Fundraising Programs

Category General Observations

Judges reviewed more than 200 entries across all seven fundraising program categories. Overall, entries were very strong this year and judges were impressed with the quality of the entry pool. Judges would like to see more explanation by entrants of how their particular fundraising program or effort is connected to the institution's mission.

Annual Giving Programs

13 Entries

Gold Award

Davidson College (North Carolina) - The Fund for Davidson

  • Really good, effective use of social media and excellent use of volunteers. Project had a lot of student and campus involvement. Very impressive numbers all around-participation rate particularly.

Silver Award

Georgia Southern University - Vote for Southern: A Day for Southern Employee Giving Campaign

  • Political spin during election showed an innovative approach. Faculty/staff giving can be an after-thought. This was fun, had a lot of community involvement and resulted in strong faculty/staff participation.

Bronze Award

Imperial College of London (United Kingdom) - Schistosomiasis Control Initiative Christmas Appeal

  • This project blurred lines between academic and social cause fundraising-and did it brilliantly. Also allowed gathering of much lacking donor data. It raised money, raised awareness and exceeded expectations. There was strong reporting back on impact as every pound donated treated three children start to finish.


Principal, Major and Special Giving Programs

Nine Entries

Gold Award

University of California, Davis  - Graduate Student Fellowship Matching Initiative

  • Interesting innovative approach to graduate school fundraising, which is always challenging. Capitalized on investment strategy that encouraged full up front gift from donor and provided impact immediately. Overall very impressive.

Silver Award 

Ball State University (Indiana) - W. Parkison Legacy Campaign: Connecting Volunteers, Campus Partners, and Development Professionals to Advance the Department of Accounting

  • Great example of capitalizing on an institutional anniversary. The program exceeded goal, established the first named department at the university and, by honoring a beloved professor, engaged new donors.

Bronze Award

Bossier Parish Community College (Louisiana) -  BPCC Major Gifts Campaign, "Building Success Together"

  • Very solid effort for a first time Community College campaign. Successful in raising $15M, impressive performance, well executed.

Targeted Campaigns

38 Entries

Gold Award

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - Faculty, Staff & Retiree Give from Within Campaign

  • Excellent progress toward an ambitious goal. Very well researched, impressive, creative execution. Led to infrastructure improvements (improved payroll withholding process)---overall built new awareness among the Faculty/Staff/Retiree communities.

Silver Award

Woodberry Forest School(Virginia) - A Week for Woodberry

  • Very well executed campaign with a very simple message. Excellent focus on energizing a mature annual fund.

Bronze Award

Towson University (Maryland) - Towson University's Food Insecurity Support Fund

  • Very nice, targeted campaign. Also served to educate campus community to challenging issue. Terrific student participation.

Flash Campaigns

27 Entries

Gold Award

Miami University (OH)- #MoveInMiami

  • Brilliant-and easily replicable. Donations made along with welcome messages to new students was an excellent and very visible way to create student awareness of philanthropy.

Silver Awards

Grinell College (Iowa)- Scarlet and Give Back Day

  • Particularly strong effort to liven up annual giving appeal and to connect with young alumni through social media and email. Great use of matching gift to drive participation. Exceeded goals and communicated results with very comprehensive data.

Bronze Award

Chapman University - "5 for $5 on 5/5"

  • Very clever, fun and easily replicable. Great use of social media and blogs---overall fun project.

Ohio Northern University (OH) -2016 ONU Founder's Day Challenge

  • Great energy for this one-day effort. Exceeded results and incorporated creative alternatives to traditional elements-judges particularly loved the substitution of the founder's "growing" beard to illustrate progress instead of the usual thermometer graphic.

Emerging Programs

20 Entries

Gold Award

University of St Andrews (United Kingdom)- Relaunching direct mail campaigns at the University of St Andrews

  • Pieces were stunning. One judge remarked, "This is what a gold looks like." In addition to praise for the creative execution, there was admiration for leadership's willingness to make a strategic pivot and and a significant investment in the face of diminishing annual fund performance. Results are very strong.

Silver Award 

Concordia College ( Minnesota) - Young Alumni Giving Challenge

  • Very creative outreach to young alumni. Great job of leveraging familiar staff member's matching gift while using his very distinctive mustache as an excellent graphic meme.

Bronze Award 

University of North Texas - Diamond Eagles

  • Innovative use of giving circle model and smart leveraging of first lady in the appeal. Excellent engagement results by building in a vote for what the fund will support. Garnered a lot of enthusiasm and had strong results.


Challenge Grant/Matching Gift Programs

Nine Entries 

Gold Award 

University of Essex - Click Crowdfunding Platform

  • Innovative, creative and student focused. Delivered excellent results and return on investment.

Silver Award

Rice University (Texas) - 24-Hour Leap Day Challenge

  • Very clever use of leap day. The tie-in reinvented online engagement and was a powerful shock to the system to increase engagement. Excellent results.

Villanova University (Pennsylvania) - The Senior Class Gift: CHALLENGE accepted!

  • Great effort to engage students in philanthropy. Showed significant increase in participation. Provided great return on investment.


26 Entries

Gold Award

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Building the Future Together: Land O'Lakes and the University of Minnesota

  • Excellent example of corporate relationship management, told a beautiful story of impact and corporate benefits. Blog was outstanding. Innovative feedback loops.

Silver Award

University of Bristol (United Kingdom) - Loyal Donor Bookplate Stewardship Communication

  • Beautifully done-personal, inexpensive and replicable. Creative engagement effort that also served as a reminder for current students about alumni philanthropy.

Bronze Award

Amherst College (Massachusetts) - #AlwaysAmherst Photo Campaign

  • Simple, replicable-neat. Excellent alumni engagement, evolved into broader effort---combining engagement, enticement and stewardship.

University of California Santa Cruz - Philanthropy in Pursuit of a Healthier Planet

  • Stunning visually. Showed philanthropy in action---photography is beautiful. The fact that it was created for one donor family exhibits particular thoughtfulness. Quality and execution rose to another level.