Update on UW Foundation’s annual giving activities

UW Foundation President and CEO Mike Knetter recently provided deans with the following update related to annual giving activities:

As many of you know, last year, UWF restructured our annual giving approach, focusing on two primary components: unit-level leadership annual giving and a university-wide direct response marketing campaign. A brief description of each component of our campaign follows.

Unit-Level Leadership Annual Giving: a one-to-one approach encouraging high-capacity, highly-engaged alumni and friends to support discretionary annual funds in a specific unit. Deans and unit leaders play a crucial role in building and sustaining relationships with key leadership annual giving prospects and in communicating the impact of leadership level gifts to discretionary funds. Leadership annual giving is a year-round effort and it is this effort that is responsible for the greatest dollars raised for annual funds.

Direct Response Marketing Campaign: a one-to-many, integrated, multi-channel approach focused on increasing the number of alumni supporting identified priority discretionary annual funds. Share the Wonderful is the established brand for this direct response marketing effort. We believe that a university-wide effort is the best path to attract loyal UW alumni who may not be currently engaged or have great capacity. If each unit designed their own marketing campaign, we run the risk of irritating donors with multiple solicitations from different units within UW and none of us may be able to put enough resources behind a particular solicitation to get sufficient alumni attention. Tactics for this effort include direct mail, Telefund, email/social media, digital/interactive and advertising. Resources will be directed to those alumni who we believe are most likely to respond based on observable characteristics. This marketing campaign will take place Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013 and a number of school/college, WAA and UWF staff members are serving on the steering committee for this year’s effort. UWF is asking schools/colleges/departments and other campus units to avoid sending separate mass marketing solicitations (i.e. letters and emails) during the campaign blackout period of Oct. 1 – Nov. 30.

Under the new annual giving approach in 2012, the UW raised $10.2 million (up from $5.4 million in 2011) for high priority discretionary funds including school/college annual funds, the Great People annual fund and the Chancellor’s annual fund. This was great progress in dollars raised for these funds, but we fell short of our goals in participation and hope to make some adjustments to our formula this coming year.