December 16, 2015
Campaigns are more than an ask for money. Beyond the bottom line lies a golden opportunity to tell your story, proclaim your vision, and connect with donors on a level that goes much deeper than their investment. Once you can do that, you’ll not only reach your goal, you’ll elevate your entire institution.
Here are three ways every campaign can do more.
Strengthen your brand.
Campaigns tend to focus on fundraising, not branding, but there’s no reason they can’t do both. Donors are influenced by more than pie charts and dollars signs. So clearly and confidently state who you are and what you stand for, how you got this far as an institution, and where you plan to go next. We call that your brand story. Donors see it as a compelling reason to give.
Smith College’s mission is to create, support, educate, and inspire future generations of women for the world. By using this mission as the basis for its campaign, the college succinctly articulated its purpose and the reason to give.
Make an impression with your impact.
Define how your institution helps to advance the community, country, and world by showing the impact your students, staff, and faculty are already having. Then outline what’s to come. Not only will donors understand why your institution matters, they’ll know what they’re really investing in: an opportunity to further your impact.
Montana State University more than lives up to its role as the state’s land-grant university—working to create smarter, healthier communities throughout Montana. Its campaign shows exactly what it takes to continue this legacy: the support of donors.
Prepare the next generation of donors.
Traditionally, advancement campaigns focus almost all of their communication efforts on donors, and that’s fine—for now. But how will today’s campaign affect your bottom line 20 years from now?
Start communicating the importance of giving today with the donors of tomorrow: your current students. Show them how previous gifts have made the university they know possible—that the opportunities they enjoy wouldn’t exist without those willing to give.
The College of William and Mary’s university advancement team made this connection inescapably clear through #WMTagDay—literally tagging the buildings and equipment that have been made possible through donor support. The tags (and the video they created) were a reminder for students to be grateful. In a few years, they’ll remember to pay it forward.