers continue to face increasing demands as higher education institutes grapple with enrolment trends. To assist in creating more effective search marketing campaigns, the author draws on relevant consumer behaviour models and academic research to develop a messaging framework that enrolment management marketers can use to develop messaging strategies for search campaigns.
    Keywords: enrolment management, marketing, advertising, integrated marketing communications, higher education

  • The myth of relationship building
    B. Seth Walker, Senior Director of Development at Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University

    The current economic reality of fundraising in higher education has made it necessary to be closing more major gifts to achieve our fundraising goals each year. At the same time, the industry is working to achieve these goals during highly concentrated campaign timelines. Complicating these two realities is that for the last 20 years, fundraising experts have put a great emphasis on ‘relationship building’. The focus on relationship building has pushed out the amount of time that major gift officers (MGOs) feel they have to cultivate a donor until they can make an ‘ask’. The question is, how can we close more major gifts faster than ever before while taking longer before an ask can be made? By examining sales data, we can see that emphasis placed on relationship building before a solicitation might be a myth, which is impacting our ability to close major gifts. This paper seeks to investigate common MGO types and define ways to quicken the solicitation process to close more major gifts on a faster timeline.
    Keywords: major gift officers (MGOs), relationship building, close rates, solicitations

  • A guide to research storytelling: Strategies for increasing reputation and affinity
    Emily Aalbers, Manager, Faculty Development, University of Ottawa

    This paper showcases different strategies used in research storytelling that can increase reputation and affinity and includes two step by step practical guides for how to use the research in practice. The writing strategies examined include how writers build the character of the institutions, the researchers and their research; what strategies writers use to appeal to a reader’s emotions; and how writers use a written style to enhance the impact of their stories. The two guides provided include one for writing professionals and one for researchers outlining best practices for finding, selecting, writing and reviewing research stories.
    Keywords: alumni, magazines, social sciences, humanities, academic research, storytelling, Canada, rhetoric, knowledge mobilisation, editorial process

Volume 5 Number 2 (Autumn/Fall 2020)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Case study: Deepening alumni and donor relationships with legislative advocacy
    Courtney Acitelli, Director, UW Impact, University of Washington Alumni Association

    Alumni legislative advocacy programmes are a growing area of practice within the field of advancement and alumni relations in the United States. The University of Washington Alumni Association’s legislative advocacy programme, UW Impact, has made significant contributions to the legislative landscape for higher education in the state of Washington while providing a rich and meaningful engagement opportunity for alumni, donors and key volunteers. This paper examines how an integrated approach to legislative advocacy can result in positive outcomes for advancement and alumni relations as well as an institution’s legislative agenda.
    Keywords: engagement, volunteers, board relations, alumni relations, legislative advocacy

  • From pipeline audit to e-survey: A case study in research-driven prospect prioritisation and qualification
    Lisa Bullock, Research Officer, Mingxia Liu, Manager, Prospect Research and Management and Betsy Schuurman, Research Officer, Carleton University

    In the final stages of a CAD$300m capital campaign, the Prospect Research and Management team at Carleton University collaborated with Development Officers to restructure prospect pipelines to be more active and dynamic through a comprehensive pipeline review. The team also piloted an E-Survey project to expedite prospect qualification. This paper discusses the planning and execution of both projects, approaches taken to prioritise and optimise prospect portfolios and changes made to the prospect-qualification process to increase efficiency and help the major gifts team focus on the best prospects. The objectives of this paper are to analyse: how to plan and conduct a comprehensive pipeline audit; how to use E-Survey to expedite prospect qualification and how to build partnerships with Development Officers through data-driven research.
    Keywords: prospect pipeline, E-Survey, qualification, audit

  • ‘Just tell us how much you want’: Rethinking donor relationships in a Nordic context
    Teppo Heiskanen, Director, Advancement and Corporate Engagement, Aalto University

    Higher education fundraising is very much in the making in Finland and in the other Nordic countries. In Finland, the governmental matching funding campaign of 2014–2017 had a profound impact on how advancement is being developed. The donor bases are dominated by foundations and companies instead of alumni and individuals. This means that conventional ideas about the donor relationship need to be adapted to the Nordic cultural context.
    Keywords: fundraising, donor cycle, campaigns, matching funding, cultural contexts, foundations, corporations

  • Texas Christian University: From great to the greater good
    Stephanie Barkow, Senior Vice President and Planning and Research, BVK, Gary Mueller, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer of BVK and Founder of Serve Marketing and Tracy Syler-Jones, Vice Chancellor and Marketing & Communication, Texas Christian University

    The marketing and communication division at Texas Christian University was established as an independent division in 1999, following a strategic planning process called ‘The Commission on the Future of TCU’. For the past 20 years, this unit has worked to position itself as a strategic partner versus a service function in an increasingly decentralised environment and during a timeframe of growth and increasing national and international prominence. Without an enrolment function as part of its portfolio, the unit has focused on better defining the university’s brand to enhance relationships with key stakeholders and assist in driving organisational objectives within an increasingly cluttered marketing and communication world and competitive environment. Such work has also increased understanding of the university’s brand among employees and students, turning them into advocates who can better explain the essence of the university as well as deliver on its promised experience.
    Keywords: brand platform, strategic partner, advocates, core human values, leadership

  • Creating a tribe for social media storytelling and brand co-creation at small higher education institutions
    Dianne Frances D. Powell, Associate Director of University Communication, Indiana State University

    Social media have revolutionised communication and changed the way brand stories are created. Because of social media’s popularity among target audiences of higher education institutions, they have become key components to higher education marketing communication strategies. How can colleges and universities maximise human resources for a social media strategy that incorporates the management of brand co-creation to produce a unified image? Based on recent experiences from social media initiatives at a small, private, liberal arts Catholic college, this paper highlights the benefits of networks of faculty/staff social media administrators, social media student ambassadors and alumni ambassadors in content generation and expansion of the institution’s social media footprint.
    Keywords: social media, branding in higher education, sub-branding, social media ambassadors, marketing, communications

  • Communications planning: What it is, why it is important and how enrolment management marketers can apply it
    Chris Huebner, Digital Strategist, Cyberwoven

    Navigating a constricting marketplace, media fragmentation, complex customer journeys and razor-thin enrolment goals, enrolment management marketers are faced with the need to make their efforts more effective. As the current ‘search’ model continues to be questioned, the move from finding the most efficient way to distribute communications to a new model to produce more effective outcomes has yet to be explored. Using communications planning as a framework, this paper details how enrolment management marketers can use the framework for a more effective way to produce better marketing outcomes.
    Keywords: enrolment management, marketing, comms planning, advertising, integrated marketing communications

  • Assessing buyer behaviour triggers and marketing messages for online education college admission webpages
    S. Paige Gardiner, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Utah Valley University and Phillip A. Olt, Assistant Professor of Higher Education Student Affairs, Fort Hays State University

    Higher education marketing has targeted the traditional college student with the campus visit, college viewbook and college admission website. Online higher education programmes, which recruit a nontraditional student consumer, are growing rapidly. The purpose of this qualitative content analysis study was to describe the buyer behaviour triggers and marketing messages that appeared on the college admission webpages for online education (OE) programmes. The study includes an examination of 313 marketing messages from the OE admission webpages of ten Midwestern colleges, collected between 1st September, 2018, and 31st November, 2018, in terms of what marketing messages were being communicated to prospective OE students. The phrases, words and images from the OE admission webpages were analysed and compared to a conceptual framework for OE student demands and preferences. Findings from the study highlight important considerations for how university marketing professionals may market to prospective students in a nontraditional OE context.
    Keywords: online education marketing, online education student college choice, online education student preferences, higher education marketing, digital marketing

  • Smart planned giving strategies: How to distil 30 years of research into a planned giving programme
    Margaret F. Neitzel, Director of Annual Giving, Office of Alumni Engagement, Sarah B. Finney, Senior Director of Gift Planning, University Advancement and Elizabeth J. Dale, Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Leadership, Seattle University

    The USA is currently experiencing the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in its history. As the baby boomer generation ages, researchers estimate that more than US$2tn in estate gifts could change hands. Yet, in today’s increasingly competitive charitable planned giving environment, fundraisers need smart strategies to maximise donor gifts and build sustaining relationships. This paper synthesises key findings from 30 years of planned giving research and offers examples demonstrating how to incorporate best practices and research findings into one’s planned giving activities, drawing from Seattle University’s advancement staff.
    Keywords: planned giving, legacy giving, gift planning, fundraising, donor stewardship, donor cultivation, planned giving, charitable planning research

Volume 5 Number 1 (Summer 2020)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Breaking down university silos to build an innovative principal giving programme
    Lisa D. Calvert, CEO, Cynthia J. Hollenbeck, Senior Development Writer and Editor, Victoria Miles, Senior Director of Principal Giving and Nickole Winfree, Senior Strategist of Principal Giving, Washington State University Foundation

    In 2017, under new leadership, the Washington State University Foundation (WSUF) reviewed its administrative organisation, internal and external communications, and fundraising processes in anticipation of its next major campaign. An internal task force assessed the foundation’s strengths, vulnerabilities and missed opportunities in an effort to maximise the university’s fundraising potential. The task force conducted a benchmarking study with WSU’s peer institutions that operate principal giving programmes. In reviewing this research, the WSUF discovered recurring themes and best practices across the multiple institutions. This paper discusses how the WSUF identified building a strong collaboration between leaders, academics, front-line fundraisers and support staff within a centralised, donor-centric principal giving programme as key to moving into a new era of philanthropy.
    Keywords: principal giving, philanthropy, build programme, strategy, development, advancement

  • Cultivating marketing excellence across a decentralised campus environment
    Mona Csada, Former Director of Audience Engagement, University of Calgary and Kim Lawrence, Principal, Chicory Consultants

    This paper reviews the unique challenges faced by decentralised marketing teams in the higher education space and provides a road map for developing a high-performing — and highly credible — community of marketers in such environments. Drawing upon the University of Calgary (UCalgary) team’s experience in creating a marketing organisation from the ground up, the foundational organisational and cultural components necessary for success are identified. These include environmental understanding and a common language, a community of like-minded colleagues embracing a collaborative approach, a solid brand platform, a robust strategy and data-driven implementation plan, and the right expertise. Specific approaches for cultivating expertise are detailed, including community building strategies and a robust programme of professional development offerings.
    Keywords: higher-education marketing, professional development, team performance, communities of practice

  • ‘Pull’ more than ‘push’ for organic alumni development
    Mary Kay Cooper, Director of Alumni Engagement, Amy C. Lewis, Associate Dean of the College of Business and Weixing Ford, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Texas A&M University-San Antonio

    Despite increasing importance of alumni affairs in higher education, considerable efforts on alumni development have often failed to reach their full potential in terms of alumni engagement and alumni support across institutions. At Texas A&M University-San Antonio, the alumni office drew on ‘push’ and ‘pull’ marketing strategies to achieve organic alumni growth with an extremely limited budget. This paper discusses (1) the successes and limitations of the push strategies that were employed for alumni development, such as social media marketing and alumni events, and (2) the benefits and challenges of the pull strategies that were used to primarily target at the university’s current students.
    Keywords: alumni affairs, higher education, pull marketing strategy, push marketing strategy, organic alumni development

  • Navigating a brand ‘bounce back’ after a near closure: A case study on Sweet Briar College’s ‘fierce’ brand refresh
    Melissa Farmer Richards, VP, Communications, Hamilton College, Alexia Koelling, EVP and Consulting and Account Management & Principal, Lipman Hearne and Amy Ostroth, Senior Director of Communications, Sweet Briar College

    The role of the chief communications officer at American colleges and universities continues to shift from that of a traditional public information officer to one that requires brand marketing expertise. A changing competitive landscape, enrolment challenges and financial woes present new road blocks that risk brand crisis regularly. This case study explores how one college repositioned its brand to recover from a brand crisis after nearly closing its doors. The authors offer seven steps for a structured approach to brand development and management in order to navigate a brand rebound postcrisis.
    Keywords: brand, brand marketing, brand crisis, brand recovery, brand development, brand strategy, higher education marketing, higher education brand, college brand

  • Putting students at the heart of marketing efforts to enhance impact
    Martyn Edwards, Interim Director of Marketing, Recruitment and International, Swansea University

    This paper shares practical experiences of how institutions can take an integrated approach to market research and campaign creative so as to calibrate their interventions for greater relevance and impact. During periods of heightened competition and socio-political turmoil, universities can ill afford to be homogenous in their messaging and brand positioning if they are to enjoy sustained success. This situation is made even more challenging by the fact that our typical student target audience has never known a world without widespread internet connectivity, social networks and smartphones. As a result they have an unprecedented level of access to information at their fingertips, making them highly discerning and acutely aware of brands as well as global issues. In order to ensure that they meaningfully engage with prospective students and their network of influencers, universities must differentiate their offering by being bold and distinctive in their promotional execution. This can be achieved by bringing students, parents and advisers into the marketing planning and design process, to understand what drives their needs, aspirations and ultimately behaviours. Read on to learn how Swansea University has taken such an evidence-based approach to shape their latest national student recruitment campaign collateral, digital deployment and publications.
    Keywords: marketing campaigns, market research, student personas

  • The perfect synergy: Alumni, donors, students, employers — A case study in Silicon Valley
    John Grant, Consultant, John Grant Consulting, Lisa Jung, Senior Associate Director, Alumni Relations and Harriet Chicoine, Programme Director, Faculty of Applied Science and I.A.T., Co-operative Education, Simon Fraser University

    This is a case study about overcoming internal institutional silos to develop a new market for alumni engagement, donor cultivation, and student and alumni job opportunities. Simon Fraser University (SFU) was unknown in the Bay Area until three key areas of the university banded together to form the Bay Area Working Group — a cross-functional team to develop a comprehensive strategy for that region. The paper discusses specific strategies that were developed to address the following goals: (1) increasing the number of activities delivered in the region, while maximising strategic outcomes for broader institutional needs, (2) coordinating a single delegation to participate in one or two annual trips to the region, (3) increasing the number of organisations that hired co-op students by using alumni as door openers, (4) integrating current students into alumni-based activities in the region, (5) increasing university pride and loyalty held by alumni in the region, and (6) increasing recognition and acknowledgment of the SFU brand. Five years later, SFU is a leader in the region with record levels of alumni engagement, an increase in the number of financial gifts being realised, significant growth in the number of student co-op positions being posted, and the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple recruiting on an active basis on campus. A list of recommendations are provided to guide others who are keen to both enhance the outcomes realised in existing areas and expand activities into new markets.
    Keywords: collaboration, regional engagement, job development, strategy, relationships, loyalty, pride

  • Assessing the impact of chief development officers’ leadership style on gift officers’ fundraising performance at US private higher education institutions
    Carrie Collins, Chief Advancement Officer, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

    This paper seeks to provide an explanation for variations in gift officer (GO) performance at American private institutions of higher education and serve as a guide to hiring and coaching of GOs and the chief development officers to whom they report. First, there was no significant difference among GOs, as categorised by performance, regarding which in-role performance theory they credited most with their accomplishments in the last fiscal year. Further, high-performing GOs equally preferred four leadership styles that have been characterised as follower-focused. Statistical tests revealed that mid and low performers had no clear preference for a leadership style, demonstrating that the specific situation dictates which style they prefer. Finally, when comparing high performers to mid and low performers, leadership styles that are more supervisor-focused than follower-focused were ranked more highly by mid and low performers, which suggests that these particular leadership styles are not embraced by GOs who perform at a higher level.
    Keywords: leadership, performance, fundraisers, gift officers, research study