Taking Advantage of Campaign Momentum
Well-run campaigns sometimes meet the goal with many major donors cultivated but not closed.
Client: The University of Missouri, Columbia, where Beth was director of development communications.
Situation: The university topped a $600 million campaign goal in fall 2005. There were millions of dollars in gifts on the table, and plenty of need for more private support. So, the campaign committee decided to extend the campaign for two years with a new goal of $1 billion. At the time, Mizzou was one of only seven public universities engaged in a campaign of $1 billion or more. Beth was tasked with generating enthusiasm for this monumental goal.
Strategy: Celebrate success of the first phase, thank donors and communicate a compelling case for support for the second phase.
Tactics: We created talking points for development staff, volunteers and university leaders. The message included three points: thank you to the donors, we’re continuing the campaign, and why. Communications from university advancement included:
- Celebration of topping the goal at the university’s annual major donor dinner in spring 2006.
- A new case statement with stories of the impact of the campaign.
- Stories in the university’s media including MIZZOU magazine, the alumni association’s enewsletter, the chancellor’s annual report and the website.
- Stewardship of million-dollar donors with a donor recognition wall dedicated with a ceremony.
- Marking of milestones. We sent a news release when we reached $900 million. The messaging was targeted around campaign priorities.
- Regular communications with the public through the media, including a news release every fall when the fiscal year numbers are tallied. All communications include the impact of giving.
- Celebrating success publicly with major donors, staff and volunteers.
The campaign exceeded its goal in fall 2008. It is now engaged in a $1.3 billion campaign.