From the Nominator
In early 2019, Simon Fraser University identified an opportunity to expand its macro campaigns in annual giving from one to two alumni appeals per year. For many years, the fall appeal focused exclusively on scholarships and bursaries. This appeal was moved up to spring/early summer to align better with the start of the academic year. In an effort to provide new opportunities for connection with recent alumni as well as for re-engagement and acquisition, the decision was made to reserve the fall appeal for strategic campaigns addressing timely issues affecting the broader SFU community and/or for student experience initiatives. Feedback from alumni led to a collaborative student mental health campaign for fall 2019 between the annual giving office in Advancement and Alumni Engagement, Health & Counselling Services, and Student Services. Funds raised went toward new and existing HCS programs, such as community cooking classes, animal therapy, mySSP (a 24/7 counselling support/crisis app) and more. Alumni were also asked to include a note of advice or encouragement with their reply. These notes were then shared with students during exams. The campaign reached more than 55,000 alumni, raised more than $83,000, and aided in an overall increase in annual donor counts by 11% over prior year. The embedded acquisition strategy resonated well with recent alumni (2010-2019), who contributed 65% of all recurring gifts.
From the Judges
This was an innovative and bold campaign that engaged the community in identifying a meaningful case for support. Cohesive marketing including notes from alumni, and “day in the life” video. They made the case for support approachable for everyone, as the campaign wasn’t just about fundraising but also social awareness. Great outcomes, including increasing the number of recurring gifts.