“You have to make good use of your human resources. We re-purpose a lot of material not because we’re lazy, but because we have so many channels. Whenever there’s something going up on the web, we see how we can use that in a proposal or pull out a quote from a brochure.”
– Development Communications Team, George Washington University

Making History with a Comprehensive Campaign with the George Washington University Development Communications Team

Session 67

George Washington University (GW) has only recently become a traditional residential university. Alumni from the past had a very different relationship to the University than recent graduates. These different experiences become a big factor when developing a cohesive brand to connect with all. This week, Amanda Charney, Joan Ochi, and Lauren Walinsky, from GW’s Development Communications team, join Beth to talk about how they are building strong bonds with current students and recent alumni.

The three have worked to create the university’s “Making History” fundraising campaign in honor of the university’s 200th anniversary. Rather than focus on a capital campaign, they went big and developed a comprehensive campaign, designed to bring their whole community into the University’s vision for the future.  Their efforts aren’t limited to fundraising or marketing, but instead involve all parts of the university to create a common goal towards university-wide growth. Communications play a vital role in their work. The group has tackled branding the campaign, providing information to their constituents, and training staff to understand their goals. Learn how a few core ideas critical to the GW experience turn into a multi-year initiative.

Discussed in this episode:

  • How a bond is built with incoming students at GW
  • Keeping strategic plans flexible while maintaining core ideals
  • Choosing the best way to reach different audiences with different information
  • Keeping content continuously updated across multiple platforms
  • Using an organization’s needs and supporters’ interests to build a mission statement
  • How communication for nonprofits can be more “nimble” than in the for-profit sector

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