In January, we are launching our fundraising priority-setting process, and I wanted to give everyone in Advancement a quick understanding of the process and why it’s important.
The purpose of the Fundraising Priority Setting Exercise is to identify Queen’s academic, research, and student experience fundraising priorities. This comprehensive inventory of funding opportunities will then be used to attract and engage prospective donors, with the objective of aligning philanthropic support and Advancement resources with strategic institutional priorities.
To accomplish this, we will engage in an exercise to solicit and then prioritize university-initiated fundraising priorities. These priorities don’t only affect development work; they will be used to build and execute university Advancement strategy and will be updated on an ongoing basis thereafter.
Our primary objectives are:
- To provide an open and transparent process for confirming university fundraising priorities.
- To encourage faculty and staff participation and support of university fundraising efforts by recognizing their need for strategically defined program-related initiatives.
- To ensure that gifts made to Queen’s support its identified priorities while acknowledging donor interests.
For those of you who may want a bit more insight, you can find a short summary of what to expect during the process on QUIRC.
By Scott Anderson, Executive Director, Marketing, Communications and Donor Relations
Two weeks ago, we hosted an event that ostensibly had nothing to do with philanthropy. The Distinguished Service Awards recognize individuals who have made Queen’s a better place through their extraordinary contributions. It was a wonderful, celebratory evening, but at no point during the event did we ask attendees to contribute one cent to the university.
But we knew from the outset of that event that they wanted to give. In fact, before they even logged on, participants had already given nearly $2,500. So, the question is — what if we found a way to keep that momentum going?
I’d like to argue that we can, if we’re strategic, deliberate, and start treating events like the communications tools that they are.
Like a press release, a newsletter, or the Alumni Review, events help us communicate key messages, but they do so in a unique and powerful way. Studies have shown that events and event marketing provide higher return on investment than any other communication tools because, in part, events give us a chance to interact with our audience in a real-time, two-way conversation (the best events don’t talk at people, they engage them). What’s more, as one study pointed out, events give audiences a chance to “sense, feel, think, act, and relate with a corporation and its brand.”
That’s exactly what happened at the Distinguished Service Awards. For nearly three hours, we immersed people in our Queen’s brand, reminding them about the caliber of research, the quality of people, and the impact of our Queen’s community around the world. It was heartfelt and it was real — so much so that some were moved to tears.
Many more were probably moved enough to give back.
Because that’s the power of events. Without asking, without referencing philanthropy in any way, we showed people in real terms where their contribution was going and what it could support. When they saw it, people wanted to be a part of it. The unspoken-but-emotional pull was undeniable.
As we move forward with events in the in-person world, we are going to be working even harder to use events as a springboard to the future. One thing must always lead to another, so that we are taking our donors, partners, and the entire Queen’s community on a journey that — and this is the important part — we are leading. One example of this is The Notebook initiative. On the surface, it’s just a graduation gift. But peel away the layers and it’s a complex group of initiatives, all aligned with content designed to promote our key messages, all linked to Forward Together, our strategic plan — and culminating with an event, The Golden Ticket event, that sets the stage for a future of giving.
The Notebook was just a warmup for even more ambitious events in the year ahead, some of which are already in the works. As per our objectives in Advancement, these events are going to be highly engaging and experiential. And while I’m being alliterative, I’ll throw in that E-word again: emotional.
Key messages mean nothing unless they’re backed by real emotion, whether it’s pride, nostalgia, hope — or something else that we want people to feel when they attend our events. Because when people feel things, they are typically more inspired to do things.
That’s the lightning in a bottle that we all saw at the Distinguished Service Awards, and it’s what we’re working to make happen at all our events in the future. This is going to require a bit of bravery on our part as we experiment with new ideas and approaches. But armed with a university vision that emphasizes a commitment to collaborate and a passion to achieve, I believe we are well-equipped to imagine a new approach to events that will take us all on a journey that’s worth taking — and that inspires giving.
In case you missed it last week, there are instructions on QUIRC on how to participate in the ugly holiday sweater/outfit contest taking place this Thursday at the Advancement Staff Meeting.
The Employee Spotlight celebrates the arrival of our new staff by profiling responses they share through a fun and informal survey that will help us get to know them better. Be sure to review these profiles and use these fun facts and tidbits to find commonalities, embrace differences and spark a conversation! This week we welcome two new members to Advancement:
Ali Feeney in the position of Donor Relations Officer, Communications and Engagement. Learn more about Ali and what she is most looking forward to in her role.
Sophia Bouris in the position of Director, Strategic Communications and Events. Learn more about Sophia and what has been the best piece of life advice she has received.
The current staff member spotlight this week is Christa Walsh, Director, Gift Services. Learn more about Christa and what is the best piece of professional advice she has received.
We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.
Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla Ferreira Rodrigues or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.
UNIT AND DEPARTMENT
|Communications and Events Officer||J0921-0328||Advancement Marketing, Communications and Donor Relations||December 13, 2021||8||Continuing