Stewardship: The Webb Schools - Bronze Award

2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program
Category 2E. Fundraising Programs: Stewardship
The Webb Schools
High Touch with High Tech


Laura Wensley
Director of The Webb Fund
1175 West Baseline Road
Claremont, CA 91711
(909) 482 5277


Laura Wensley Director of The Webb Fund
Sarah Lantz Associate Director of The Webb Fund
Bobby Gibson Technology department

Professional staff

2 annual giving staff, 1 IT staff, and 1 marketing staff

Program Description: "High Touch with High Tech"

A goal of this year's annual giving program was to do a better job of stewarding our constituents in a creative and cost-effective way. In 2007, we designed two new online strategies and modified an existing one. First, we launched an e-newsletter for class agents which provided current news to share with their class. It gave them a purpose to contact their classmates for reasons other than asking for an annual gift. Second, we created a special flash movie for reunion classes. Reunion attendance and class giving have grown over the past four years, and we wanted to keep the momentum going after Alumni Weekend. The reunion flash thanked alumni for returning to campus and for supporting their class gift. It also aimed to inspire those who could not attend to come next time or to support the class gift. Lastly, the holiday flash movie was modified. Previous years included the typical year-end annual fund appeal. This year we omitted the solicitation aspect and made it simply a holiday greeting and thank you. These three online stewardship strategies have spread goodwill among our constituents, motivated our class agents, and increased annual giving totals. As of December 31, our dollars raised and the number of donors are at an all-time high.

Program goals & objectives

Webb has 1,400 donors, 650 alumni in a reunion, and 100 volunteers this year. Effectively stewarding this large group can be a challenge for our two-person annual giving office. We are an 85-year-old boarding school with rich traditions and alumni and parents located all across the globe. Our ability to share current campus and alumni news is limited since the school magazine is published once a year.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, we turned to technology to reach our donors, volunteers and reunion classes. We have email addresses for 60 percent of our donors, 95 percent of our volunteers, and 3,843 total constituents. The following three online stewardship pieces were developed in 2007:

  1. Towne & Baseline, an e-newsletter for class agents

    In October 2007, when our annual fund brochures were arriving in mailboxes, class agents were emailed the first edition of Towne & Baseline, an e-newsletter just for class agents. Towne & Baseline refers to the intersection where the school is located, and we knew the name would appeal to alumni. Class agents were asked to send an email to their classmates with a personal message and the Towne & Baseline URL link. The e-newsletter gives us an opportunity to tell, through stories and photos, how the school's mission and founding principles of leadership and honor are carried out with today's students, teachers and even alumni. It includes the latest school news, class notes, and links to the school's Website. The quarterly issues allows us to share class notes four times a year, rather than just once a year in the magazine. The second issue was sent to class agents in December.

    Towne & Baseline is very easy to produce, and our only cost is staff time. The template was designed by our IT staff, and now annual giving staff can update and disseminate the newsletter without relying on other departments.
  2. Good to Be Back Reunion Flash Movie

    Boys' School Version -

    Girls' School Version -

    On November 26, just six weeks after Alumni Weekend, we emailed a post-reunion flash to 10 reunion classes (1957 to 2002). The theme, "Good to Be Back," played off of text from the Alumni Weekend invitation. The reunion flash movie not only thanked everyone who came to Alumni Weekend but also those who gave to their class gift. Just as importantly, we wanted the flash to build interest in reunion among alumni, young and old, who did not attend. We chose images, text and music that would generate nostalgia (photos from inside the chapel, a letterman jacket, the school crest and song) and convey the wonderful times had at reunion (photos of alumni in the radio station, playing water polo and lots of smiling alumni). Additionally, the final slide hyperlinked to a Webpage that included the Reunion Giving Hall of Fame (listing of all-time top class gifts), online giving form, and a link to the Class pages. Each Class page includes a class gift total and a name listing of reunion donors.

    The reunion flash was produced in-house by our IT staff. Annual giving staff began drafting the outline in early September, so when Alumni Weekend occurred, we had already finalized the text and music and knew what images were needed. Since we are both a boys and girls school, we created two versions that are practically identical - except for a few photos, the school songs and crests. In January 2008, we modified the ending with a "Save the Date" message and will send it to this year's classes (ending in a 3 or 8).
  3. Holiday Flash Movie

    On December 20, we sent a holiday greeting to 3,800 alumni, parents and friends with valid emails. Our holiday flash movies in 2005 and 2006 had not yielded more than a handful of comments or online gifts. Since all of our solicitable constituents were mailed a year-end appeal in early December, we thought the 2007 holiday greeting would be more meaningful if it were sent without an annual fund request.

    The goal was to thank the Webb community for making Webb "what it is today." We carefully selected text (ie. Daughter's Strong and Principes non Homines) and images (photos of a freshmen hike, favorite teachers, Candlelight Ceremony, and sports) that embodied Webb's mission and school traditions for our various constituent groups - current and past parents, eight decades of alumni, grandparents, current and former faculty. The final slide read, "Brought to You by The Webb Fund" and linked to our giving page and online gift form. This piece was produced by our in-house technology staff, and the text written by our director of marketing. Our only cost was $200 for the music.

Target audience

3,840 alumni, parents and friends with valid email addresses.

Number of participants

In addition to staff participants, we have 60 alumni class agents, 14 parent class agents, 30 reunion volunteers.

Number of Living and addressable alumni


Program budget

$200.00 for music


Our year-to-date results demonstrate the ever-growing importance of our online communications and their utility in our fundraising and stewardship efforts. Webb Fund figures for the first half of 2007-2008 are the highest ever - both in dollars given and the number of donors. Additionally, dollars given online have more than doubled, and the number of donors who gave online has increased by 58%.

Towne & Baseline spurred 60 broadcast emails by class agents (see Addendum A). It is exciting to have this unprecedented level of volunteer activity. One alumnus told us, the "email with the link to the website has gotten me more responses than any other communication I have ever made to my classmates." The holiday flash that was sent in December yielded an excellent response and spread goodwill with our constituents. We received dozens of email responses, the most ever, from alumni and families who sent us their good wishes and holiday greetings.



Total Webb Fund



Dollars given online



Number of total donors



Number of online donors