Volume 7 (2022-23)

Volume 7 of Journal of Education Advancement & Marketing consists of four 100-page issues. 

Articles published in Volume 7 include:

Volume 7 Number 4 (Spring 2023)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Shifting the donor landscape paradigm: Strategies for increasing engagement and philanthropy among donors of colour
    Alyssia Coates, Director of Development for Diversity and Inclusion, Brown University and Ladaniel Gatling, Vice President for Advancement, Guilford College

    In 2019, Brown University's Advancement Division established a diversity and inclusion major gifts role to fundraise for diversity and inclusion initiatives at Brown. Approximately US$165m was included in the US$3bn ‘BrownTogether’ fundraising campaign to support historically underrepresented groups (HUGS) as part of the university's Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University (now known as the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, or DIAP). The inaugural Director for Development for Diversity and Inclusion (DDDI) is charged with increasing donor engagement and participation within HUG populations and overall giving to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) priorities. Brown's Senior Vice President for Advancement charged the whole Division with 1) increasing awareness of DEI fundraising initiatives for all alumni and 2) increasing engagement and philanthropy among alumni of colour. The initial opportunity to achieve the first goal was for Advancement colleagues to engage the full spectrum of Brown alumni in supporting diversity initiatives. Across the country and in higher education, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the murder of George Floyd and issues of racial justice injustice among Black people shed new light on the effects of racism in America and brought greater understanding to groups of people who historically were not aware of the lived experiences of those enduring racism in this country. This helped to motivate more majority constituent donors to give to DEI initiatives. During this time, more Brown constituents became aware of the university's DEI initiatives, and the Advancement Division realised that donors from all backgrounds were interested in supporting them. As a result, Brown Advancement collectively raised over US$30m for DEI priorities in one fiscal year. Through this paper, readers will learn what steps Brown University took to work collaboratively, nurture engagement and philanthropy among donors of colour and promote DEI initiatives to the wider donor community during the dual national crises.
    Keywords: diversity plans; equity and inclusion; diverse alumni; historically underrepresented groups; alumni engagement

  • Designing an alumni strategy in a complex organisation: A multilevel approach
    Marie-Aline Kruydt, Alumni Policy Adviser, Department of Communication and Marketing, Team Marketing, Ghent University

    Ghent University is one of the largest Belgian universities with a vibrant alumni community. Connecting with that alumni community can be a challenge and is a task in many ways impacted by the balanced centralised/decentralised structure of the university. In this paper, we highlight the different agents, spread throughout the entire university, who jointly create a meaningful alumni policy and develop a strong connection with our alumni. We also touch upon structures and tools for internal collaboration and briefly discuss the results of the renewed alumni policy that was launched two years ago.
    Keywords: alumni strategy; structure alumni programme; internal collaboration; identifying goals

  • Breaking down barriers between brand and enrolment marketing
    John Denker, Vice President, Marketing and Brand Management and Christie Harper, Vice President, Campus Brand Engagement, The University of Arizona

    There exists an ongoing debate within the higher education marketing and communications disciplines on the merits of having a centralised versus decentralised structure. At the University of Arizona, the institution's two largest marketing teams chose collaboration as a third path — embracing and combining the audience and content expertise of the decentralised model with the brand consistency and breadth of centralisation. This collaboration has effectively broken down the barriers between enrolment and brand marketing and thereby enhanced the effectiveness of each unit's individual marketing efforts, making the whole greater than the sum of the parts. This paper will reveal how the teams came together on media strategy, brand strategy and creative execution to achieve significant application and enrolment growth.
    Keywords: brand strategy; media strategy; organisational structure; centralisation; creative development

  • Unleashing women’s philanthropy
    Cannie Campbell, Associate Vice President for Constituent Engagement and Executive Director for Women for Madison and Sean Clifford, Owner, Isle of Fitness LLC; former Assistant Director for Volunteer Engagement, James Madison University

    Women are gaining power and prominence in almost every corner of society, and philanthropy is no exception. As women's philanthropy continues to grow in all areas such as healthcare, education and humanitarian work, the need for advancement shops to pay particular attention to this phenomenon is critical. At James Madison University (JMU), Women for Madison (WFM), a women-led initiative, was formed in 2013 with a mission to promote investment in the future of JMU. In the last few years, JMU has embarked on a bold initiative to engage its women donors to become a visible and leading force in philanthropy. That effort eventually led WFM to create a women's giving society, the Amethyst Circle. The Amethyst Circle is the first-of-its-kind giving society at JMU. Together,  JMU and WFM are harnessing the collective power of women's philanthropy to raise US$1m every two years through 200 women donors. Members will help open doors to high-achieving students who need scholarships to attend the university. This paper highlights what JMU has sought to achieve, and how other institutions of higher education might be inspired to make gender equality a focus of their giving.
    Keywords: women's philanthropy; philanthropy; giving; giving circles; engagement; women in philanthropy

  • How Concordia University built a virtual alumni programme that drives broad and deep constituent engagement
    Temi Akin-Aina, Associate Director and Olivia Piccirelli, Alumni Officer of External Partnerships, Concordia University

    This paper discusses the strategic planning and implementation of Concordia University's #CUatHome digital alumni engagement programme. Taking the form of a case study focusing on The Alumni Career Services' (ACS) portfolio, the programme is an engine to mobilise and engage alumni, support students, build partnerships and, ultimately, fundraise for the university. In 2021, the CU at Home programme received excellence awards from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE)1 and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE D1)2 in recognition of its success in increasing alumni participation and building constituent affinity.
    Keywords: alumni engagement; virtual programmes; alumni career services; #CUatHome

  • Giving Day: Conducting a symphony or herding cats?
    William Ayrea, Director of Major and Planned Giving, The Madeira School and John Smilde, Director of Gifts and Records Administration, Advancement and Alumni Relations, George Mason University

    A key irony that is uncovered is that beneath the surface of giving day fundraising frenzy is a strong and well-planned marketing infrastructure, and a gift processing operation that typically appears very structured on the surface needs to embrace the fun of the day and the ‘big picture’ effect its work has. This paper will provide a window to the George Mason University Giving Day strategy that resulted in a record giving effort for 2021. The overall theme of the paper is that, while giving day may appear to be a free-wheeling day of school spirit, a successful effort is based on good strategy, rigorous planning and executed on a solid framework. Key areas of focus include communication plans, website, events and workflows. Elements of success that are covered include investment in creating a culture of philanthropy, identifying and motivating networks, innovation and developing compelling messaging. Tactical topics such as: appeal codes, e-mail marketing tools and progress indicators are also covered. It also emphasises that a strong operational partnership with gift processing is needed to ensure that donors who were motivated to give are not only thanked in a timely manner but also that the data is used to feed the overall fundraising operation management process. Illustrations included provide visual identity branding examples, a visual of the Giving Day toolkit used to empower various divisions of the university in their efforts, a timeline of action for e-mail campaigns along with key data points for monitoring success, and a visual used by the gifts processing team to emphasise the big picture and effect in moves management areas such as: identification, cultivation, solicitation, stewardship and alumni network development.
    Keywords: Giving Day; fundraising; campaigns; communications; social media; planning; audience; gift processing; strategy; teamwork

  • Quantifying volunteer impact: Challenges and recommendations
    Elizabeth McKee, Senior Director of Alumni Engagement, Northern Illinois University (NIU) Alumni Association

    This paper explores research conducted by a fellow for the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE) and discovers the obstacles, barriers and potential pathways for quantifying volunteer engagement. It shows how initial assumptions were disproven, identifies issues with data confidence and the limitations that current databases pose for professionals tracking volunteer metrics. It concludes with recommendations for where to start with quantifying volunteer engagement and further research.
    Keywords: volunteer engagement; metrics; quantify; data; tracking

  • A content analysis study exploring the marketing messages communicated to prospective female law school and MBA students
    Paige Gardiner, Marketing Lecturer, Madison J. Droubay, Accounting Major and Dalton J. Droubay, Business Management Major, Southern Utah University

    American law schools (JD) and Master of Business (MBA) programmes have made strides to recruit female students over the last two decades. As these schools begin to see an equal number of female and male students applying to their programmes, will these graduate programmes continue to market to prospective female students? This paper aims to understand how American JD and MBA programmes market to prospective female graduate students through the graduate programme admission webpages. To understand gendered marketing messages for JD and MBA graduate programmes, the researchers provide a review of the literature regarding the female, graduate school-choice model, perceived influence of the graduate admissions webpage and gendered marketing education messages. Next, using a content analysis study, the researchers examine 25 American JD and MBA programmes for frequency and type of gendered, graduate, school-choice marketing messages. The researchers offer conclusions, implications and ideas for education stakeholders.
    Keywords: female graduate school-choice model; female MBA recruiting; female law school recruiting; graduate admission websites; gender marketing messages

Volume 7 Number 3 (Winter 2022)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Going live: Transforming virtual programming through social media
    Carissa Violante, Associate Director for Digital Marketing and Stefanie Stevens, Associate Director for Yale Regional Clubs, Yale Alumni Association

    This paper explores the Yale Alumni Association's (YAA) strategy for implementing Yale Alumni LIVE, a multi-channel social media endeavour aimed at actively engaging virtual audiences. The programme, which was a collaborative effort among various teams within the YAA, creates avenues for mission-led conversations and campus-wide collaborations with minimal technological and budgetary constraints. The Yale Alumni LIVE programme can be scaled and adapted to align with the needs and mission of an organisation of any size.
    Keywords: alumni relations; engagement; communications; communications strategy; partnerships; technology trends; social media, video; live video

  • Enhancing fundraising performance through pipeline-based goal setting
    Katie Harrell, Senior Director of Performance Management Operations, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Like many large, decentralised organisations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign historically used matrices or manager discretion when setting goals for fundraisers, resulting in a spectrum of performance standards. Acknowledging the importance of portfolio health to a fundraiser's success, Illinois launched the Stoplight system, a pipeline-based approach to setting goals that combines a discounting algorithm (science) with fundraiser knowledge about each solicitation (art) to arrive at aspirational, yet achievable goals. Pipeline-based goal setting at Illinois resulted in improved fundraiser confidence, more ambitious dollar targets, and increased closures from pipeline, even among pandemic disruptions.
    Keywords: fundraising performance; pipeline development; metrics; systematic fundraising; data-driven pipeline discounting; fundraising projections/italic

  • A framework for building more inclusive marketing and communications content
    Becky Stenlund, University Insights Manager and Katie Jensen, Associate Vice President of Insights and Analytics, University of St Thomas

    Generation Z is more diverse and more socially conscious than any prior generation. As a result, universities must prioritise diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in order to successfully attract young people to their communities. As stewards of the university's brand and the lens through which prospective community members are introduced to the institution, marketing and communications teams have a special responsibility to authentically represent DEI through all aspects of their work. As a Catholic university with a conviction of creating ‘a vibrant diverse community’, members of the Marketing, Insights and Communications team (MIC) at the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, were compelled to take action. This paper provides an overview of the DEI Viewfinder tool, developed by the authors of this paper, to assist content creators in examining their marketing content through a DEI lens. Created via an audit of their own marketing and communications materials, the tool provides users with nine questions to ask in support of inclusive marketing and communications materials.
    Keywords: diversity; equity; inclusion; marketing; communications

  • Quality assurance in gift agreements
    Serena R. Livingston, Director of Gift Administration, Recording Secretary, Rhode Island School of Design, Institutional Advancement

    This article provides a comprehensive view of the components needed in fundraising to produce gift agreements that satisfy the requirements of the institution and the donor. Quality assurance in gift agreements encompasses both processes and people. The purpose of a gift agreement is to outline the terms of a charitable gift and how it is to be administered. This paper provides clarity for a framework to define the key elements of gift agreements, outline the process, involve the right stakeholders and execute high quality gift agreements as part of a holistic and collaborative programme of gift cultivation, solicitation, administration and stewardship. The best practices, guidelines, templates and workflows detailed in the paper can be adapted by any size fundraising department.
    Keywords: dementia; Alzheimer's disease; fundraising; philanthropic directive; financial planning; social inclusion; dementia-friendly

  • The new normal of alumni volunteering
    Leah Southern, Faculty Alumni Officer (Biology, Medicine and Health), Division of Development and Alumni Relations, The University of Manchester

    Many aspects of society have been forever changed by the pandemic and alumni volunteering programmes are no different. The University of Manchester quickly responded to campus closures and moved events online, starting small and building up, including larger, more complex events along the journey. Utilising detailed feedback from student audiences and alumni volunteers, the formats of events were continually honed, successful online speed networking events and roundtables were trialled. Now that teaching has resumed on campus, it is essential to look at what that means for both the volunteers and student audiences and make sure a programme of events that keeps up with their needs is being offered. Offering a mix of online and in-person events will not be enough, activity must be moved to hybrid formats to remain resilient against future challenges and to make sure that these programmes are accessible to everyone. This paper outlines successes with online events and stewardship, which has become the new normal since the pandemic, and how it is intended to develop this in line with the new hybrid way of working.
    Keywords: Gift agreements; workflows; gift guidelines; gift administration; major gifts; donor experience

  • Collaborating with research: Leveraging government grants to increase industry support
    Josh Bowman, Senior Director of Development, College of Engineering, North Carolina State University and Stephanie Treloar, Senior Director of Development, Strategic Initiatives, Toronto Metropolitan University

    This paper elucidates the complicated world of government research grants in Canada and illustrates the opportunities for internal and external collaboration with faculty and research in order to secure transformative funding. Using two case studies, this paper showcases two potential step-by-step approaches to secure philanthropic and research funding from industry partners — matched by government grants two or three times over.
    Keywords: academic research; MITACS; SSHRC; OCE; NSERC; alumni; philanthropy; government grants

  • Finding success promoting Berry College in a rapidly declining market: A longitudinal case study of a marketing campaign to reposition a college brand
    Samantha Nazione, Associate Professor, Department of Management and Marketing, Berry College, et al.

    Recent declines in college enrolment may cause colleges to revisit their marketing efforts. This paper details the process and evaluation of a marketing campaign grounded in the college's three value pillars (mentorship, student work, and preparing students for life after college) aimed at repositioning a college brand. The objectives of the marketing campaign focused on increasing student and parent awareness of the college, student diversity and quality student enrolment. The effect of COVID-19 on this campaign is also investigated through a survey with first-year students, asking them to identify top reasons for their enrolment at the college. Evaluation took place through enrolment and survey data. The results over a three-year period since the campaign launched show success in terms of increasing parent awareness, overall enrolment, students with high school GPAs of 3.6 or higher, and students of colour. Objectives regarding student awareness and increasing the number of male students have not been met to date. The survey conducted with first-years to help identify the possible effect of COVID-19 on the campaign did not find COVID-19 to be a leading cause of enrolment, as identified by students. Rather, two of the three value pillars of the college: student work, and preparing students for life after college, were identified as top reasons for enrolment. This research demonstrates the potential solid return on investment brand repositioning campaigns can yield. Future research is needed to understand causal relationships and rationales for males choosing not to attend college.
    Keywords: brand; campaign; higher education; enrolment; case study

  • How higher education marketers should think about mental availability: A framework for graduate enrolment growth
    Christopher Huebner, Digital Strategist, Up&Up

    With the release of Byron Sharp's ‘How Brands Grow’ and ‘How Brands Grow Part 2’ and the work of Les Binet and Peter Field, marketing managers have benefited from the development of empirical marketing principles that provide guideposts for growth.1–3 However, the relevancy of these principles are often questioned when applied to marketing and recruitment for institutions of higher education. This paper will argue that small shifts in consumer behaviour and the increasingly competitive online landscape make mental availability even more important for higher education marketers to compete online. Using the tenets of Sharp's mental availability, the paper will show how to apply these principles to build a strong digital marketing ecosystem and contribute more effectively to marketing and recruiting specifically for graduate programmes.
    Keywords: higher education marketing; brand strategy; digital marketing; marketing; enrolment marketing; media strategy

Volume 7 Number 2 (Autumn/Fall 2022)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • The path to Stewtopia: Building a university-wide stewardship programme
    Tana Jones, Senior Director, Stewardship and Andrea L. Miller, Senior Vice President, Constituent Relations, Marketing/Communications, Giving Programs, University of Arizona Foundation

    The University of Arizona's Alumni and Development Program evolved from a highly decentralised stewardship environment to a hybrid-based stewardship programme to create a comprehensive, university-wide stewardship programme and a centrally based stewardship team.  A cross-campus collaborative programme development team — the Stewardship Leadership Team — was established with a diverse group of frontline fundraisers, administrative leaders and unit-based staff with stewardship responsibilities. Over the course of 18 months, the Stewardship Leadership Team worked together to develop university-wide baseline donor stewardship standards and guidelines. The approach to building the programme is outlined and its outcomes.
    Keywords: stewardship; donor relations; development; fundraising; donor pipeline; centralised services; hybrid model of management

  • #RSM24: Lessons learned from planning 30 global events on one day
    Karen Woods, Karen Woods Journalism and Communications, Meta Haag-Mikec, Alumni Relations Manager and Marijke De Ruyter, Events Project Manager, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University

    This paper shows how, on one day, across every time zone, alumni from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) got together to celebrate its 50th birthday. Members of the alumni team at RSM rose to the challenge when the COVID-19 pandemic ruined their plans to celebrate RSM's 50th birthday. Everyone went online to organise events remotely and make the anniversary a memorable one. More than 25 events took place, both in-person and online, thanks to support from enthusiastic volunteer alumni in Chapters across the globe. The activities ranged from a golf tournament in Iceland to a panel debate in Dubai; two former prime ministers attended another event in the Caribbean. On the day itself, the team worked round the clock, dropping into all the celebrations to wish them well.  The reaction was positive from the participating graduates who looked back with affection at their studies in the Netherlands. The alumni team achieved its aim of maintaining contact with their Chapters, establishing new links with individuals and marking RSM's 50th birthday in a unique and enjoyable way.
    Keywords: #RSM24; Erasmus University; Rotterdam; alumni; celebrations; global event; COVID-19; connections

  • Coronavirus communications and the college president’s power to calm campus
    Wes Sumner, Vice President for Executive Communications, Florida Institute of Technology

    This case study outlines the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic communications for colleges and universities and highlights the ways in which an institution's president can allay concerns and create calm. Key communications strategy components include building trust through transparency; displaying honesty in uncertainty; fighting fear; demonstrating expertise and communicating concern. Primary tools include first-person videos from the president; a dedicated website; social media sharing and consistently scheduled e-mail updates. Florida Tech's communications approach contributed to enrolment increases during the pandemic and fostered greater acceptance and, ultimately, widespread support for, and adherence to, the university's COVID-19 safety protocols.
    Keywords: presidential communications; COVID-19 communications; campus health; crisis communications

  • Dementia and professional fundraising: What to know and what to plan
    Jolene Hyppa-Martin, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Robert Hofmann, Senior Development Officer, University of Minnesota Duluth Development and Lani McCollar, Associate Vice President, BWF

    Fundraising professionals who frequently engage with an ageing population need to be familiar with dementia, a condition affecting about 10 per cent of individuals aged 65 years and older in the US. Nearly a third of major gifts are given by individuals over the age of 65, and many individuals remain active in philanthropy well into their 80s. A recent national survey demonstrated professional fundraisers' commitment to ethical fundraising and highlighted questions about how, and whether, professional fundraisers can ethically steward longstanding relationships with an ageing client population at higher risk of dementia. Perspectives of five philanthropists diagnosed with early stage dementia included: (a) a desire to remain engaged in financial and philanthropic activities as long as possible; (b) suggestions for proactively including trusted advisers; (c) concerns about unsolicited calls and texts from unfamiliar organisations or institutions; and (d) reasons that fundraising professionals should use specific strategies to support effective and respectful communication. A novel form of documentation, the Philanthropic Directive, is proposed. Benefits of philanthropic organisations self-initiating a process to become dementia-friendly are summarised, including learning to recognise dementia signs. Finally, a simple baseline assessment tool is suggested for use as a starting point for organisations to identify potential areas of need regarding their interactions with an ageing population at higher risk of dementia. Freely available resources are suggested as training materials if areas of need are discovered.
    Keywords: dementia; Alzheimer's disease; fundraising; philanthropic directive; financial planning; social inclusion; dementia-friendly

  • The new normal of alumni volunteering
    Leah Southern, Faculty Alumni Officer (Biology, Medicine and Health), Division of Development and Alumni Relations, The University of Manchester

    Many aspects of society have been forever changed by the pandemic and alumni volunteering programmes are no different. The University of Manchester quickly responded to campus closures and moved events online, starting small and building up, including larger, more complex events along the journey. Utilising detailed feedback from student audiences and alumni volunteers, the formats of events were continually honed, successful online speed networking events and roundtables were trialled. Now that teaching has resumed on campus, it is essential to look at what that means for both the volunteers and student audiences and make sure a programme of events that keeps up with their needs is being offered. Offering a mix of online and in-person events will not be enough, activity must be moved to hybrid formats to remain resilient against future challenges and to make sure that these programmes are accessible to everyone. This paper outlines successes with online events and stewardship, which has become the new normal since the pandemic, and how it is intended to develop this in line with the new hybrid way of working.
    Keywords: alumni volunteering; hybrid events; online stewardship; employability; careers support; networking

  • Bump It Forward: How a campaign challenged our fundraising status quo
    Karen Brady, Director of Fundraising, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

    This paper describes the development and implementation of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine's (LSTM) Bump It Forward campaign, which was launched in January 2021 to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and protect health workers in African countries until the COVID-19 vaccine reached them. As a specialist and small institution with an embryonic fundraising operation, it was assumed that LSTM would never be successful as a public fundraising charity. However, this campaign challenged these beliefs and LSTM's existing approach to fundraising, resulting in more than five times the original target being raised, and increasing donor numbers seven-fold. This paper considers some of the elements that made the campaign so successful, which shattered the previous misconceptions of fundraising ability and challenged what constitutes best practice, particularly for donor acquisition strategies. The paper concludes with a summary of the lessons learned, which can be applied to fundraising practice in any size of organisation.
    Keywords: campaign; donor acquisition; leadership; social media; COVID-19; donations; impact

  • Case study: The shift from in-person to virtual Homecoming and how to create a trending success
    Lisa Andreana, Alumni Relations Officer and Steve Frangakis, Communications Officer, Wilfrid Laurier University

    In 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on alumni relations activity and programming in myriad of ways. At Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020, the flagship alumni relations engagement event, Homecoming, risked cancellation in light of current public safety guidelines. Alumni professionals know an event the size of Homecoming takes months to plan. With the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the plans and the vision for Laurier's Homecoming 2020 were quickly derailed. This paper offers insight into how a medium-sized public university in Canada flourished in its pandemic Homecoming adaptation. We share thoughts on how to rethink, repurpose and reconsider events in different formats.
    Keywords: alumni; Homecoming; alumni engagement; alumni relations; virtual events; social media

  • Leveraging stakeholder engagement to reconstitute a diverse business advisory council
    John A. Sims, President & CEO, AJS Consulting Company and Roy A. Wiggins, Professor, Department of Finance, Bentley University

    This paper looks at how academic leadership in US business schools and university advancement can work collaboratively to (re)constitute a business advisory council (BAC) comprising a more broadly diverse group of alumni and corporate partners that benefit the school, the students and the philanthropic efforts of the school. Academic leadership receives much-needed ‘real world’ advice and counsel about curricular and strategic issues; council members have an important and meaningful way to contribute to their alma mater or an academic partner in their community. If this council membership is groomed properly, advancement builds an annual donation stream that can be counted on to offset some of the financial pressures and, perhaps, can begin to source and train future candidates for the Board of  Trustees. Students not only benefit from better-informed curricula, they also begin to build important network connections with the organisational community that could benefit them when they enter the internship or post-graduation employment market. In short, taking the time and energy to reconstitute a more diverse BAC could be a win-win for all parties involved.
    Keywords: advisory council; advisory board; alumni; relations; corporate relations; diversity; equity and inclusion; university advancement

Volume 7 Number 1 (Summer 2022)

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Papers
    Recent grad refresh: Carleton University’s transformed approach to building relationships with new alumni
    Sarah McKinnon, Annual Giving Officer, Carleton University

    As alumni donor bases continue to mature, devoting resources and energy to welcoming new alumni and cultivating philanthropic relationships is essential. Following consultation with recent graduates, Carleton University developed a refreshed strategy to guide communications, engagement and solicitation with its newest alumni. In the two years since implementation, beginning in 2019, Carleton has seen an increase in the number of new donors and revenue, as well as positive indicators of engagement. This paper outlines the approach Carleton took to audit its existing practices and offers a comprehensive account of the process of developing and implementing this new strategy. The refreshed approach is one that emphasises inclusion and provides value to alumni. This revamped strategy has bolstered donor acquisition, resulting in an increase in the number of recent grad donors and revenue while improving engagement with new alumni. Specific tactics used to cultivate and solicit recent grads are detailed, demonstrating their effectiveness in developing better relationships with alumni at Carleton.
    Keywords: alumni, annual giving, recent graduates, young alumni, cultivation, direct marketing

  • Taking control of the trolls: Crisis and social media management strategies
    Victoria Mendoza, Director of Conversation Design, University of Southern California

    Institutions of higher education often find themselves in the crosshairs of Internet trolls. As online bullying and misinformation continue to grow as societal issues, it can be challenging to decide on the best tactic for handling trolling. The problem of trolls intensifies, and the ability to act quickly is all the more critical in the middle of a campus-wide crisis. This piece showcases how to maintain a welcoming presence and manage community online while allowing respectful dialogue through guidelines, an understanding of how the law may or may not restrict speech, and the ability to adapt on a case-by-case basis. Strategies for identifying trolls, common tactics for managing their presence, and how crisis management plays a role are all examined.
    Keywords: social media, trolls, crisis management, online community, community management

  • ‘Blown Away’: Partnering on a Netflix reality series to promote glassblowing education
    Christine Szustaczek, Vice President, External Relations, Office of the President, Sheridan College

    Despite having taught the craft of working with glass for 50 years and playing an instrumental role in establishing a community of glass artists and glassblowers throughout Canada, Sheridan College’s glass programme had been experiencing declining enrolment for several years. This case study outlines the innovative approach taken by Sheridan to generate visibility for and interest in its Honours Bachelor of Craft and Design – Glassblowing programme by partnering with Netflix to create a competition-based reality TV series about glassblowing called Blown Away.
    Keywords: brand promotion, integrated marketing and communications, partnership, enrolment

  • Packaging degree programmes to drive demand
    John Trierweiler, Vice President and CMO and Kinnari Sejpal, Associate Vice President, Rochester Institute of Technology

    ‘Can you promote our programme?’ This question may sound familiar. As might the answer. Marketing each academic programme/degree/major is challenging due to inherent obstacles such as promotional inefficiency and allocation of finite resources. As such, the question really became about packaging of programmes as compelling products. In response, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) marketing and communications launched a pilot: in close partnership with enrolment management, we identified programmes that met a certain set of criteria and developed an area of study called New Economy Majors with a positioning strategy that laddered up to the master brand. The teams then collaborated with the provost and colleges to bring this promotional effort to life in the most effective and efficient manner. As a result, programmes saw enrolment success and at the same time the effort bolstered overall brand awareness for the university.
    Keywords: higher education, higher education marketing, brand management, product marketing, programme marketing, New Economy Majors

  • China’s university fundraising and institutionally related foundations: Development, current status and challenges
    Yang Gao, Director of Strategic Development and Research, Tsinghua University Education Foundation

    Over the past decade, Chinese universities have been giving increased emphasis to institutional advancement through philanthropic fundraising. Private contributions received by China’s universities have increased rapidly. This study aims to understand the development, current status and challenges in China’s university fundraising by looking at the central actor: institutionally related foundations (IRFs). By presenting analyses and a case study on the organisation function, structure and fundraising practices of China’s leading university IRFs, this paper reveals and summarises some unique characteristics and development patterns of university fundraising and IRFs’ development in China, hoping to provide stakeholders with helpful reference and insights to understand China’s rising higher education fundraising.
    Keywords: China, public university, institutionally related foundations (IRFs), philanthropy, fundraising

  • Do the right thing and get caught doing it: A case study of developing cognitive impairment guidelines for advancement staff at the University of Illinois System
    Tara Adams, Assistant Director of Advancement, University of Illinois College of Law and Anthony Pomonis, Director of Development, University of Illinois Foundation

    We are currently witnessing the largest transfer of wealth in human history: as Baby Boomers and older Americans pass along their finances to charities and heirs, over US$35,000,000,000,000 (US$35tn) in wealth will be redistributed in the coming years. This paper is a case study that explores the increasing rates of Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia among ageing donor populations within higher education. The paper tracks the authors’ development of cognitive impairment guidelines for the advancement staff at the University of Illinois System. The case study also identifies the challenges inherent in developing and implementing fundraising guidelines in a large, decentralised system that includes three separate universities and a 501(c)(3) university foundation, each with its own development teams and leadership hierarchies.
    Keywords: philanthropy, cognitive impairment, ethical fundraising, donor stewardship, decentralised system, wealth transfer

  • Fundraising during a pandemic: The University of Manchester’s Student Hardship Appeal
    Dale Cooper, Interim Director of Development and Jemma Gurr, Head of Regular Giving, University of Manchester

    This case study examines how The University of Manchester set about planning, launching and delivering a fundraising appeal during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to support students facing hardship. The Student Hardship Appeal mobilised teams from across the Division of Development and Alumni Relations as well as professional services and academic colleagues throughout the university. The appeal tested and embedded a number of new approaches to traditional higher education appeals, including creating a broad and inclusive project team, developing a cross-institution communications strategy, using a campaign approach that explicitly involved major donors, putting retainable acquisition at the heart of the appeal strategy, and implementing tailored digital stewardship, in part driven by the wider lockdown landscape. The appeal was a success, raising over £1.6m, one of the highest sums of any UK university. Many of the new approaches tested during the Student Hardship Appeal have now been embedded in the division’s day-to-day fundraising activity.
    Keywords: campaign, fundraising, direct mail, major gifts

  • Be here from anywhere: Creating and launching the Bucknell Virtual Experience
    Brandy Kift, Director of Marketing Strategy and Leah Mallett, Associate Director of Digital and Social Media, Bucknell University

    What if you could capture that seeing-is-believing campus visit feeling and make it available to anyone, anywhere on the planet? That was the challenge presented to Bucknell’s communications and admissions teams — a chance to remove traditional barriers to campus visit opportunities and harness the power of technology in new and exciting ways. In this paper, you will learn how the Bucknell Virtual Experience started from scratch to become an interactive multimedia space that can be experienced on a desktop, mobile device, or through an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset. In addition, you will explore the creation of a multi-channel launch strategy — an approach that yielded best practices in both organic and paid social content.
    Keywords: virtual reality (VR), marketing, social media, enrolment marketing, admissions strategy