Brown and Wellesley Launch Massive Fundraising Campaigns Fueled by Thematic Approaches

Amanda Kohn by on Dec 02, 2015

alumni_cash.jpgOn October 23, Brown University and Wellesley College both unveiled impressive comprehensive giving campaigns accompanied by new sites that seek to infuse the movements with a sense of community and school pride. Both campaign websites employ best practices in contemporary web design including responsive features that automatically update for different devices and eye-catching images that appeal to alumni’s sense of nostalgia. These well-designed sitelets each incorporate a unique element specific to the school’s campaign, which other universities should strive to incorporate into their own campaign websites.

The Brown Together: The Campaign for Building on Distinction campaign aims to raise $3 billion dollars with no specified end date. Brown Together is the most ambitious campaign in the university’s history and has already raised $950 million – almost a third of its goal. Funds raised for the campaign will benefit new endowed professorships, undergraduate financial aid, research initiatives, campus infrastructure and the annual fund. The campaign’s sitelet, which oddly does not incorporate the university’s official colors (especially brown), expands upon its goals and highlights the importance of Brown Together for the university’s future. Through the university’s social media channels, campaign-related videos, posts, status updates and photos are trending for alumni and supporters to view with the hashtag #BrownTogether. The university also promotes its campaign with a large, red banner and header image on the homepages of the main Brown website and alumni association site.

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Brown Together Site

Wellesley College also rolled out a new campaign, The Wellesley Effect, which aims to invest in women’s education for a lasting effect around the world. The $500 million campaign, which is Wellesley’s first campaign since 2005, will end in 2019 – but donors have already contributed $291 million in gifts and commitments. The Wellesley Effect website is designed to try and tap into school pride and promotes different aspects of the university by using images of the college campus and alumnae. Focusing on the alumnae and campus itself adds an appealing element to the site that supports the campaign’s vision of celebrating and advancing women’s impact around the world. The campaign aims to support the college’s intellectual community, financial aid program, campus infrastructure and progressive programs needed to serve the 21st century.

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The Wellesley Effect Site

Both comprehensive giving campaigns are well designed and highlight a theme throughout each school’s campaign website. For Brown, that means promoting Brown Together as the most ambitious campaign in the university’s history, surpassing the past two campaigns’ goals by a significant amount and almost doubling the Boldly Brown campaign, which ended in 2010 and raised $1.61 billion. Similarly, Wellesley broadcasts loudly in its materials that it has not held a campaign of this magnitude in over a decade, hailing it as “the talk of the town.” As Molly Davis ’10 (editor at Corporate Insight) explains, “The Wellesley Effect is the most talked about event among alumni since I graduated.” The campaign has sparked a lot of attention and interest in participation to reach the $500 million goal, with contributions from over 21,000 alumnae so far. Wellesley grads also have begun receiving solicitation mailers with testimonials written by current students and alumnae about the importance of the new campaign. Corporate Insight looks forward to tracking and reporting on these campaigns’ progress, to see whether alumni, students, faculty and other supporters reach the goals and by what means the schools advertise and promote their campaigns on an ongoing basis.

Both giving campaigns use their signature theme throughout communications with alumni (using social media, mailings and emails), working to foster school pride and ask for funds to help with the schools’ campaign priorities. Other universities should consider following in the footsteps of Brown and Wellesley by promoting a unique campaign theme, bolstered through a corresponding website, that captures viewers’ attention and creates a want to participate in reaching the collective goal.

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

Amanda Kohn

Amanda is a Senior Research Associate for Alumni Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more