While I normally try to offer a blend of personal and professional in these ALTogether Now updates, I thought – given all the incredible work being done by all our teams – that an update on two key development projects might be helpful. Happy reading! 

Fundraising priority-setting process

From May 4–6, Queen’s University will be conducting its first-ever round of fundraising priority-setting presentations. The purpose of the fundraising priority-setting presentations is twofold. First, this exercise will support the identification of institutional fundraising priorities, or “A”-level priorities. This will be accomplished by giving evaluators the opportunity to provide input that will help determine which priorities should be moved forward as institutional fundraising priorities. These will be finalized by a small cohort of senior leaders. 

This exercise also provides a line of sight into all fundraising priorities that faculties/units intend to fundraise for, even when those priorities are not necessarily institutional priorities. For example, some priorities may be advanced with a “B” rating, which indicates that these are fundraising priorities that a portfolio/faculty still plans to proactively fundraise for but is dependent upon fundraising resources working within or on behalf of their units.

On those three days, we will be hearing from 17 portfolios and faculties who will be sharing information on some 30 priorities. If you wish to tune in virtually, please let Peggy know as soon as possible. 

Using metrics to inform our goals

Over the last several weeks, our development teams have also been doing some deeper dives into our new metrics and spending a considerable amount of time working through their portfolios to make some strategic assessments about how we can drive a greater level of performance both in terms of activity and fundraising results. This has coincided with portfolio reviews and some prospect reassignments.

Our philosophy during this process is to aim high. We are encouraging our teams to set ambitious goals, increasing their performance targets over the coming years to align with our metric target guides that keep pace with high-performing industry peers. My own personal mantra when setting goals is that it is better to aim high than low. I would rather aim for a very ambitious goal and get as close to that goal as possible – even if that means not meeting the goal – than consistently meet and exceed goals by a significant per cent (especially when you bear in mind that a single, large, unexpected gift can easily thrust you over a low-set goal). 

Setting ambitious goals, backed with thoughtful strategy and execution plans, reflects determination, dedication, and a focus on executing activities that yields results. In short, not achieving a metric is not a failure, but rather an opportunity for conversation about the opportunities and obstacles within a portfolio and workload. It's a chance to learn, grow, and refine your work, your leadership, and our team.

In the upcoming fiscal year, our metrics place an emphasis on visits. There is a direct, strong correlation between the number of visits conducted and the amount of funds raised by a fundraiser. Focusing our fundraising activity on conducting visits, especially assessment visits, will help us grow quality portfolios and proposal pipelines, which will aid us as we begin shaping and fundraising for our institutional funding priorities. 

Determining fundraising goals and setting performance targets is a nuanced activity that relies on many partners. While there are many teammates who deserve applause, I'm especially grateful for our Prospect Research & Management and ITM colleagues who provide us important insights, data, and support in this season. 

I look forward to a new year and new goals that will keep us growing and dreaming, together. 

Queen's Alumni Review's bold, new direction earns industry recognition

By Scott Anderson, Executive Director

Last week the National Magazine Awards B2B competition recognized the Queen’s Alumni Review (QAR) as one of its Top Nominees. To put this in perspective, the QAR bested all other postsecondary magazines, received double nominations in two categories, and was recognized in the competition’s most prestigious category, Best Magazine. (See the full list of nominees.)

It’s proof, I think, that sometimes (and those of you who have been through home renovations will undoubtedly agree), the best way to improve something is not to remodel, but to rebuild from scratch.

And that’s exactly what we did with the Queen’s Alumni Review.

It was no secret that the magazine had stagnated in recent years, with readership surveys from 2014 and 2019 indicating that its design was outdated, and that content was “safe and bland.” As a package, one reader said it had become “staid, tired, and unexciting.” We knew it was time for us to rethink the magazine’s mandate, design, and content, but this was no small task – the QAR has been a beloved publication at the university since 1927. But it was in desperate need of change, new perspectives, and a greater diversity of voices.

It became clear, to continue with the building metaphor, that we had no choice but to tear it down and create a new blueprint.

We got to work – brainstorming with colleagues across Advancement, analyzing our alumni readership surveys, and bringing in a top-notch design firm, Studio Wyse, to help us rebuild. Nothing was off the table as we questioned every font, colour, style, and story to reinvent this flagship magazine with a bold new design and an editorial direction that still respected the magazine’s long and trusted history. With great enthusiasm – and more than a few debates – we gave this magazine an authoritative new voice and an arresting new style, making it, we believe, one of the best alumni magazines in North America. 

One reader survey respondent a few years ago told us that the magazine “hasn't really changed a lot since I graduated.” The truth is, if we don’t change with our alumni to stay relevant to their lives post-graduation, they will leave us behind. Our goal with the new QAR was to show where Queen’s has come from, but also where it is going, making it bolder, younger, and more contemporary – engaging readers emotionally and intellectually. To do that, our editorial mandate now insists that every story illustrate the impact of Queen’s on the world. In committing to this, we aimed to create more visual content and a variety of story formats to better represent the innovative future of the university and the diversity of the Queen’s community. These changes have brought the QAR into a new era – and put the impact of our alumni achievement and success in a bright new spotlight.

The build isn’t quite finished. We still need to work on some finishing touches here and there — but these awards are an early indicator that we are on the right track. And I know that the QAR team has some great ideas in the works for the year ahead and, without giving it all away, I will just say that they’re anything but safe and bland. With that, I want to thank Alex Beshara, Ruth Dunley, and Wendy Treverton for the hundreds of hours they have put into the reimagined QAR. These awards are a testament to their hard work and singular drive to make this magazine one that our alumni would not only enjoy reading, but of which they can also be immensely proud.

Champions for mental health

Congratulations to Kim Day and Ben Seewald for leading the way on mental health. Ben and Kim have each been selected as a Champion for Mental Health. Created by the Queen’s Student Mental Health Network, educators and staff members play a strong role in supporting and advancing student mental health. The Champions for Mental Health program is a student-led initiative, responding to both student feedback and clear research calling for increased mental health promotion in academics. This award celebrates and honours educators and staff who have demonstrated a strong commitment to student mental health and wellbeing. Kim and Ben, we are proud of your passion and dedication to mental health. This recognition is even more special as nominators are members of the student body. Read the full story.

Ukraine/Russia panel

On Wednesday, April 20 we hosted a virtual event via Zoom called Russia's invasion of Ukraine: a panel discussion. This event was a huge collaboration, which put the spotlight on the skills of our colleagues in University Relations, Advancement Marketing, Communications, and Donor Relations, and Regional Strategy as it evolved from a Germany Branch event to one that was promoted to Queen’s alumni around the world. 

Thanks to the expertise and strategic vision of the team, this event was introduced by a member of the Queen’s Germany Branch, Steffonn Chan, Sc’07, moderated by an alumnus who is a nationally recognized podcast host and regular contributor to national media organizations, Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Artsci ’11, and featured Queen’s experts from Political Science, Law, and the Centre for International and Defence Policy. 

Ultimately, the combined efforts from this internal collaboration resulted in more than 1,050 event registrations and 742 event attendees. We were even more impressed to see that event attendees not only watched the panel discussion, but also took part in it, asking more than 50 questions and staying tuned in for the entire conversation. The discussion was uploaded to the QueensUCanada YouTube channel after the event ended and has currently been watched more than 1,500 times. 

We are thrilled that our community turned to our experts at Queen’s to learn more about this crisis, and we look forward to the opportunity to keep working together as we continue putting our experts on the world stage for conversations that matter. 

Jobs with Advancement

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 the 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.

Position Competition number Unit and department Closing date Grade Type
Executive assistant
Office of the Vice-Principal May 9, 2022 8 Term
Relationship Manager, Alumni Engagement
Smith School of Business, Development May 1, 2022 8 Permanent
Senior Development Officer, Major Gifts
Faculty of Health Sciences, Development May 1, 2022 10 Permanent


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