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At La Trobe, staffers who give stand out

By Toni Coleman

Australia's La Trobe University increased staff giving from 1.03 percent in 2012 to 12.67 percent in 2013, raising $65,000 for five new scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. How did the institution do it? Rebecca Camilleri, a marketing and communications officer, explains the steps that La Trobe's 3-year-old advancement office took to make "The Golden Lanyard" campaign a success.

1. Create a visible emblem.

Staff members who gave $20 or more received a bright, distinctive yellow lanyard, similar to the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon, to symbolize their support.

2. Turn leaders into trendsetters.

The university's senior executives led by example; these early donors wore their lanyards around campus a week before the campaign's kickoff.

3. Generate buzz.

A creative agency helped develop movie-style "Coming Soon" posters and cafe table tents that advertised the campaign. Before the launch, university officials asked staff members to update their email signatures with "The Golden Lanyard" logo and a link to the giving page. About 30 staffers made a gift before the campaign started.

4. Tie the campaign to institutional values.

The Australian government established La Trobe University in the 1960s to provide educational opportunities to populations previously excluded from college. Staff members were happy to support a campaign for disadvantaged students. "It's good to see that our values and belief in our core mission is strong," one staffer wrote in a congratulatory note to the advancement office.

5. Steward beyond expectations.

"Every gold lanyard was gift-wrapped in a gold bag and hand-delivered, making a public spectacle," Camilleri says. "It exceeded people's expectations of what they were going to receive. They didn't think it would be hand-delivered with a thank you and a smile."

About the Author Toni Coleman

Toni Coleman is the interim editor in chief of Currents.




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